Before & after: Cane Chair Makeover

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Naturally you’ve probably heard this before, and therefore you’ll know it’s the sort of idea I can totally get behind -which is exactly wheat I did over the holidays when I was in Australia. Now I’m not sure if this is just an Aussie thing, but down under we have what they call ‘tip shops’. The tip meaning a dump or landfill site, and, ergo, a tip shop meaning a place that sells the junk the tip shop guy deems potentially attractive to someone – hence the trash to treasure. But in this case it was a woman and not a man. Basically I used my holidays to visit the tip shop as much as possible (poor Ben!), and although most of the stuff I found was rubbish (as in… actual rubbish), I got my hands on these chairs for, wait for it, ten bucks! Seriously. And although they started out U.G.L.Y, with a little love and lots of cans of spray paint, I managed to turn that around.

before and after cane chair makeoverBefore and after: cane chairs

As you can see they weren’t that pretty… BUT they did have a good structure, were totally sturdy and seemed like they had a few more years in them. They made a great addition to my parents beach house!

cane chair makeover

You need

  • spray paint (satin will give a nice finish)
  • sand paper
  • staple gun and staples
  • upholstery fabric

Before and after: cane chairs


The first thing I did was take off the seats by removing the large bolts underneath.

Before and after: cane chairs


If your chairs have any sort of varnish you’re going to have to take that off. This is by far the most a) time consuming and b) annoying part of the process, particularly if your chairs have lots of fiddly bits like mine did. But so worth it so your paint doesn’t chip off – the top of the chair and the legs are a good place to focus on because they’ll bear the brunt of use.

Before and after: cane chairs


Now it’s time to spray your chairs, I did three coats, two from the top and one from the underside by turning the chairs over. In total it took up three cans of paint.

Before and after: cane chairs


To give these chairs the 70’s palm springs vibe I was after, clearly that awful fabric had to go. Using the staple gun, I re-covered the seats using some amazing fabric my boyfriend’s family got for me from their furniture store (check them out here). Ben’s mum actually taught me a lot about upholstering that I never knew, such as how to get the tension right and how to get a clean edge.

Before and after: cane chairs

First we cut a square section larger than the cushions. Rather than starting from one side and working our away around, first we folded the two opposite edges in and pulled tight, putting a few staples in along the rim of the cushion base to secure. Then we swapped over and folded the other sides in and stapled them down.

Before and after: cane chairs

Then all we had to do was pull the fabric tight all the way around the fill in the stapled edges between the four corners we created. I was surprised because instead of folding the fabric to create gathers, which often show on the edge of the seat, you actually pull it tight all the way around. This makes for a much cleaner edge and the perfect tension. I’m going to be sharing that in more detail here soon on upholstering in case this is confusing!

Before and after: cane chairs

We then trimmed the edge of the fabric all the way around and then bolted the seat back onto the chairs… Not bad for a few hours work.

Before and after: cane chairs


before and after cane chair makleoverBefore and after: cane chairs

If you’ve been watching me on snapchat you would have seen this whole process in detail (follow me: apair_andaspare). I’ve uploaded the video to Facebook if you want to see it here. I’m really loving sharing the process of a DIY in that medium so definitely get on it if you aren’t yet!

Thanks Ambience for the amazing fabric.


There’s nothing better than a really great pair of jeans – kind of like the best friend of your wardrobe, they’ll always be there and are sure to hold you up when you’re finding it hard to get it together. They suck at writing back on whatsapp but we can forgive them for that. But after a few weeks spent alternating jeans and two pairs of tights layered together, you can imagine I’m after a little variety in my life. Which is where this simple little update comes in,  great because you can roll your cuffs up or down depending on how much print you want to show, and they can be removed or swapped out over time. Enjoy!

Printed Cuff Jeans

Wearing: J Crew updated jeans, Kookai trench, Grafea bag, Witchery shoes.

You need:

  • Jeans
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Needle & thread
  • Pins

How to make turn up cuff jeans


Measure how much you would like your jeans cuffs to turn up, in this case approx 7cm. Place your jeans on top of your fabric and then cut a matching section of fabric out.

How to cuff denim pants inHow to make turn up cuff jeans


Cut two pieces of fabric to this measurement.

How to make turn up cuff jeans


With a seam allowance, hand sew up the open side of the fabric and then turn the fabric inside out making a fabric loop.

How to make turn up cuff jeans www.apairandasparediy.comHow to make turn up cuff jeans


You’re going to add the loop to the inside of the jeans so when you roll them over you can see the printed cuff. Pin 1cm of fabric turned inside the cuff of your jeans and then hand sew both the top and bottom edges. You’ll want to use an invisible type stitch so you can’t see it from the other side.

How to make turn up cuff jeans www.apairandasparediy.comHow to make turn up cuff jeans


Turn your jeans back the right way and turn the cuff over to reveal the printed fabric.

How to make turn up cuff jeans www.apairandasparediy.comHow to make turn up cuff jeans


cuffed jeans 1

** Did any of you notice the wardrobe malfunction in these pics? -laughing crying face-


It’s been a little while since I’ve penned a travel guide for you guys, but I’m excited to finally give you the down low on one of my favourite experiences of 2015. The magical island of Maui! Hawaii had been on my list for a while so when my parents said they were meeting my brother (who lives in New York) and his girlfriend on Maui (a short flight from the main island) I jumped at the chance. I was exhausted from what was a massive year so it was really nice to travel without any objectives… other than documenting it for you guys!

I adored Maui so much, such an amazing volcanic landscape – with tropical beaches, lush jungles and hidden coves. In some ways it reminded me of the Byron Bay region actually, everyone super chilled and living that holiday life. I know in reality it’s much more complex than that, but I was happy to float along for a week.

Travel Guide for Maui


There are 7935935 resorts to stay in on Maui, many of which are located on the western side around Wailea. The water is calm and gorgeous there so not a bad choice, but on the tip of our friends in New York we decided to stay in the (somewhat) hip town of Paia instead, which is on the north coast. We got a house on airbnb and settled into town life – there are lots of little shops, cafes, an absolutely epic whole foods grocery store, yoga studios, massage places and one million bikini shops (ok, like 4). I think it was great choice because we could all do our own thing. The beaches were a little more exposed on this side of the island but we didn’t mind.

See & Do

Snorkle the gorgeous crater of Molokini at sunrise. We booked ours through a hotel on the west side.

Drive the amazing Road to Hana. A 65 mile stretch of road between Paia and Hana, make a zillion stops along the way to check out waterfalls, black sand beaches, bank bread stalls and gorgeous gardens. We had tacos at Nahiku Market Place which was about halfway long,

Hike any number of the hills around the Volcanos. We hiked Waihee Ridge which had the most amazing views (although a somewhat anticlimactic ending).

Watch the roll in at one of the famous big wave surf spots – we had HUGE surf when we were there are stopped in at Jaws (yes, I know, somewhat concerning name for a beach) and saw some massive waves.

If you’re keen to learn to surf, don’t worry there are more relaxed spots. Because of the shape of the islands, there are nice and placid beaches where you’ll be sheltered while you get your sea legs. The Western side around Lahaina looks liked a great spot to learn, and there are lots of companies set up to teach you.

Hit the beaches all around the island. My faves were the ones along the highway before Lahaina, Baldwin Beach near Paia, the black sand beach of Waianapanapa just before Hana and Hamoa beach which is just after Hana.

Eat & Drink

Have a world class meal at Mama’s Fish House. And that decor! Gimme gimme.

Stock up on bits and bobs at the famous Olowalu General Store.

Have a relaxed lunch at Paia Fish Market.

Have a slightly more upmarket night at Hana Ranch Provisions.

Stock up on groceries at Mana foods – such a great grocery store!

Get yourself a banana smoothie at Olowalu Fruit Stand.

Grab some breakfast at Paia Bay Coffee.

Good to know

The sooner you learn to embrace island time the better – nothing happens on Maui in a rush.

Guide to Maui

Maui essentials: body oil, bronzing lotion, ray bans, vintage inspired postcards.

Guide to Maui

Hamoa Beach in a black one piece.

Guide to Maui

All you need in life… on the road to Hana.

Guide to Maui

Towel days

Guide to Maui

Surfboard fences

Guide to Maui

Blank sand beach

Guide to Maui

Road trippin’ in DIY shorts, Club Monaco top and Sportsgirl hat.

Guide to Maui

Sunset near Lahaina in a Faithfull playsuit.

Guide to Maui

Maui gold…

Guide to Maui

SUCH blue waters…

Guide to Maui

Stopping in at Paia’s gelato store.

Guide to Maui

Hamoa beach

Guide to Maui

Jurassic Park vibes on Waihee Ridge

Guide to Maui

Don’t miss sunset at Baldwin beach with a glass of wine in your hand.

Guide to Maui

Mama’s Fish House

Guide to Maui

One more for the road :)

Guide to Maui



Sweater weather. Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping it that this time of the year in the northern hemisphere. A quick stop into Hong Kong before heading off again landed me right in the middle of a polar vortex. And that’s not even me just exaggerating… it’s an actual thing. Google it. Not exactly a blizzard, but still pretty cold! Needless to say the sofa and I were freshly re-aquainted over the weekend, along with all the sweaters I could find. Think of me as the michelin man in grey marl. In the event that you’re feeling the pressure/depression of sweater weather and want to spice it up a bit, I thought I would share with you a quick project idea. A word emblazoned bomber jacket made from a simple sweater. Chances are there are a few you’d like to take your scissors to by now, right?

DIY Varsity Bomber Jacket

The bomber – perfect paired with the Coach swagger satchel and a pair of ankle boots.

DIY Varsity Bomber JacketDIY Varsity Bomber JacketDIY Varsity Bomber JacketDIY Varsity Bomber Jacket

*Sitting in my studio under a pile of coats, the sight of my own bare legs in these pics makes my eyes water. Bring on my next trip, please and thank you.

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

Never miss a post