Fall ’22 One Room Challenge: The Height of Modern Cottage | Week 5

The Height of Modern Cottage Design Week 5: New Prints Add Pizzaz to My Reupholstered Pieces!


Welcome to My Fall ’22 One Room Challenge Featuring Bold Design Choices in a Modern Cottage Style

I’m just so over the moon about participating in this 10th anniversary year of the One Room Challenge!

I look forward to sharing every step with you as the 8-week challenge goes on. Thank you ORC for hosting this wonderful event and I’m excited to cheer on all the other participants as we all take on this design challenge! (Psst…after you’re done reading my story, head over to the ORC Blog Page to read about the other guest participants’ designs.)

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow me on Instagram to stay up-to-date with everything I’m doing for my fall 2022 One Room Challenge.

This Week, I Give Six Pieces of Furniture a Makeover with Brand New Reupholstery!

1) Plaid Chair

2) Striped Chair

3) Cottage Chair

4) Bench Cushion

5) Red Ottoman

6) Tufted Ottoman

Playful prints are currently the power move of choice – perfect for my cottage rooms! This week, I’m showing off a variety of bold prints in a cheery color palette with new upholstery for six of my pieces of furniture. It is incredible what new upholstery can do! Take a well-loved piece of furniture, some gorgeous new fabric, and upholstery skills and WOW! You’ve got a new piece of furniture!

I was lucky enough to work with Allied Upholstery for two of my chairs, but I did two ottomans, one chair, and a bench cushion myself. I enjoyed the process of working with beautiful designer fabrics and love how they transformed each of my individual projects.

Let’s take a look at each of my six pieces of newly upholstered furniture. First, we’ll look at Allied Upholstery‘s work, and then I’ll share the four pieces I reupholstered myself. Here we go!

upholstery by allied upholstery

You can see my fabrics leaning against Allied Upholstery’s open door. And there’s Lauri in the background ready to greet me and get this upholstery project started!

1) Plaid Chair

The leisure of having upholstery done professionally for two of my chairs is one of my favorite parts of my “Height of Modern Cottage” design. Allied Upholstery has been around for over 50 years. They have definitely proved themselves as experts in their craft! It’s such a gift to have their help for my One Room Challenge – one less thing I have to do myself!

My chair before the new upholstery. It’s about to get a makeover!

My new plaid chair is actually my husband’s chair. He sits on it often, so of course I wanted the best possible cushion for the seat. Lauri Baker Kirk from Allied Upholstery (she’s such a delight!) worked with me to select the perfect cushion. We ended up going with a cushion that has wrapped springs encased in foam covered with Dacron. It will always look good – even after years of use!

The fabric I chose is courtesy of Thibaut (Chandler Check W80076). For my cottage style a check fabric is really what I was looking for, but Thibaut has come out with a plaid/check print for a modern take on a classic cottage print. Lauri worked with me to determine which direction to lay the print so I could get an idea of how it would look when it was complete.

Just look at the job Allied Upholstery did to update my chair for my new living room design! You’d never know the chair was anything other than brand new. Such clean lines and professional finishing…It’ll be nice and comfy for my husband Steve!

Uh-oh! Our van broke down bringing the plaid chair home! My poor husband, Steve, sat on the side of the road for hours waiting for AAA to come. You can see the van on the AAA truck in the picture above – and my new plaid chair is still in the van! So, I guess you can say AAA delivered my chair!

2) Striped Chair

When I saw my new striped chair I could barely contain my excitement. What a showstopper! Just look at the way that fabric is laid out with precision. Allied Upholstery really outdid themselves with this one!

I chose Jane Churchill fabric for my striped chair (J966F-02 Chari Stripe-Red). This fabric is so intricate that the print could be laid out in many different ways. I had to reinterpret the print design for the chair layout, which meant taking into consideration all the curves and dimensions of the chair. I also needed to think about the many angles the chair will be viewed from when it finally takes its place in my living room. I worked closely with Lori to determine the best way to lay out the print. As a finishing touch, the chair was framed by a red linen welt.

The van is still not running, but we had to get one more chair home from Allied Upholstery. Luckily, they came through for us and had the chair delivered. Even through the plastic I could see it was a stunner.

I mean, can you say “wow?!” They really nailed it. The thing I like best about this chair is that it looks good from every angle. That works well for my design, since I plan to place the striped chair where you can see all sides of it. 

Allied Upholstery did such an amazing job for me. I highly recommend them for anyone looking for expert-level upholstery work for their design projects. Now, their work is done, and it’s up to me to finish the rest of the upholstery!

Upholstery by Right at Home Interiors

3) Cottage Chair

Modern blue option.
Cottage red option.

I knew I definitely wanted to update my cute cottage chair to have a new fabric that goes with my “Height of Modern Cottage” design. My first choice was to go with a red mini check (Colefax & Fowler Jay Check – Pink  F4762-01).

I also chose a tufted look for the cushion – very traditional cottage style. I streamlined the red cushion look by removing the ties that were present on the “before” chair. That choice kept the look more modern to balance the classic tufting.

The blue look came to me as I considered my new drapery design. I thought maybe a blue fabric would look better in front of the drapes, so I went to one of my big Thibaut books of fabric to see what I could find. I discovered a gorgeous diamond print (Thibaut: High Plains F913231). Oh my gosh, this blue diamond design is so different than what I usually choose, but I’m loving how its strong graphic print and tailored details accentuate a fresh modern touch in my living room.

I knew it would be tricky to upholster a cushion in the blue diamond fabric, but as long as I lined up the patterns just so, I knew the end result would be spectacular. I really thought through how I would cut the fabric pattern to match all the way around the cushions.

I used a 5 inch foam double wrapped in Dacron for the cushion itself. The double wrapping gives the cushion a very nice loft. I also love how the blue fabric has a real white in it. The bright white plays beautifully off my semi-gloss white paneled walls.

See those little silver button covers laying on the red check fabric? I used those for the tufting part of the red cushion. I cut the red fabric out and covered the silver buttons to make an exact color match. I had a lot of buttons to cover!
The fabric for this red cushion wasn’t super heavy duty. I decided to line it, since I was using it for upholstery. I wanted a little more stability for cushion fabric and that’s just what the lining gave me.
Here’s the cushion getting ready to be tufted! I combined two check fabrics for my red cottage cushion: a mini check for the body of the cushion and a large-scale check cut on the bias for the banding edge detail.

To add a more modern flair to the red look for the cottage chair, I created a very different kind of edge. I did a double banding cut on the bias of a large check. My choice to cut it that way came to me in a burst of creativity in my workroom! That’s one of the fun things about playing around with fabric – inspiration can strike at any time and voila! You have a new creation you’ve never seen before!

I love having two different looks for my cottage chair. At any time I can say, “okay, I’m ready for a new look!” and I can swap out the cushions the same way you’d swap out pillows. I know they’ll both look good in the room, and I’m so curious what I think about each cushion when I (finally!) make the drapes this weekend and see the entire living room all put together.

4) Entryway Bench Cushion

We affectionately call this bench “mom’s bench” because I designed it for her! Whenever she comes over she needs a place to sit, take off her shoes, set down her purse, and maybe put on a pair of slippers! I used to have a chair there for her, but now her seating area is getting an upgrade to fully built-in seating! I designed my bench cushion using Thibaut fabric (Fern Stripe AF15105). I just love this fabric! With a fabric like this, there are so many ways to cut it to make a gorgeous design. A true designers dream!

I cut the fabric wide enough for the edge so you can see the whole red and blue pattern. I used a red welt to accentuate the break between the top and the side of the cushion.

I had my custom foam supplier create a 4.5 inch piece of foam to use for the insert. I needed that size foam so that Thibaut‘s breathtaking pattern would be fully seen on the edge of the cushion. I’m so glad I have a great custom foam supplier (Keyston Bros.) that can cut me foam in any size and density I want!

Mom has been asking me about her new bench all throughout the One Room Challenge. I can’t wait to show her the finished result complete with pillows, accessories, and a stunning mirror from Ballard Designs. She’s going to love sitting on her new bench cushion as much as I enjoyed making it!

5) Red Ottoman


My ottoman goes with the striped chair that Allied Upholstery reupholstered for me. They did the chair, but I figured I could tackle the ottoman myself! I was excited about putting this European red linen from Cowtan & Tout (Coco – Ruby 11174-15) on my beloved little ottoman.

You’d never know by looking at the finished ottoman that there’s a zipper hiding under the top cushion – but there is! You can see me here ironing the linen around the zipper.
I added extra Dacron to the edges of the ottoman’s frame for a cushy edge on the bottom structure.
Now, I have the top cushion stuffed with foam. Next, I needed to slide the rest of the fabric onto the framework of the ottoman. It’s a fun moment and a reward to see the entire ottoman come together.
It’s tricky work reupholstering around the legs, but it’s all part of the job!

When I finished all the steps and flipped my newly reupholstered ottoman back over, I needed to smooth it out and adjust things. Linen naturally wrinkles and you see more idiosyncrasies in the fabric. If you want to use linen in your design you have to know it’s going to wrinkle love it that way!

I was excited about using this solid red European linen on my ottoman. I chose solid red because I knew the color would complement the striped chair but not take away from its beauty. The same linen fabric is seen again as the red welt for the striped chair, which marries them together. Together, the make the cutest pair!

6) Tufted Ottoman

My round tufted ottoman goes in front of my new plaid chair (AKA: my husband, Steve’s chair!). For the top, I’m using the same fabric as I’ll use in my new living room drapes (Thibaut: Indiene Hazel / Red and Blue AF15115). It’s one of the few place I’ll repeat the drapery fabric in my “Height of Modern Cottage” design. It’s the best fabric to tuft with! It’s lightweight, with a large-scale floral. It’s important to have a pattern like this because when you tuft, the pattern gets distorted. Thibaut‘s floral fabric creates a bright, bold top that’s totally cute here! I just love it.

This is the foam without the fabric on it. See how the holes are already there for me to tuft?
The underside of the ottoman. You can see past the bottom frame where the knots are from the tufting.
Those little “fluffies” help the slip knots stay tight, which strengthens the tufting.

I had this ottoman custom built at an upholstery shop years ago. Funny thing about me is that if I can take something apart, I can usually figure out how to put it back together. I used those skills for this reupholstery project!

The foam is already set up to be tufted. To get the exact right size fabric, I took the original fabric and used it as a pattern. Then, I poked holes in the fabric exactly where the original holes were based off the pattern. I gathered my long needle and cording and got ready for the physically demanding tufting process!

Hit play to watch me tuft away!

Reupholstery is a very physical craft! I look speedy in the video above, but the tufting and reupholstery process took me hours. Definitely a challenge, but that’s what we designers love!

I was full of anticipation to put these adorable silver floral buttons on the red pleated skirt of my tufted ottoman. They’re the perfect finishing touch because they play off Thibaut‘s stunning floral fabric on the top of the ottoman.
You can see here where I’m threading the cord to tie off the button through the skirt. It’s a several step process to get the buttons to sit on the skirt just right.
You can see a close up here of the silver floral buttons nestled just-so against the red linen fabric. How pretty and sweet!

For the ottoman’s skirt, I chose to use the same red linen fabric from Cowtan & Tout that I used on the red ottoman and for the red welt on the striped chair. The silver floral buttons and the repeat use of the red linen fabric uplift the new ottoman skirt to new heights – a beautiful fit as part of my “Height of Modern Cottage” design.

My newly reupholstered tufted ottoman will go in front of my husband’s new plaid chair as a contrasting but complementary moment in my living room design. I can’t wait to see all the newly reupholstered pieces together along with my drapes and accessories all framed by my floor-to-ceiling paneled walls. Only a couple weeks left till the big reveal! Woohoo!!

Featured Sponsor:

Hanes Fabrics

I am looking forward to the day I will be sewing my new drapes for my “Height of Modern Cottage” design! These two bolts of lining courtesy of Hanes Fabrics are ready and waiting to be sewn into my drapes. One is a medium weight 100% cotton lining and the other is a medium weight interlining.

This combination of linings will give my draperies soft billowy folds in my fabric you just couldn’t get without the lining. My lining and interlining from Hanes Fabrics will ensure that my finished drapes make a beautiful statement in my design.

Hanes Fabrics has a lot of variety and selection in their linings. I’ve been using them for years and my living room drapes will be just one more example of the quality of their products in action!

See how Hanes Fabrics’ lining and interlining enhance my drapes in the big reveal coming in week 8 of the One Room Challenge!

That’s it for this week! More to come next week…!

Next week I’m sharing my accessories and art selections! Follow me on Instagram to be the first to know when my next blog installment in my “Height of Modern Cottage” design story goes live!

Stay tuned for chapter six of my design story next week!

See the rest of the story!

Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3 / Week 4 / Week 5 / Week 6 / Week 7 / Week 8

My All-Star Team

I couldn’t possibly pull of a design of this size and ambition all on my own in 8 weeks! I want to introduce you to the whole team, so you can see everyone who’s going to bring this design to life! (Shhh…don’t tell, but we’re all in our sixties!)

Steve Hersh

My electrician, custom metal worker, and my overall handy guy (oh, yeah, and he’s my husband)! It’s great to have my husband on board supporting me and helping me make this design happen!

Bill Mott

Master carpenter in charge of building…well, everything! I’ve worked with Bill for years. He’s so skilled and passionate about what he does and always goes above and beyond. Just wait till you see the videos of Bill in action! You’ll be amazed at the work he’ll produce just like I am every time I work with him.

Martin Beebee

My incredible photographer! Martin has been instrumental for me when it comes to taking gorgeous, magazine-worthy pictures of my designs. He’s going to work with me throughout the challenge to take in-progress and completed design photos and I know he’s going to help show off every part of my design in the best light possible.

Keely Hersh (that’s me!)

Homeowner, painter, drapery fabricator, re-upholsterer, room stager, finishing detail work…the list goes on! (Oh, yeah, and I’m my own designer this time! What a treat to put my skills to work for myself!)