Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pink Chair-vs-Alta, Round One.

I don't get to do very many projects since I am approximately 9 weeks away from motherhood, but reupholstering the chair seems manageable.  One needn't employ a ladder, after all, or really pick anything up.  I won't be doing the whole living room set, mind you.  I cannot think that big right now! just the chair.

So here we are:
I made this date a long time ago.  I had even thought about fabrics before.  I've had my eyes on this chair for years now, actually.  It is my great-grandmothers, and I inherited it vis-a-vis my mom, from my Great Aunt Evelyn who I believe had it reupholstered in pink long before our pink house was even a twinkle in our eye.  But enough is enough.  It can remain pink no longer--especially in light of surprise wallpaper

Surprise wallpaper also means none of the fabrics pictured above.  Basically, it means that I have no idea what fabric I'll use.  none whatsover.  I would like for this to be a pretty glamorous looking room in the end, so I'm thinking something simple and rich-- we have enough going on in the wallpaper, right?  Gone are my bold graphic ideas, and in are my velvet ideas.  But we are NO WHERE NEAR READY to choose fabric.  Miles to go, my friends.  Miles to go.  

Having never really reupholstered anything before (except these which hardly count)  I decided that I need to take it apart.  Thoroughly and carefully, step-by-step, so that I can reconstruct it.  

Fabric, batting and burlap--from what I read, this is quite standard. BUT in between all of these layers was the DUST OF A MILLION YEARS. (sorry for all the shouting, but it really was a lot of dust)

Here's the view from the bottom.  I flipped the chair on it's front so that I could remove the fabric entirely. 

I managed to get all of the fabric off of the back of the chair today, and some of the front:
Busted, right?  It looks so awful!!!!!  I got overwhelmed once I got to this point and I revealed this, which discouraged me:
By this point I was sitting in a pile of nails and tacks, peril all around me, and I couldn't take it anymore.  What particularly bothers me about this is that whomever reupholstered it nailed and tacked into decorative portions of the mahoganny.  The Springs and the front bar (covered in burlap) are too bouncy, and I think the bar extends too far front (past the wood.) 

After sneezing and picking nails out of my slippers for a while, I brainstormed with Drake about how to fix this, and we're thinking that we'll remove the bottom springs (keep the back ones) and build a wooden base to insert into the chair base.  We'll then top it with (2) 6-inch layers of high-density foam-- The first will appear to be part of the chair structure, and the second will be made into a cushion. 

Or perhaps I will read a book about how to *actually* do this, instead of just un-doing it and starting over.  

I will also acquire a pneumatic staple/nail gun (!) because I saw how many nails and staples went into this thing, and have decided that power tools are definitely the way to go.  

Up Next: 
  • Finish the deconstruction (I still have SOOO many nails to remove, and must do it carefully so that I don't damage the wood any further. ) 
  • Clean the chair-- dust out all of the crevices, find all the nickles
  • Putty and refinish the wood. 
  • Read a book.  Can't hurt. 
I want to do this all correctly!  I want these pieces to be glorious and beautiful heirlooms. So I will keep you updated until such a time that I decide I'm in over my head and turn them over to a professional (NEVER!)


  1. did i ever tell you about the time my whole family reupolstered our living room furniture? crazy time. i agree, get the power tools. if you have questions about them, mike is a great person to ask!

  2. I can't believe I found someone who has the same exact chairs that I have and going thru the same reupholstery problems that I am experiencing. My one chair has had a slipcover and I was going to just make a new slipcover. As I was measuring I found that the springs on the bottom were coming thru the bottom. I took pictures of the bottom before I completely removed the strapping and burlap covering. I just couldn't figure what the two metal bars were supposed to be tied to. Trying to search out instructions is how I cam across your photos. My chair had never been reupholstered before and those bars were not above the strapping as they are in your photo. I could send you photos of my chair if you would like. Will be checking to see how you make out.