Thursday, April 15, 2010


the finished on to learn how

Working as an interior designer you learn to use your resources, and you learn to use them well. At work, we're resourceful in a way that helps us to be efficient, to get things completed in a timely matter. You need to know the size of a half basketball court? Google it. You need to know where that pillow came from in that Betty Lou Phillips book? Call her. You need to draw a custom furniture piece and need some inspiration for an authentic period style? 1st Dibs it.

Being resourceful at your own home however is a different ball game. At home, us designers use our resources in a way that helps us to be FRUGAL!! Yes, I said it. Frugal is an ugly word, but I've learned to use it, and I've leaned to 'use' it wisely. Being a newlywed and young designer, let's face it- I'm slightly broke, but in a good way. Broke in way that keeps me on the seat of my pants striving to make more and stretch my dollar further. Broke in a way that makes me tap into talents I didn't even know I had. Even doing small side jobs for some extra fun budget (ill explain the fun budget thing later). I even got so thirsty for some new gladiator sandals that I offered to make my dads 35th medical school reunion name tags on photoshop!

proof! very vintage -eh?

Point of the matter is this: Desperate times call for desperate measures. When you work in a field of luxury and are surrounded by it for 8 hours a day with upscale clients and high demands, you learn to crave nice things... and well my budget can't satisfy those cravings... Therefore I have come to the conclusion that when life gives you lemons you make your own silk dupioni Pottery Barn-knock-off headboard!

The How-to-Headboard

Items you will need:

1. Picture of inspiration
2. Carpenter
3. batting
4. hot glue gun
5. staple/nail gun
6. fabric of your choice
7. cording
8. buttons
9. patience.

Step 1: find a headboard shape that you like. Some may be tricky depending on the complexity of the shape, but any carpenter should be able to carve what you want according the the dimensions you specify. Pictures are always helpful to show your general inspiration.

my Pottery Barn inspiration

(Priced at $899)

Abby, (my friend/coworker) and I were able to draw our headboards on CAD (CAD is the computer program that we use to design floor plans and elevations, and custom furniture pieces). Our boss, Jeff then generously had our carpenter make the frame of our headboards. (It was a very nice surprise and saved us even more money!!)

Step 2: cover the entire headboard with batting... for us cheapos, hot glue guns work wonderfully in our demographic :) Trim edges, leaving 3-4 inches around to pull and wrap the fabric.

1: cover with batting

2: trim edges & leave 3-4 inches to wrap around

Step 3: Turn head board over or prop against a wall and pull fabric around edges and fasten with staple gun.

3: pull edges and staple to back of board

Step 4: Piece fabric together for most efficient coverage and sew it together!! (Luckily I had Abby to help me with this part, but I felt very domestic none-the-less!)

Step 5: My headboard had two parts, the outermost portion on bottom and the small piece on top that created a 1/2" edge for dimension. I placed the fabric over the headboard and used pins to keep the fabric in place as I positioned it. Then I went back around with a nail gun, and at that point, there's no turning back, so make sure and get your fabric right where you want it.

5: Nail fabric to top edge of board

6: Now staple the remaining fabric to the back of the board. If you have curves or sharp corners it may take two people to get fabric positioned correctly.

6: staple fabric to backside of headboard

7. Sew cording and hot glue (carefully) to the raised edge to give the headboard a polished and tailored look. Then cover buttons with fabric and measure where you want your tufts to be placed. Mark with a pencil then hammer a nail into the wood to make the fabric pucker. Finally hot glue the buttons to the top of the nails you placed as your tufts.


A few things to keep in mind. Pick your fabric wisely. I chose a taupe silk dupioni, which matches my bedding, but is very risky! The fabric shows all puckers and wrinkles and stretches slightly, but in the finished application looks very refined and tailored!

my custom creation!

(made for less than $100)

Total savings?? About $800!!!

Now thats being resourceful.

This takes a VERY long time! It took Abby & I the ENTIRE weekend to complete our headboards, but we sure had a blast (and some wine) while making them! Check out Abby's fun headboard!

Abby's custom headboard

If anyone has more questions about how to make a custom headboard or is interested having one made for you, let me know!