When you fail…

When you fail…

When you have a project in mind, it doesn’t always go as planned.  Any amen’s out there??

I wish I could tell you all of my ideas are perfectly awesome, and everything I touch turns into design gold.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way.  However, on the other hand, I will say my project disasters are always ones I am working on for me.  So no clients items or their homes have been harmed in these processes.

Meet the matching pair of settees I bought recently at an estate sale.


$150 FOR BOTH.  Score.  Bernhardt tag.  Double score.  Perfect condition.  Triple score.  Bad speckled sixties finish.  Booooooooooo.


So I had these grand plans to show you guys how to get ride of aforementioned speckled finish.  A quick trip to my local hardware store led me to purchase some Citri-strip and other supplies.


I like the idea of this (no harsh fumes, not extremely toxic, etc.), but it took my finish off in teeny tiny pieces, and it was a mess.  Although I felt slightly disappointed, I was still optimistic.  On to Plan B.  While picking up some paint for a client in my local Benjamin Moore paint supply store, I asked the sales associate what he recommended for my project.  He pointed me to this.

AStoriedStyle.comHave you heard of Peel Away before?  I have heard great things about it (no bad fumes, but it is caustic, so it can burn the heck out of you – wear long gloves!) and thought I would try it.


It sounds easy enough – smear it on, make sure it’s 1/8″ to a 1/4″ thick, place the special paper on top of the paste, wait 12-24 hours, and pull it off!  Voila, all layers of paint come off in one fell swoop.

Hmmmmmm…not so much.

Now I LOVE my guys at Benjamin Moore, they have been good to me many, many years.  Therefore, I am sure this is great stuff.  Maybe I put it on too thick?  I had tons of detail work to get the paste into so I layered it on heavy to make sure I covered everything.  But there was no “peel away”.  It was more like take off the paper, and scrape and scrape and scrape.  The finish is coming off, but there is loads of detail work left behind.  It will take me twelve years to get all of this off.





Yup, time to call in the big dogs.  If you live in the DFW area and know a great furniture refinishing guy, let me know!

I’m really liking the natural wood color, and I think I want to strip the finish and leave the wood raw.  Perhaps some sort of protectant over it?  Nothing shiny though.  The original upholstery is not bad, it works in my room, and my plan was to keep it (except I was going to change out the welt), especially since it would save me some money.  But I don’t know if a professional can preserve it.

The moral(s) of the story?

1.  No one is above failure (not even your favorite designer, DIY blogger, etc.).  When you are trying something new, there is always a 50/50 chance your project will go wrong.

2.  Be adventurous!  Don’t worry so much about failure that you don’t reach inside your creativity, that you don’t try to make your vision come to life.  It stinks for your idea to not work out, but if you succeed, it’s AWESOME!!  Plus you always learn from your mistakes.

3.  Know when to call in the professionals.  Sometimes all you need is a little pow-wow over the phone, and other times, you have to beg someone to help you.  (like I will be doing)

4.  Keep the end result in mind.  If you have an idea in your head you just can’t let go of (like these settees in my living room), don’t give up!  You can find a way to make it happen.  Use your resources!  Have a friend whose house/furniture you love?  Ask her for her ideas!  Have a neighbor who is handy?  Take over a pie and ask him for help.  It always helps to have another brain trying to find a solution to a problem.

Have you ever had a failed project?  What’s your advice?

Written by Grace


  • Erin
    Posted at 12:56h, 22 January

    I love this… that IS a double score on those settees, and good luck finding a good refinisher. I love DIYs, but I also have so many things to do in this life, sometimes the best option is to call in the experts. I can’t wait to see how these turn out in the end 🙂

    • Grace
      Posted at 15:42h, 24 January

      Hi Erin, I actually sent them off to the refinisher a couple of says ago, and I’m excited to see how they turn out, too! Thank you so much for reading and for your comment! G

  • Amy Thornton
    Posted at 02:10h, 28 January

    Hi! I am in LOVE with the tufted turquoise sofa in the Joss and Main catalog but it it is not avail in the collection. I’m assuming it’s a redo. Would you be so kind to enlighten me if it is available for purchase or if the fabric is available. It is exactly what I want! Thanks! Amy

    • Grace
      Posted at 14:09h, 31 January

      Hi Amy! I know, I love that sofa, too! Unfortunately, it is not available for sale and is a one-of-a-kind. I had that chesterfield recovered in Sunbrella’s indoor/outdoor velvet in the peacock blue (they call it ‘teal’) colorway. You can read all about where I buy my outdoor fabrics by clicking the link below.


      Hope that helps! Love, G