jilly's breakfast nook and a mini-tutorial

Even though I don't feel like this space is quite ready to show the world, it's as done as it's going to be for awhile, and the white tile floor (aka: the bane of my existence) unfortunately isn't going anywhere anytime soon.... 

This is the breakfast nook in our home and this picture was taken a week or so before we moved in while I was cleaning out all the stuff the previous occupant had left behind.

You've got to love the vertical blinds, cultured marble windowsills and a ceiling fan that unfortunately wasn't captured in this photo.

Here it is today:

This space was largely "completed" (will it ever really be done?) just a couple weeks ago when this piano bench, previously adorned in this hot pink Asian silk was given new life.

It was reupholstered in a sturdy, wool, herringbone curtain panel I found at a garage sale for $1.  One of my best friends and fellow members of {Club Project} who is often referred to as "G" here on the blog, upholstered this at the last project day at {MY house}.  I finished it off with a contrasting welt cord, and thought I would give a mini-tutorial on how I did it. 

Have you ever wondered how the pros make the welting look like there is no starting or stopping point?  Well, YOU are going to be a pro after a quick how-to!

First off, make (or buy) enough welt cord for your project.  Pull the fabric back a bit to expose about an inch of the cord on one end.

Snip off an inch of the cord and smooth your fabric back out.  There will be about an inch with no cording inside.  Don't panic.

Pick the stitching out until you reach the cut end of your cording. 

Start stapling a good two inches from the start of your welt cord.

Continue on around until you get close to where you started.  Leave plenty to play with.  Now is not the time to have cut it too short!  I always make my cording at least a few inches longer than I think I need.

Now find the end of your cut cording inside the little sleeve, and cut the other end dead even with where the the other one starts.

Fold back the fabric where you picked the seam out and make sure your cording edges butt up to each other.  You don't want to leave a gap at all.

Fold your cut and raw edge under a 1/4" and tuck the side you just cut right inside.  Staple it in place really well where it joins.

 Look, now YOU can be a PRO!  The joined edge is hardly noticeable at all.

I've seen one too many bad upholstery pieces where they cross the welt cords over each other and it looks so bulky and unprofessional, not to mention clearly obvious as to where it starts and stops. I hope this little tutorial helps you!

The windows of the nook were a little bit involved.... I can't lie.  Back in the early 80's when this house was built, they must have sought out the squattiest windows available. They never made sense to me, and since ripping them out and replacing them with taller ones wasn't a viable option (trust me, I checked!) I had to come up with another plan.  I decided to run some moulding all the way up the sides of the windows to the ceiling and make some custom roman shades to hang over the dead wall space above the window to make the window appear much taller.
Melanie helped me work on adding trim to this bay window area for an entire day of  a Club Project session about a year ago, and then me and my man finished it off.  We used MDF for the whole thing, except for the piece of pine trim we attached to the front of the sill to dress it up a bit.  There were some sizable gaps due to my lack of knowledge in trigonometry about how angles and corners come together.  Thank the heavens for wood filler and caulk. You'd never guess there was a problem.

Mia is such a sport, although that's no surprise.  These are the SECOND set of window treatments she helped me make for this space.  (We aren't going to talk about the first set, they were my bad idea)  I LOVE the current roman shades though!  We made them out of fabric I got for $1 a yard at Wal Mart, and the gray trim was found at SAS for $2 a yard.  They are casual and comfortable looking and add some much needed softness to a space with so many hard finishes.  Mia posted a {great tutorial} so you can make your own shades, too. It has great pictures and instructions.  You know you don't need a sewing machine, right?  These are no-sew shades!  Be sure to use black-out lining if you plan on hanging your window treatments above your window to help them appear taller.  The top of the window is about 3 inches above the bottom of the new shades.  By mounting my shades to the ceiling, I added 2 feet to my window height!  I have some cheap roller blinds mounted at the top of the window that we use in the summer afternoons when the 672 degree sun comes blaring in.  They are completely hidden by my new roman shades. 

The table was a $30 Craigslist find and I'm obsessed with it!  The marble is so pretty and the rest is shabby and worn.  This is the bench on the opposite side.  Thrift store piano benches were the perfect size!  I painted the base and stripped the top, then sealed it with wax.  It gets used and abused every single day and still looks great. 

I gave the chairs a makeover a year ago and I detailed the process {here}.  Remember when they looked like this?

They have held up amazingly well.  I scrub the painted upholstery seats about once a week, and they still look just about as good as the day I finished them.  If you find a well-upholstered chair that you want to use at your kitchen table, I highly recommend painting the upholstery.  It becomes almost like a really soft vinyl and is a breeze to keep clean.

The light fixture is just a very temporary $5 fix found at Habitat Restore. The stuff on the table is all thrift store finds, and I always have a fresh plant or flowers in a small pot.  Right now it's rosemary and everything I cook gets a few fresh sprigs!

The wall adjacent to the table is another area I've had a lot of fun with recently.  I have no mud room per se, so it's the main drop spot upon entering the back door. (which is more like the front door for our family and friends)  I'm going to blog about it next week.

Thanks for checking in and spending some of your time here.  It's fun to hear from you, and we just got our first male follower.  Thank you, Sebastiono P.    We really hope you're a legitimate human, because this is BIG!




  1. I love it ALL!! You're so ridiculously talented:)

  2. I totally learned something new with your cording tutorial and I feel like once I do that for myself on a project, I will have earned my Welting Merit Badge from the SewMaster herself! Thank you for being so generous with your know-how so that the rest of us can make things look good... what a simple solution to the common "where do I stick my seam" dilemna! It's GENIUS, I tell you!

    One of the things I love most about your blog is your willingness to work with what you have, rather than rushing out to Target or Restoration Hardware for the latest and greatest. I think that it is one of the reasons that your home reflects a timeless yet current background for the main reason our homes exist at all; to create a welcoming atmosphere for those we love most to enjoy. Thanks for highlighting how good taste doesn't have to be sacrificed for lack of funds.

    Please keep these coming... I devour your posts over my Cream of Wheat (wishing it was Pumpkin French Toast or some other Jilly concoction) every time!


  3. Ditto to all the above. I love what G said about how you use what you have to make it work, and that definitely adds to the homey feeling I get from your pics. Once again, you're awesome!

  4. hey nice post meh, You are one of the best writers I've seen of recent. I love your style of blogging here. this post reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: The Proactive Model Of Success .
    keep up the good work friend. I will be back to read more of your posts.


  5. First male follower? This is BIG...I don't have any of that species yet.....hahaha - I LoVe your table with the marble top btw- what a find!

  6. Clearly the Craigslist finds are better in Arizona! and now you have me looking for piano benches! I love all your work. Breakfast must be so nice in your nook.

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Mia & Jilly

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