In case you hadn’t noticed, I have a slight obsession with chairs. I don’t know why, but I love them. Especially unloved, old chairs. I always see potential in an old chair that needs a makeover. And seen as how there isn’t a huge amount to report on the house, I turned my attention to this chair.
Our current house is slowly starting to resemble a shelter for abandoned chairs… Ask my partner, he’ll confirm this. Don’t even mention the Shed… That’s a whole other blog post.
Recently though, I have started to sell or give away any of my up-cycled chairs. And while I would love to keep each and every one of them, we just don’t have the room.
I found this chair in a skip. I immediately loved the shape of it. The arms and legs looked really retro and it was really sturdy and well made. It had plenty more years left and it seemed a shame to throw away. So I rescued it. And it got a full makeover. I think the end result is pretty good, even if I do say so myself.
The chair was in pretty bad condition and was missing the cushion for the seat. It was very sturdy though, and really well made. The arms and legs were covered in a horrible lacquer and was badly scratched, so this really had to be the first thing to go. I actually liked the fabric but seen as how the seat cushion was missing, this had to go also.
I started by removing the fabric and used a paint stripper I bought from my local Woodies Store to remove the lacquer and varnish from the arms and legs of the chair. It is important to do this in a ventilated area, as the fumes are quiet strong. I worked outside on a Saturday when the weather was dry. Follow the instructions on the bottle and leave the paint stripper on for the allocated about of time. I gave this chair two coats and then used a blunt plastic scraper to remove the varnish. Don’t use anything sharp as it will only scratch the wood. You should see the mixture begin to crack and this is how you know it is working.
I wiped down the chair arms and legs with wire wool. You can get this in any hardware store. Pot scrubbers are also another great thing to use and are very inexpensive and can be bought from Lidl or Aldi for a few cents! I then washed down the chair with warm water and left it to dry. Next I moved onto the upholstery. I used the old material as my template but was careful not to cut it exactly the same size. Remember to leave excess on your cut, as you may require a little more fabric. You can always remove more fabric, but it is impossible to add any on once the cuts are made!!!
I used an upholsters needle (it is a long needle with a small eye at one end) and threaded through my buttons and arranged the fabric. The holes were already there so I was able to direct the needle in easily. Then secure your fabric at the sides and the back. You can loosely staple the fabric while you position the buttons, but once they are secure, tighten up the fabric at the back. It is wise to use something like fishing line here or a really strong string. Cotton string will not take the tension and will eventually snap and break.
Then I turned my attention to the arms and legs. I liked the colour of the wood so I just gave them several coats of Danish Oil, waiting for about 2 hours in between each coat to dry. This gives a nice finish to the wood, without it being very shiny! The grain in the wood was just gorgeous, I have no idea why anyone would have covered it up!
I then measured out the seat and used my machine to sew a new cover for the seat. This was very straightforward to do, as there were no complicated angles or cuts (thank god, as I am only a novice on the machine!!!) I got a piece of foam cut at the Fabric shop where I bought the material. The supports underneath were sagging a bit so I adjusted these and and this made the support stronger. The colour may not be everyone’s choice, but it had a gorgeous texture to it, it felt almost like a tweed (but a 1/3 of the price).
And that is the finished retro chair. Not bad for something that was going to be chucked away! I love the little brass detail on the legs too. It is a lovely neat size , so doesn’t take up much room at all…. But regardless of that, I couldn’t keep it so it went to a lovely new home. Anymore chairs in our front room and it would start to look like the waiting room in a Doctors Surgery…. Or a Nursing home!
Thanks for stopping by and reading! Hope you enjoyed it.