March 12, 2014 by twinoaksstudio
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! 😦
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!
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
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.
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!
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