Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Loving My Favorite Chair -- A Makeover Story

There once lived a girl who was oblivious to the world of thrift stores.  She had grown up with mostly hand-me-downs (there's no real choice what you get there), with some new stuff bought at the big-box stores, or sometimes "name brand" stores, but the concept of "one man's trash is another man's treasure" held no value to her.

Until one day, after she and her mom had moved to their new home in a new town, did she venture into a shop boasting thrifty finds.

And her life would never be the same.

Well, I might as well admit.  That girl was me.  hehe  
And it is a true story.  I would know.  (:

I honestly don't remember how I happened upon that little shop.  For years, it was across the street from another shop my mom and I would frequent, so I probably subconsciously remembered it was there.  When my mom and I moved to our new place, we were trying to outfit it very cheaply, and I was hoping to get some new goodies for my very own bedroom.  A first for me.

And if I remember correctly, I drug my brother along with me to this little shop.  I didn't really go in with a purpose or looking for a specific piece, but when I spotted this chair -- and sat in it -- and saw the $15 dollar price tag -- I knew I had to have it.  

Isn't it hideous and awesome at the same time?!  (I wish I had a true true before pic but that was way before the idea of a blog ever entered my mind.)
I left the store with that chair, bought at a discounted price of 12 whole dollars (woo hoo!) and was very grateful my brother had a truck.

That was 2002.

And this chair has been with me ever since, through thick and thin.

My first bedroom of my own.  My first college apartment.  My hubby's first apartment for a bit.  Our first home.  Our current home.  And probably others in between.  I've moved a lot in the past 12 years.

I knew when I bought it I would need to reupholster it or make a slipcover for it because the fabric was horrible.  The color was faded in places and I just don't do damask.  When I got to a point where I thought I would have it reupholstered, I worried that it would compromise the current state of the springs and batting, and I could not have that.  If you sat in this chair, you would agree.  It's one of those you just sink into and it envelopes you and holds you and you could sit there forever sleeping and reading and watching the day pass.  Yes.  Really.  I love this chair!  And I hated to think reupholstering it would possibly make it less comfortable.

So then I thought about slipcovering it.  I had a new sewing machine and had successfully created a few things with it, so I thought it wouldn't be too terrible.  It was just basically rectangles.  Ha.

But I guess I don't have the patience for such things.  I guess.  After a few attempts at DIY slipcovers I decided it wasn't going to happen.  At least me making one.  I searched the web for premade covers, but couldn't find one I thought matched the shape close enough.  I ended up just draping fabric over it as a sort of "throw cover."  Not cool.

This was in our first home, many, many moons ago.

Is my story getting too long?
Because there's more.  :/

Years and moves later, the chair found itself in our current home.  For the longest time, it lived in our bedroom, and was the perfect dumping spot.  Rarely did we sit in it.  I tried to make a reading nook and used it a bit, but we just don't hang out in our bedroom much.  It really is just the room where we sleep and get dressed in.

Our poor fat kitty enjoyed the chair more than we did in our bedroom.

So the junk gatherer, i.e. my favorite chair, needed a new home in our home where it would be appreciated.  Which ended up being our living room.

Not long after I published this post about our fall living room, I rearranged it.  I do that.

And there it lived.  In all its faded chartreuse damask loveliness.

Some time back, I decided to go more modern in our house -- at least the main living part (remember my new coffee table?).  Things started getting cleaner, colors bolder, and less stuff everywhere.  If you follow me on Instagram you've seen some of this transformation.  And my poor chair was looking more and more out of place. The clean lines were there in the shape of the chair, but the color wasn't working and really, it needed some love, especially on the arms, which as you can see, had begun to rip at the edges.

Then, the heavens opened up and the angels sang and a blog post appeared one day on my computer that was the answer to my chair's prayers:  dye it!  

Say what?!  You can dye upholstery?  With, like, fabric dye for clothes?


And that's what I did.

When I saw that post, and how awesome her chair looked after going dark, I knew mine would look awesome, too.  And a dark damask in contrast with my mostly pattern-free living room would be a winner.  Somehow, the damask got to me.  I blame the hubby.  He's a damask kind of guy.

I decided on navy -- which seems to be taking over my house -- and pretty much just followed her directions, except I did make my solution a bit stronger by adding more dye per mixture since the fabric was so old and I wasn't sure how it would take the dye, and I wanted to make sure I got a deep, rich navy.  

I had also removed the skirt (which you can see in the fat cat pic above) around the base of the chair one evening - prior to dyeing - in a fit of  "I-need-more-modern-in-my-house" rage.  But I really had just torn the fabric off, so I had to remove the remains of the skirt before I dyed the chair.

My chair took about 4 coats to get it the dark navy I wanted.

via Instagram

The difference in just dyeing the chair was incredible.  

via Instagram

The tricky part would be the arms because finding a fabric to go with it wasn't going to be easy.  

I thought.

But those design angels came to my rescue again.  I found this crazy good fabric in a stash I had from my grannie.  It's so odd -- in that it is so unlike anything in my house -- but yet it was so right with my chair.  (And I have NO clue what it is because it was just scrap pieces. Sorry!)

I just stapled the fabric to the arm underneath, then tacked it to the back with furniture tacks.

My goodness!  Isn't she a stunner now?!

She's like a brand new chair!  Gorgeous on the outside, but deep down, she's still my "fall into me" old faithful.  I feel like its like that old reality show "The Swan."  Anybody watch that?  Not a very healthy show, actually.  But this chair's makeover was totally healthy.

I promise.  (:

So whadya think?  I think it was certainly worth the wait all these years to find the perfect inspiration to give my favorite chair new life!

Enjoy this post? Then don't miss out on the others! (:
Follow along:
Or Click HERE to have these posts delivered right to your inbox!


  1. Wow! Such a transformation! I'm so glad you were able to revive your favorite chair in such a fabulous way! Thanks for linking at On Display Thursday. :-)

  2. Great and Fearless Transformation!

  3. I kind of didn't mind the original color that much but WOW, the blue is gorgeous. I never knew you could dye furniture that way. My local Salvation Army always has a ton of old chairs like this. Now I'll see them in a whole new way!


So what did you think? I'd love to know!

Related Posts with Thumbnails