Giving a Chair New Life…Finally!

Chair Before and After at Creating This LifeDoes it seem like reupholsterers are less common today than they once were?

My mom had a good one, but he was outside of town and only came in every few months.

I guess not as many people reupholster furniture as they once did.

But for a while  – actually quite a while – I needed a good reupholsterer for this chair, which once sat in my husband’s grandmother’s dining room.

chair before

The chair made its way to us way back in 1988, and it’s been in this condition the whole time.

Can you believe I waited so long to do something?

For a lot of years the chair was in our master bedroom. In fact, my husband, Tom, carefully put his dress shirt over the back of this chair when I called him home because I was in labor with our daughter, 22 years ago this month.

He was convinced he would be going back to work, even though I was already eight days overdue. His dress shirt was still there when we brought her home from the hospital two days later. I guess we didn’t think that baby was ever going to come.

Back in those days we just didn’t have the extra money to reupholster the chair. But even when that was no longer true, I never seemed to get around to it.

Reupholstered chair

I was overwhelmed by choosing a fabric, figuring out how much I would need, and finding someone to do the work. It all seemed like such a process.

Living Room at CreatingThisLife.com

But a couple of years ago I noticed an ad being run by a reupholsterer in a home magazine that is sent to us every month or so. After a few months of seeing the ad, I sent off an email, not sure if I would even get a response. But Chuck (of Dela Studios if you’re in the KC area) emailed me back right away.

He asked for a picture of the chair and I emailed him the same picture that’s at the top of this post. He gave me a quote via email and told me that he and his wife had a roomful of fabric samples in their studio, which they ran out of their home. I was welcome to come and look through them if I liked.

Recovered chair at CreatingThisLife.com

So I did exactly that. I checked out a few of my favorite fabric books to try at home and eventually settled on a masculine, menswear-type fabric, since this is the chair that Tom often sits in to read the paper and drink coffee in the mornings.

In addition to recovering the chair, Chuck and his wife added new foam stuffing, tightened up the joints, and touched up the wood. Although I asked them not to touch the wood up too much because I wanted to keep most of the distressing, especially on the arms.

IMG_5577I love the job they did. Isn’t she pretty?

Living room fireplace at CreatingThisLife.com

Chairs are girls, aren’t they?

P.S. Reupholsterer is the most awkward word ever.

This post is part of Inspired Sunday, Seasonal SundaysMetamorphosis MondayFurniture Feature FridayTutorials, Tips & TidbitsRock n Share and Wow Us Wednesdays.

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  1. They did a wonderful job. I like the tacks that they added. I enjoyed the story behind the chair, too.

    1. Thank you, Jean. It’s hard to see but the tacks were on the chair before too. They do show up better now. Thanks for your nice comment.

  2. Thank you, ladies. 🙂

  3. Oh, I don’t blame you. Finding an upholsterer is hard, and expensive.
    You did a great job picking the fabric, it looks great!
    enjoy your empty nest.

  4. Julie,
    Hi! I’m a first time visitor from Susan’s MM!
    I, too, live on the Prairie of Kansas just outside the Wichita area.
    The transformation of this chair is amazing!!!
    I have two in my own home that are needing this kind of detailed attention!
    You may have just encouraged me to “get ‘er done”!!!
    Thanks for sharing the lovely photos of your living room with us!!!
    PaP.S. I think it’s the choosing of the fabric that concerns me the most, too!!!

  5. The chair is lovely and the reupholsters did a great job. Good photos!
    I have done several upholstery projects in past years and loved doing it. I just finished doing the seats of my old Thomasville dining chairs!

  6. Wow I love that chair. You chose a great fabric for it. I love your story about it and that you have the family connection to it. It’s really a great looking chair- what a great piece to inherit! You’re right reupholsterer is an awkward word!

  7. I have many chairs in this situation, sigh… Most are 1880s, stuffed with horsehair and old springs, and longing for me to send them to the upholster or learn to do it myself. I so related to your story about being young, not having enough money to hire an upholsterer, and then being overwhelmed by the choices. I feel much more competent in all those areas now. Thanks for a delightful post. And yes, most chairs are girls, except maybe big leather office chairs and recliners!!! 🙂

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