Repurposing Slip Covers in Virginia

At Kelley Astore Interiors we believe and are working towards, making interior design more sustainable. It’s a difficult balance to strike: on one hand, you want to be mindful and avoid excess waste, but on the other hand, you want each design to be perfect in your eyes and in your clients’ eyes. But humans make mistakes and change their minds – and that’s where we have to get creative and consider repurposing. Recently we upholstered two down-filled custom-made chairs and one ottoman for a client in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. They were originally covered in mauve fabric with a black floral design. I actually really liked this fabric on the chairs. However after they were made, and placed in the sitting room, we realized that the fabric was not the right choice for the design.

The rest of the room was a very neutral color palette, featuring a lot of earthy and beige tones. The walls were painted in a beautiful Farrow & Ball shade called Oxford Stone 264, which is a lovely sandy color. Against the walls and the rest of the decor, we found that the original fabric was a bit old-fashioned and stuck out in a way that we didn’t want them to. After speaking with my client, we agreed that the room wanted a more subdued and lighter fabric than what was originally chosen. Something that would compliment and blend into the rest of the design rather than becoming an eyesore. But we had already upholstered them – did this mean we would need to start over and reupholster all of it? That would take a lot of time and money…but more importantly, it would result in a lot of extra waste we didn’t need to produce. What else could we do?

The Solution

This is when I realized a simple, quick, and easy solution: instead of starting over and re-doing the entire project, we could have slipcovers made! So that’s exactly what we did. This meant that we could completely transform the way the chairs and ottoman looked without wasting unnecessary time, effort, and materials. Together we browsed through a variety of different fabrics and settled on a gray/black and off-white ticking stripe patterned fabric from Pindler (my favorite place to source fabrics!) We were able to bring samples of this fabric into the space, and we knew that it was perfect.

My workroom ladies got busy stitching the slipcovers, and they were done in no time. Afterward, we installed them over the original cushions. After a quick steam, the chairs and ottoman were completely transformed. Looking at them, you would never be able to tell that slip covers were being used. My client absolutely loved the modern edge of the striped fabric. To add color and balance back into the design, we paired them with lovely little red cushions. I think the chairs and the room look absolutely fantastic. My client was happy, and the best part of all was that very little waste was created in the process! I will definitely continue using this trick in the future.

Try it yourself!

If you love all things design and fabric, be sure to check out our latest article on our 2021 Autumn Color Palette featuring plenty of fabrics from Pindler. To pass the time this fall, why not learn how to make your own slipcovers to easily transform a furniture piece you already own? This trick really does open up so many opportunities, and I couldn’t be happier. 


Fabulous Find Underneath Wall to Wall Carpeting

Today we are back in Great Falls, Virginia, working with a client to remodel their living room. When I saw the space, I instantly felt that the wall-to-wall carpeting was outdated and needed to go. Wall-to-Wall carpeting can sometimes work, but in most cases, it makes the room seem smaller. Not to mention that wall-to-wall carpeting traps a lot of dust, which is no good for anyone with allergies. The other issue with wall-to-wall carpeting is that it makes it more difficult to split the room up into sections, whereas using rugs allows the floor to be divided up. 

All this to say that the wall-to-wall carpeting needed to go. Keep reading to find out how this first step led to the transformation of this living room floor. 

Tearing Up The Carpeting

My lovely contractors and I got to work tearing up the old carpet. It had been installed in sections, so we began removing each carpet piece, the padding, and the tack strips. And guess what we found?! The most beautiful hardwood floors that I knew would look stunning with a bit of TLC. The wood was in great condition and just needed a little restoration and detail work. I was relieved to see this because when removing the carpet you don’t always know what you’re going to find underneath. Oftentimes, it reveals damaged or molding floorboards. We were all so delighted to find the beautiful woodwork.

Preparing the Design

As soon as my client and I saw the beautiful wood floor, we knew it was going to stay. But I knew some detail work would take this from a nice living room to a stunning living room. The living room is two steps down from a landing that features black marble. There are pillars around this landing that stand on black bases. When set up with furniture, the room had two beautiful black cabinets and a lovely modern black coffee table. I wanted to incorporate this black accent color into the floors for continuity in the design, so I planned on giving the floors a black-painted border. With all that in mind, we could begin the restoration process.

Restoring the Wood

We were happy with the color of the wood and didn’t want to stain it again, so the first step to the restoration process was buffing the floors to prepare them for a wood finish. Buffing is basically where you remove the very thin top layer of wood finish previously laid down, thereby also removing any built-up dust or grime. This process is similar to very fine sanding. My contractors used an industrial floor buffer for the main floor and hand-buffed the stairs. After that, we measured a 4-inch border around the edges of the room, taking our time and being very precise – it wouldn’t work unless it was neat. 

Once the wood was prepped, we laid down a water-based satin wood finish to give the wood that glossy sheen. A water-based satin finish is a great choice for a living space because it is scuff-resistant and easy to clean. The wood is looking really beautiful already!

Finishing Touches

After the wood was restored, the only job left was to paint the black border around the room. Using tape for precision, we took our time with this step ensuring that it was perfect. Once the wood finish and the paint were dry, the floor transformation was complete. We moved all the furniture back into the room, and what an incredible difference the floors have made! The surprise of the beautiful wooden floors below the original carpeting gave way to such a magnificent finished design. The wooden floors make the entire room feel so much warmer. I absolutely love how the black border turned out and more importantly, my client loved it too. All that is missing from this beautiful living room is a nice area rug for the sofas.

Interested in renovating?

If you have outdated wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s time to consider renovating. Changing the floors goes to show that sometimes you don’t need a million changes to transform a room. Oftentimes one key change can make the biggest difference. However, working on floors is always a laborious task because you often need to be on your hands and knees to complete the work. Let me and my team of highly skilled contractors and craftsmen help you! Visit our services page to book your free consultation today.


A Breakdown of My Home Office Design

My home office is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It’s where I do most of my design planning and liaising with clients. I love the work I do, so it’s important for me to have a space to focus and get everything done! Keep reading to learn about how I designed it and what materials I used.

The Layout

The first step I tackled was how I wanted to layout my home office. Because my work is creative, it was crucial that my office catered to that. I wanted it to be a relatively large open space so that I could lay fabrics and create boards with plenty of floor space. For this reason, I kept the majority of the furniture up against the walls to make the space as big as possible. The size also allows me to lay some samples out and view them from afar to get a better idea of the designs I create. I also have a lot of fabric samples and materials that I use, so I custom-designed a large built-in unit with plenty of shelf and storage space. It extends from the door, into the left corner, and all the way to the back wall. This way all of my materials are organized and easy to access while I’m working. I’m not the tallest person in the world, so I added in a small and stylish step stool to reach the higher shelves.

Because I’ve built my business up from scratch, it made sense to have two separate desks to accommodate both my creative designing and business running. One of my desks is where I keep my computer and printer and do all my administrative work. The other desk is where I do more of my creative work, looking at samples, and drawing up designs. Having two separate desks helps me switch from a business mindset to a creative mindset easily. I decided to also add in a settee to take breaks, meetings, and calls, as well as an armchair for when I need a slight change of scenery or when someone is visiting my office. 

The colors

It was important to me that my office was a relatively neutral room that would allow plenty of space for creativity and inspiration. For this reason, I decided on a neutral color for the walls, bookcase, floors, and desk. Rather than painting, I decided to upholster the walls for a cozier and better-insulated space. I upholstered the walls and the desk skirts with a taupe linen fabric from Pindler. I then painted the wall-to-wall built-in unit with a Farrow & Ball color called String. I really liked the subtle contrast it provided with the taupe linen walls, to have some dimension and make the space appear larger. I chose simple dark wood flooring and a neutral trim.

If you’ve been following my work for awhile, you know that I absolutely love red. It’s bold, energizing, and passionate. I knew I needed a neutral space, but if it was too neutral, I wouldn’t want to spend any time there. So I upholstered my two office chairs and my settee in a beautiful red and black striped fabric from a British brand called Hodsoll McKenzie. I love the pop of color it provides! I also love the design of my desk chairs: the perfect combination of a comfortable armchair and a traditional office chair. It’s incredibly comfortable and cozy but is mounted on wheels for swiveling and ease. If your job requires you to sit at a desk for a while, I definitely recommend these! I upholstered the other chair in a red and tan leopard spot fabric from Rose Cummings. I added a few more splashes of red like the red tones in the step stool, as well as my Georgia Bulldogs pennant and art! 

Finishing Touches

To finish the room off I added a few orchid plants, which is one of my favorite flowers to decorate with. There’s one on my bookcase and one on my desk. I added in a fun zebra skin rug to tie the space together, as well as a beige throw pillow and wicker baskets for extra storage. I put one of my favorite paintings of a cheetah above the settee for some inspiration. Last but not least, I added a picture of my beloved dog Dunkin on my desk to keep me company throughout the day! I opted for a glass door so the space didn’t feel too closed off, as there are only a few small windows in this room.

More inspiration

Overall, I am super happy with how my home office has turned out, and it’s been serving me and my work well. I can’t recommend enough investing in your home office space for prime productivity and efficiency! Check out my other articles on home office design:

Designing your home office: Tips, Ideas, & Inspiration

The Three Best Lighting Types for Your Home Office

Designing Your Home Office: Window Treatments

Designing Your Home Office: The Perfect Paint Color


Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

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