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One of a Kind Double Barstools

Alright, let’s skip the fluffy intro and get right down to it – I’ve been on the hunt or barstools for the island. Originally I had my eye on these from West Elm

West Elm barstools

They cost $199 a pop and I needed four, so with tax and shipping came to nearly $1000. I stalked them for awhile, but even with the best sale + coupon + rebate combo I couldn’t justify spending that much money. Besides, I had and idea…

dream bar stool sketch

Instead of getting four barstools that will never be pushed in just right and always look messy (I know this because of how the kids treat the dining room chairs), why not make two 2 seater stools instead? I think they will stay in place better, plus they will look more streamlined and seat just as many. So I measured everything and came up with the dimensions that would fit just right.

I showed Adam my plan and he really liked it…though he was quick to point out that it wasn’t to scale despite the fact that I drew it on graph paper. He is the king of sketching everything perfectly to scale, and I am but an impatient, math-hating graph paper destroyer.

So we hired a friend to weld them up for us, and he charged us less than what it would have cost to buy ONE of those West Elm barstools. Score.

welded bar stool frame

(Although, they are a little less flared than I anticipated…should have drawn them to scale, haha.)

industrial bar stool

So pretty though…

welded bar stool

Next we had to decide how to finish them. Adam wanted to put a piece of rustic wood on top, which would be really beautiful….but our countertop is wood, and eventually both the ceiling and floor will be wood – I think we have met our wood quota in the kitchen. And despite the fact that the original barstool I liked had a wooden seat, I told him I wanted to upholster it. He said “Okay, but the kids will probably destroy it in a hot second. Just don’t get anything too colorful and annoying, just a nice solid fabric.” Gah, he knows me too well, I was totally planning to get something fun and colorful and bring all the colors I have have for the house together. Anyway, I semi listened and picked out this simple stripe fabric from Online Fabric Store.

Online Fabric Store simple stripe fabric

Then I bought an iron-on vinyl to laminate the fabric and make it wipeable (and hopefully withstand the destruction and chaos of four little boys).

iron-on vinyl

It was really easy to do and turned out great…I was feeling pretty smart. While I was working on it my two big boys came running in and asked “Mom, will you play Crazy 8’s with us?” “Yup” I said, “Just let me finish laminating this piece of fabric first.”

Elijah – “Okay Mom!”

Levi –

blogger mom of boys

Haha, that kid (we’ve seen this look before).

So next I did the upholstery. I used two-inch foam and medium weight batting since I wanted it to be nice and soft. (Also, foam tip – it is way easier to cut foam with a serrated knife than scissors.)

simple upholstery

bench upholstery

(If you are looking for an actual tutorial for upholstering a chair or bench see my post HERE.)

I finished one seat and put it out….and a week later the lamination was already falling apart.

farmhouse industrial barstool

Dang. it.

iron-on laminate falling apart

So I ripped off the lamination and the stools are now going commando. I slathered them in Scotchgard and we will see how they hold up, but Adam took one look at them and said “Just tell me when your ready for that piece of wood.”

upholstered barstools

I love them though, and the two-seater idea actually functions really well. They are plenty spacious for two people (even adults) and they look simple and uncluttered. They don’t ever move actually, the kids just climb over the back and sit down and don’t have to drag them around to use them. Perfect.

the perfect bar stools

Here is a shot of the overall kitchen so far (yeah…some of the Christmas decor hasn’t made it down yet.)

industrial farmhouse kitchen

I love the way it’s headed, but we still have a long way to go until it is finished. We need to finish the cabinets, install a backsplash, trim the window, make a roman shade, finish the pantry and door, cover the vent hood, add the wood ceiling, the wood floor, decor….whew.

Also, sidenote – I was recently interviewed by Online Fabric Store, click here to read it!

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  1. For round two you could have your fabric professionally laminated. I’ve read articles by interior decorators and they say it works great but I have never done it.

    1. That would be a great option. I looked at pre laminated fabric online but couldn’t find a pattern I liked, so picking my own getting it done would be perfect!.

  2. I think I would have to agree with Adam. The stools need that wooden seat, but I would stain them a little darker to help set off the kitchen. I think the kitchen is turning out great! Keep up the great work!!

    1. I agree that on their own the wood top would look day better (I love any wood + metal combo), but I just afraid it’s going to start looking ultra cabin-y if we overdo it on the wood. We will see, the stools will be an easy thing to change whenever the kids destroy this fabric (because we know it will happen eventually!).

  3. Gosh I love it all! While the kiddos are smaller, it’ll be great. One day, I’m sure you’ll change the tops to wood…and that will be great too. When you change to bar stools one day, they can be great side tables. Love Love the updates and it’s looking awesome!!! Can’t wait til your next project!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Your boys are precious!!

  4. What a smart idea, to go with two benches! Too bad about that laminating stuff, it looked promising. If they are getting scuffed, you could make a cushion cover, kind of like a shower cap, out of vinyl and take it off when you have company or want to photograph the house…maybe? Or maybe that’s too weird, I don’t know. The house is looking great. Just think of one project at a time and that will help keep you from getting overwhelmed!

    1. That’s not a bad idea. I thought about just buying a roll of plastic and putting it over the fabric permanently, but I kinda hated that they were shiny with the lamination. I’m impossible to please, haha.

  5. I love the idea of having a double seated stool! My sister in law has sometimes used a heavy duty vinyl table cloth to cover her bar stools. She’s need pleased with those and it’s cheaper than fabric. Love that fabric though!

  6. The fabric stores should carry a heavy duty clear plastic. This can be used to cover & protect the pretty fabric underneath. I recovered my kitchen seats with fabric, then plastic, so that when my 2 boys were past the spilling stage (still waiting for that) I could remove the plastic & still have the pretty.

  7. I ordered ‘laminated cotton’ from an online fabric store (I think it was fabric.com) for essentially the same purpose. I used it on a built in bench in my kitchen. It worked awesome! Was easy to use, not as thick/stiff as oil cloth, but was completely wipeable. It really wasn’t expensive either – especially for such a small project. Well worth a try if you decide to make a change.

    1. Adam built a large bench in the dining room that I plan to upholster also, so these stools are a great experiment before I dive into that. Glad to hear about the laminated cotton working, because wipeable is my #1 concern for that bench. How are kids so crazy messy?!

      1. Tell me about it. My older daughter is 11 and still can’t keep food on her plate. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to wait until they move out to have a clean house. Had one more comment to add on the laminated cotton – it wasn’t shiny which I really loved about it. Unless you touched it it almost looked like real fabric. Good luck on the bench project. Looking forward to a future post on it.

  8. Sorry Adam… On this one you’re wrong! Love the upholstery… And you can always re-do them in a more heavy duty fabric if needs be. Or if you just want a change?

  9. Have you heard of the new fabric called “Crypton”? There’s a video online that is amazing……liquid rolls right off, and it looks like ANY kind of mess will wash right off. It’s expensive at JoAnn Fabric, ($59/yd) but you can find it for $21/yd. if you search.

  10. These look so nice (too nice for kids!). If your kids are anything like mine and rapidly destroy the fabric, maybe you could consider a leather (or faux leather) that would be washable. Leather would also tie in with the wood colours. Just a thought for the future :)

  11. Curious as to how these will be in action. Keep us posted how the double seat works. To me it looks like it might be awkward for 2 to get themselves seated and pulled up to the counter on one stool? They look great.

    1. We have had then in action since before Thanksgiving (with just a plywood top since I take forever to finish projects) and they have been great. Adam and I share one all the time to each lunch and you don’t really have to ever move them, you can just leave then where they are comfortable to eat at and you each have your own side to enter and exit (and just enough room between them to get around).

  12. I definitely think upholstery was the right choice here. I would have gone with a busier pattern. Adam can handle 4 sq ft of color. You can always get fabric professionally laminated or replace it with oilcloth later. I think the wood would look ok now but once you’ve done the floor and ceiling it would look terrible and then you’d probably feel stuck with them.

    1. That’s true, once we go wood there is no going back, and with this upholstery it is easy to change if I want a different pattern. I agree with the four feet of color, but he is being stubborn about having no patterns anywhere. He is going to loose though, because I picked this paisley fabric to make fake roman shades for the kitchen and dining room –

      …and this one picked out for the laundry room curtains (already bought it for cheap on ebay) -http://www.houzz.com/photos/37255759/Paint-Palette-Mist-245-Floor-Pillow-contemporary-floor-pillows-and-poufs

  13. I know I’m a little late at reading this post, but I laughed so hard when I saw the laminated covers after a week. I know I’m old, but suddenly, all I could see were those 60s living room chairs and couches with the clear plastic slipcovers. Oh, what memories.

  14. Hii,

    I absolutely love this! I probably never would have thought of it but it adds such character and awesome texture to the stool!
    There are several kinds of bar stools available each kind having its own characteristics as per their making. One can get a bar stool in almost every colour, every size and every design, all depends upon your restaurant theme. There is no need to mention that how important it is for your stools to be in accordance to the theme of your interior.
    Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    Alvin Velasco

  15. Ashley I love your blog and follow you religiously!! I’m kind of obsessed;). Anywho, I had been looking for the perfect bar stools for my island as well and after you posted your barstool project I immediately got the hubs on board to do our own, of course, inspired by you! We used some metal that had been laying around from a past project that never got completed, an old distressed board, spray paint we already had on hand!! No money spent.., thanks so much. If I knew how to attach a photo I totally would.

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