81 Comments

  1. Carolyn Gardetto
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:07 am

    It turned out nice! I like it!

    Reply

  2. Laura L
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:09 am

    OMG I so love your blog posts! They really make me laugh. (with you, not at you) (well, not all the time anyway) Thanks for a bit of fun!

    Reply

  3. Sherry Stuifbergen
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:13 am

    You have so many beautiful Victorian antiques. A good eye and being resourceful…also a good husband who helps and is patient. I love getting your latest updates. Soon, give us a video “tour” of your home. It appears you have good taste and it would be inspiring and also initiate “envy” on MY part! Also you are SO FUNNY!

    Reply

  4. Cat
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:15 am

    I absolutely love the way the room has come together, that sofa was so worth it and the colour dove grey, well can’t imagine anything else once I saw it. Well done Paul (and you)

    Reply

  5. Kay
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:15 am

    Hilarious, as always. The sofa looks great.

    Reply

  6. Marcia
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:17 am

    It (the sofa) and the whole room now look fabulous and complimentary. Great job all around.

    Reply

  7. Celina
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:17 am

    It looks beautiful, and as a woman who sews, I applaud your choice of not welting. There are things meant for outsourcing.

    Reply

  8. Beth Pfaff
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:19 am

    Looks wonderful! You did a great job!

    Reply

  9. JUDY
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:21 am

    First..the end result is boo-u-tee-full But cmon..where do you Guys actually sit? When you’re not growing your own food,rebuilding your old house,adopting and standing out in the cold and disdain of heartless passers by who won’t stop and sign the $%& petition for abused animals..
    You gotta have a chair that’s comfy? or are you complete ascetics? Now I’m really impressed…
    AnyHoo you forgot to mention if Floofiness is still in Residence,have you begun the Garden,and any sign of the Dahlias emerging? Here in Virginia,its 80! one day and 55 the next?? So our plants are blooming like crazy and then shivering their leaves off through the cold cold nights. And lastly and most important! More Dancing…..Some Dancing? Please……..? Oh….and where did you get that fantastic coffee table?????

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      February 28, 2017 @ 11:16 am

      Comfort is for other people… also this way ensures that guests do not overstay their welcome.

      We DID start putting the Dahlias in! It was amazing here last weekend– in the 70’s! (which I only enjoyed while briefly forgetting that it means the polar bears are struggling!) I don’t know how soon dahlias will sprout, this is BY FAR the earliest we’ve ever gotten them in. Fingers crossed for no random snow storm!

      Coffee table = craigslist (of course!)

      Reply

  10. Gina
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:23 am

    Have you blogged about the floor in that room? What species of wood? Did you finish it yourself? How wide are the planks?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      February 28, 2017 @ 10:33 am

      Floor is naildown 2″ red oak… probably from the early 1900’s… lots of Victorian homes have this same floor over the original random-width boards that would have been standard with the house in late 1800’s… I guess the fashion changed to a more uniform appearance?

      We did not refinish ourselves… it’s the ONE THING Paul outsources… it’s really an art form and he doesn’t do it enough to feel mastery. The only part I wrote about was refinishing the front porch (which was a nightmare, and may contain important info if you are considering DIY)

      http://victoriaelizabethbarnes.com/sanding-staining-and-renovating-our-victorian-wrap-around-porch-refinishing-ipe-decking-on-an-old-house-porch-floor/

      Reply

      • Gina
        February 28, 2017 @ 11:23 am

        LOL on “angry-stain-guy”. I have my own version of that here as we endeavor to repurpose actual trees into flooring. We are not far into the process, as the logs are at the sawmill, cut into planks, and in the dryer.

        We are feeling pretty smug about our decision to frugally turn these Ash trees that had been killed by the Emerald Ash borer into flooring. I hope that is not a decision we come to regret.

        Ash grain looks somewhat like oak, which is why I asked about your floor. Right now it it appears quite pale and bland, so I suspect I will be entering some a stain purgatory of sorts sometime soon. FWIW on our last floor endeavor we used this stuff as a top coat and it turned out beautifully http://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/All-Products/Paints-Coatings-Wood-Stains-Sealers/Bioshield-Hard-Oil

        Reply

      • Patty S
        March 31, 2017 @ 3:07 pm

        I’m about to purchase a house with top-nailed wood flooring and I was told that it couldn’t be refinished, it had to be replaced. Who did you contract? The house is in SE PA.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          April 1, 2017 @ 8:42 am

          that’s nuts… unless there is an underlying issue.

          Like the floor has been sanded tooooo many times? Or it’s not a true hardwood– meaning they make some now that is a thin sliver of hardwood over composite. I don’t know any of those are actually top nailed, but I’ve seen people do some crazy stuff!

          Did you ask the person who told you it had to be replaced what the issue was? It’s not hard to find someone to refinish topnailed floors! (Although once you find someone local, ask for references! especially ones you can go see in person!) We had a local guy who does not travel (my aunt in Bucks County asked him for an estimate, but he wouldn’t travel that far)

          Reply

  11. Vickie H.
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:27 am

    Nice. Glad it is done. Please post more often. I am addicted and need my VEB fix more frequently than I am getting it. I am sure you understand.

    Reply

  12. Pam Hoffman
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:28 am

    It’s gorgeous, not that I would expect any less! But, no cat pictures???

    Reply

  13. Sus
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:30 am

    Another hilarious post and beautiful outcome on this project. I’m hoping to see this all turned into a book and a movie one day soon.

    Reply

  14. Rachelle Rohe
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:34 am

    There should be a possessed-bobbin support group. I am so relieved to know that I am not alone in this struggle.

    Reply

    • fixitchick
      March 3, 2017 @ 10:32 pm

      my bobbins are ok, it is the winder! seriously I must have the only bobbin winder in the history of sewing machines that tangles thread. I have to HAND WIND!!! Unless I take my bobbins to a friends house for loading. Which is great for black and white, but leaves me in the lurch for actual projects.

      Reply

  15. Kathleen
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:36 am

    Sewing machines are either instruments of the Devil or their tension controls were created to keep the thread industry in business. Love the completed project so get out there and buy something new and blog as I am fascinated by Philadelphia’s antique offerings which are so grand compared to the Midwest’s primitives and mid-century humdrum fare. Or just post some foster cats please.

    Reply

    • Bobbles
      February 28, 2017 @ 3:04 pm

      Last week my Bernina started talking back to me and I swore I’d get a new one. Until I looked at the prices! Oh My! But then my DIL sent me links on selling my current Bernina and asked how old it is. I dug out the receipt, it’s rising THIRTY YEARS OLD! No wonder it’s getting tired! Anyway, in light of it’s dedicated service (and the price of a new machine), I will take it in for a professional facelift and massage. Maybe it’ll last me another 10 years.

      Reply

      • Wendy M
        March 1, 2017 @ 6:50 am

        Mine too. I have a Bernina that I adore. My hubster bought it for me 22 years ago from the Bernina dealer. It was a trade in, only being one year old, so that makes it 23 years old. I was shocked because he is very frugal and does not like to spend money. Even then, it struck me as crazy expensive, but I did not complain. I have sewn clothing for the children, reupholstered 3 sofa, made boat seat covers, made countless drapes, totes, etc. Suddenly, while on a hard deadline, my reverse feed died and my tension went. I unplugged it with the ides of getting it repaired. I tried it the next day, and it worked. I am going to try and get 3 sets of drapes out of it, and then take it in for maintenance. They are total workhorses, with all metal parts, things you just don’t see anymore. Okay, I do secretly lust after the new ones that do embroidery, but they cost as much as a small used car. Sigh.

        Reply

  16. Toni
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:43 am

    Beautiful job! Your patience paid off. Still can’t wait to see a reveal of your (what I know will be) awesome kitchen!

    Reply

  17. Cindy Andrews
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:45 am

    Beautiful! Great job! How is the kitchen coming?

    Reply

    • Judy
      March 5, 2017 @ 9:26 pm

      I have a sneaking suspicion that the KITCHEN is hiding modestly behind a huge red velvet Victorian Curtain due to a major difficulty with her Costume– that must combine utilitarian efficiency with all the Glorious elegant excess of the Victorian Age.

      Finding such an amalgamation at less than a King’s ransom can not be super simple….no matter that the VEB and the Paul are Geniuses. I am patiently awaiting the KITCHEN Finale..and I demand? request politely for Dancing,a glass of Champagne and formal attire!

      Reply

  18. Jayne Zabala
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:47 am

    Beautiful — would expect no less from you! The trim is perfect. From my experience — I get those string globs on the back of sewing when I either need to change the needle (if there is even a small snag on the needle from hitting a pin or just getting old, it will do that), the bobbin is not thread properly, or the foot is not down 🙂 Can’t wait to see your next project!

    Reply

  19. Deb
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:48 am

    PERFECTION! I meant to weight in after reading your original post, but didn’t get around to it. But that’s exactly what I would’ve done OR used fabric dye to match the same subtle gray! Would’ve experimented with small pieces to get the color right and Ta Da! I’m so disappointed you made it so EASY! LOL 457,823 hrs is not a bad investment when you have nothing else to do with your time! 😉 Thanks for sharing! Love your humor as usual! BTW Do you know they make sprayable fabric dye now? Well of course you did! I’ve used it, it’s the bomb…but I redyed the fabric on two (cheap) foot stools (curb diver finds) by mixing my own. The fabric was ‘dirty’ ivory so I used a small amount of black powder Ritz dye and sponged it on. Wa La! Like magic! like new!! 🙂 Thanks for the smiles today!! God bless!

    Reply

  20. Nora
    February 28, 2017 @ 10:51 am

    For the curious among us who have the desire, but maybe not the energy, to do projects like this, how do you find the time? Do you have a day job? I can’t accomplish anything after 9 hours in front of a computer. Tell me your magical secret of seeming endless productivity!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      February 28, 2017 @ 11:11 am

      This is my equation:
      have Paul do hard part + me procrastinate/agonize over options + have guests = last minute trim rampage.

      If I seem productive, I have fooled you! The secret is Paul… we both have real jobs (sad face!) he does all the hard work, and the man is a project MACHINE… even though the trim was irritating (and included the fun sport of third-degree burns from the hot glue gun) I was motivated to dedicate Saturday am/afternoon because we were having people over.

      Reply

      • ML Glover
        February 28, 2017 @ 8:23 pm

        My dear Victoria! You now have a friend who is a professional, full time, master upholster. I live in Ellicott City, MDand can be reached anytime through social media, cell phone, usps,and the occasional road trip. Please feel free to gooogle me and see my work. My advice is free. I am a fellow scrounger, Craigslist and flea market lover . I have rehabbed many a home on both coasts and I appreciate all your Efforts, trials, and tribulations. God bless your hubby and keep on thrifting! Feel free to call!
        ML Glover

        Reply

    • Wendy M
      March 1, 2017 @ 6:52 am

      My secret is coffee. Lots of it. I have a cappuccino machine and I am not afraid to use it.

      Reply

  21. Jamie
    February 28, 2017 @ 11:03 am

    It turned our beautiful. You should be proud.

    Reply

  22. Carla Longmeyer
    February 28, 2017 @ 11:09 am

    Thank you for articulating what always happens to me when i sew a well! It’s crazy, does this happen to everyone or only amateurs? Xoxo luv u!

    Reply

  23. Karan
    February 28, 2017 @ 11:12 am

    I have the same problem w my sewing machine bobbin, I make beautiful “birdnests” ( the official name , I believe). I need to take my machine in to be calibrated, as it were, and get that problem fixed…it’s only been 8 years since it’s last fixing! Great job on the couch and waiting for the reveal on your kitchen. You have incredible patience in restoration. And funny to boot…and not a lot of “stuff” hanging around. Oh, to be simplistically organized like that. *sigh*
    Karan

    Reply

    • fixitchick
      March 3, 2017 @ 10:36 pm

      All of her extraneous stuff is either in Narnia, or Downton Abbey. This only makes sense if you read about the magical cupboards of magnificence that Paul miraculously rescued in the freezing cold dark with almost no tools. He really should give lessons in husbanding.

      Reply

  24. Caroline
    February 28, 2017 @ 11:27 am

    Okay, I have to add my voice to the PP who noted that that couch does not look, how shall I say it? Lounge-able. We have a beautiful repro Chippendale couch we inherited from a grandmother, but it is about as comfortable as an enema, so it has to go. Do you have a room dedicated to furniture that is comfortable but not historically accurate to the house? Or are you so hard-core, you’ve just convinced yourselves to like it?

    Reply

  25. Carolyn Gordon
    February 28, 2017 @ 11:50 am

    Well, I read every word and studied every picture. I knew when I hadn’t seen an update that you were feverishly looking for JUST THE RIGHT TRIM. You found it, and the result is stupendous! It really is. I admire your tenacity, my dear. I would’ve given up long ago.

    Reply

  26. Sheryl
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:00 pm

    The gimp is a perfect solution! I’m thrilled that you didn’t spend 57 hours of your life sewing welting for my meager approval, although it did take longer than 5 seconds to consume your post, as I READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY! Oh, and I also looked at the photos 🙂

    Reply

  27. Penny
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:03 pm

    Lovely, Beautiful, Joyfully pored over post.

    Reply

  28. Anne
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:11 pm

    “*Insert intermission while I open 47,689 Etsy tabs.*”

    Literally lol’d

    You send light into my day when I read your adventures.

    Reply

  29. Vickie
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:15 pm

    Oh, I do love your sense of humor. Visiting your blog is a sure way to put a smile on my face.

    By the way, your sofa is gorgeous!

    Reply

  30. Deb Lindsley
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

    The room & furniture are beautiful! I love the trim and fabric you chose. I never met a sewing machine that liked me. $20? That’s the ticket! You are THE diva of enterprise & TALENT. You are off the charts!

    Reply

  31. Jean Stein
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:34 pm

    Beautiful finish! But white in my house just wouldn’t make it for three minutes. Sewing machine tips for the future: Sometimes you need a better grade of thread. Sometimes you need to keep changing the needle because gunk in the fabric finish of the bias tape dulls the needle. Those two things can cause all the frustrations you experienced. Can’t tell you how much I enjoy your huge furniture!

    Reply

  32. Linda
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:37 pm

    You and I feel the same way about sewing (and our machines have the same evil tendency to self-adjust tension). Our mothers must also be related. Anyway, love your writing and love your projects. Your sofa and living room are absolutely gorgeous!

    Reply

  33. Laurie
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:53 pm

    It’s stunning! I am VERY impressed and bow to your superior skills and tenacity.

    Reply

  34. Brenda
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

    It is absolutely beautiful and Paul did a wonderful job!!! But I have to ask… where do you just chill out and watch TV? There must be a comfortable sofa elsewhere in the house that you can do this? Or maybe you are too busy with all the projects! I can’t wait until your kitchen is finished. I’ve been dying to see it!!!

    Reply

  35. Judith
    February 28, 2017 @ 12:58 pm

    One thing that helps prevent thread globs is to stitch through a fabric softener dryer sheet a few times before sewing.

    Reply

    • Brenda
      March 6, 2017 @ 10:23 am

      This is the best tip!! Thanks Judith

      Reply

  36. Sheralyn
    February 28, 2017 @ 1:03 pm

    Since I first found your blog, I have been convinced that we are soul sisters (Craigslist, curbside finds, SO many projects, and especially a husband who, (mostly) without complaining, hauls massively heavy Craigslist finds for his beloved to cherish. Now, as if I needed more evidence to prove it so, you have made it public that your motivation to finish projects is exactly the same as mine: give yourself a hard deadline by INVITING PEOPLE OVER. Works every time.
    Keep up the good work PLEASE – you brighten my day!

    Reply

  37. Amanda b
    February 28, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

    Omg! I scored your coffee table on Craigslist!!! I like it even more now!😜

    Reply

    • R Williams
      March 1, 2017 @ 11:10 am

      I’m obsessed with the coffee table. Who made it? It’s the last thing I need to finish my living room. Even my husband, who never says anything about décor, thinks it’s “really nice.” Which is man speak for “IT’S AWESOME !!”

      Reply

      • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
        March 1, 2017 @ 11:18 am

        it’s old RH… they don’t make it anymore but maybe you’d get lucky on ebay or craigslist! I’ve seen some knockoffs that were ok, but the scale wasn’t as appealing.

        Reply

  38. April
    February 28, 2017 @ 1:49 pm

    I have a Michael, who has the talent of your Paul, but not the patience, willingness, and adoration of a beloved to keep him cheerful as he undertakes fulfillment of my whims. He thinks I am INSANELY UNREASONABLE for even thinking of these projects.

    I AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!

    Aside from that, I want you to know that I READ EVERY WORD (sometimes several times because I’m laughing or crying so hard that I CAN NOT MAKE SENSE OF THEM on the first reading).

    And how is it that in my many many MANY years as a cat lady I have not been able to train ANY of my cats not to upchuck on every newly refinished item in our house? I mean really, even our beloved KITTY DIVINE had no flaws–NO FLAWS EVER–except her inability to choose a discreet spot when she barfed. YOU have never shown a single furball, dust bunny, scratched piece of woodwork, OR pile of scarf-and-barf in the middle of a (choose one) shiny floor, beautiful upholstered piece, bathroom rug…

    I bow to your awesomeness, and EAGERLY AWAIT YOUR NEXT POST!!!

    Reply

  39. JeanFB
    February 28, 2017 @ 2:07 pm

    It looks beautiful – all the searching certainly paid off!

    Reply

  40. Jayne
    February 28, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

    You are absolutely correct. My Grandmother’s chair, very Victorian, came to me in its original upholstery with a black backgrounded tapestry type fabric and,,,,….as you said – gimp. It has seen two more upholstering jobs since then. The gimp is gone, but that is what it should have to be authentic. Your sofa looks so so wonderful! You are talented beyond belief.

    Reply

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