A Tale of Two Chairs

Chairs After - Copy

If any of you happened to read the “About Me” section of my blog (and who wouldn’t want to read that?), you may have noticed the mention of my father’s mother.  She was a cooking, cleaning, gardening, sewing, hardware store owning, garage sale frequenting, furniture repurposing superwoman.  And she still managed to have plenty of time to be a doting wife, mother and grandmother.  Grandma was amazing.

On Christmas Day in 1995, Grandma gave me two antique accent chairs she lovingly restored after purchasing them at a garage sale .  When she found the chairs, they were covered in chipped black paint and the seats were covered in worn gold velvet (cue the disco music).  My grandmother painstakingly stripped all that nasty black paint off every crevice, sanded and restained the wood and added new fabric and nailhead trim to the seats.  She must have spent hours and hours on those chairs…all just for me.   Earlier this week, I was excited to find some photos she took of the transformation…

Chairs Before Grandma - CopyGrandma Chairs After - Copy

Huge difference!  I was incredibly grateful for those chairs and they proceeded to follow me through my 20’s, 30’s, marriage, 2 dogs, 2 kids and at least 11 moves (yes, 11).  I guess 11 moves was one too many because one of the chairs broke.  I had the broken chair fixed, but for the past two years the chairs looked like this…

Chairs Before Recovering - Copy

And why did they look like that for so long?  Well, apparently I was a little stubborn over-confident in my capabilities.  When I initially had the broken chair fixed, I asked that the chair not be reupholstered because I was confident I could do it myself .  I remember the strange look the furniture restoration employees gave me when they handed over the bag filled with what was left of my chair.   I thought nothing of it until a few months later when I decided I would do my grandmother proud by reupholstering my chairs myself.  Um, not so much.  I eventually opened up my bag of chair guts and found this…

Chair Guts - Copy

Gross.  Yes folks, you are looking at a combination of 100 year old horse hair, straw, cotton, burlap, rusty wire and metal springs (and a few 100 year old dust mites to boot).  Sooooo, I was just a tad in over my head (sorry Grandma!).  And what did I do about it?  Nothing.  I just hid the chairs away.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I realized it was now or never for those chairs.  I had to do something with them.  My practical Grandmother would not be happy with me for letting two perfectly good chairs go to waste.  Plus, she worked so hard on them!  So, I took the chairs back to a furniture restoration place where they were yet again returned to their former glory (minus the 100 year old dust mites).  So, here they are in their new homes …fresh and clean and with new upholstery…

Chair in Landing - Copy Chair in Bedroom - Copy

The chair on the left now lives in my landing and sits near my freshly painted armoire (you can read about that project here).  The chair on the right now lives next to my bed (ignore the paint chip you spy on tucked in one of the frames – yes, that paint chip makes my husband very nervous).  Also, if anyone is curious, the fabric is Waverly’s Chippendale Fretwork in Mineral.  It’s an outdoor fabric that is made to withstand sun,  mold, mildew and sippy cups.

Chair with Sippy - Copy

Grandma would appreciate the durability of this fabric immensely.  Oh, and just so I can say I didn’t completely cheat by having someone else do the reupholstering, I did freshen up the wood by giving it a much needed “drink” of Feed-N-Wax.  It’s an excellent product that protects and brings out the natural beauty of wood.  All you have to do is apply it with a clean cloth, leave it on for twenty minutes, then buff it with another clean cloth.  Super easy…and fast (Note: This is my own opinion.  I am definitely not getting paid for any endorsements).

Anyway, Grandma, thank you for your inspiration and for giving me my beloved chairs.  They make me smile and I think of you each time I see them.   I hope they will continue to have tales to tell as I one day pass them on to my girls. I love and miss you to pieces!

001 - Copy

My grandmother and me circa 1998

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One thought on “A Tale of Two Chairs

  1. Pingback: No Sew Faux: DIY Top-Down/Bottom-Up Shade | A Nester's Nest

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