Ballard Designs inspired chair

8

March 12, 2014 by twinoaksstudio

Hi everyone!
I am very sorry for my lack of posts lately. The winter has been brutal here in Maryland. My kids were out of school for a total of 9 days due to the snow and having them under foot  throws me off.

I have had fondness for old chairs for quite some time. I am notorious for collecting chairs from the curb on trash day and giving them a new life.   In December I purchased a suite of new “toys” (tools!) for upholstery, including a pneumatic staple gun and mini air compressor. 

Another key purchase was the book Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design by Amanda Brown.  I highly recommend this book!   Amanda provides wonderful advice.  The index is clearly labeled and color coded so you can find help on whatever type of project or section of upholstery you are attempting.   I had done simple upholstery projects before but I had never completely reupholstered a chair.  Having this book was key.


I picked up this chair at auction for $5. I find that other bidders avoid anything with pink upholstery. Those are the exact pieces I target 🙂  The chair is circa 1940’s mahogany with ball and claw feet and a nice scalloped back.   Very pretty and clean lines, but very dated upholstery.  Sorry if this picture is a little blurry!  😦

ballard chair before
I noticed one of the arms was  wobbly. After further examination I saw that the arm had been repaired during its last trip to the upholstery shop and was structurally weak.  The arm was beyond repair and I decided to remove both arms turning it into a slipper chair.

One odd thing about some vintage upholstered pieces is that over time the upholstery cushion foam hardens to the consistency of Cheetos. Complete with lots of orange Cheeto dust. (gross!) Removing the odd orange petrified foam and replacing it with new foam made the chair so comfortable!

ballard foam
One of the more difficult decisions for me is which fabric to upholster with. There are so many beautiful fabrics on the market! After browsing through Ballard Designs website I decided on this Kravet ikat “Tilbury Lapis”.   This fabric is featured on a few of their upholstered pieces including the Emberton Side chair, which reminds me of this chair.  It is such a vibrant print and beautiful color – I love it! Yes, a solid fabric would be much easier to work with, but I enjoy a challenge 🙂

Here it is finished and ready to enjoy!ballard chair1

You need to have a lot of attention to detail to get the repeat for a fabric like this just right.   Attention to crazy details is what I do best 🙂

Ballard chair back

I painted the legs with Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint in Curio (brown) as I thought the mahogany was a little red for the fabric.   The nail head trim was added for extra punch 🙂Ballard chair legs

Upholstery work is a real labor of love.   It involves a lot of planning, patience, attention to detail and design.   This chair was the perfect indoor project to offset a very snowy winter.

ballard chair2

ballard chair5

This piece is available for sale if you live in the Washington, D.C. Area. (As is the beautiful  deep teal frame in the background)  I may bring the chair with me to Lucketts Spring Market. I’ll have to see if I still have it then 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!
– Pauline

I will be linking this post with the following link parties.   Thank  you for hosting ladies!

Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint Masterpiece Monday

Miss Mustardseed Furniture Feature Friday

Elizabeth and Co.

8 thoughts on “Ballard Designs inspired chair

  1. It is lovely Pauline! I love that Ballard Fabric, have swooned over it many times in their catalog. I am really impressed with your upholstery skills too, I definitely need to check out that book. I recently reupholstered a chair too, I would love for you to take a look at it. I think your sewing skills may be superior to mine 🙂 Anyway, it’s beautiful! Have a great weekend.

    • Oh my goodness that’s your chair! It turned out so pretty! I love the fabric. It gives it a nice springy feel. It has been a long winter (for me!) so anything springy is so welcome! Your comments were very sweet. :). Upholstery can be an addiction of sorts. Almost like rescuing puppies with sad eyes :). The Spruce book is really great. It almost makes you too brave. You see Victorian settees or wing back chairs and say to yourself “I can do that!” But it is all fun. Good luck on your next project and have a lovely weekend! — Pauline

  2. Kim says:

    I love to reupholster chairs! It’s so rewarding to see how nice they look when finished. Your chair looks splendid!

  3. Heidi says:

    Fabulous. You did a great job on sewing the piping too.

    • Thanks Heidi! The piping isn’t too hard to sew. I actually find its harder to cut out the strips for the piping! It sounds silly but they get to be pretty long thin strips! Hope you are surviving the snow! I’m looking forward to spring! Take care, — Pauline

  4. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says:

    I do love that fabric! And I can’t even believe it’s the same chair! You really do have a wonderful eye for detail!

    • Hello Sharon! Thanks for the sweet note! The chair does look totally different but in a good way 🙂 And its super comfy too. Are you ready for more snow? I am so done with winter! But my kids are enjoying their endless snow days 🙂 Take care! — Pauline

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