Monday, July 18, 2011

a new chair

Way back when we first got to Denver, we picked up our table and two miscellaneous chairs from the Craigslist free section. One of those chairs was this one:

Since that day long ago, I have been slowly plotting and pulling together the necessary items to give it a new life. I didn't mind the color the wood was painted, but it was pretty beat up and really needed a fresh coat. And the fabric, well, that's just hideous.

Step 1 was to remove all the fabric and layers of crazy batting and cushion. My original plan was to re-use the cushion but upon seeing it, I decided some less-than-20-year-old foam might be a better choice. Also, the seat part of the chair didn't have a hard base, but instead was supported by these crazy springs that stretched from the front to the back. Shawn helped me get those off (miraculously without losing an eye) and I started brainstorming on what to use to restructure it.

Step 2 was sanding. Sanding sanding sanding. Until it looked like this:

Sometime between steps 1 and 2, we ended up at an estate sale where the man had been a furniture upholsterer. What luck! And it was half-off day so I ended up getting some fabric for $2.50. Not my absolute favorite #1 choice ever for fabric, but considering this is my first attempt, I figured it would do.

Eventually, I ended up buying some high density foam from the craft store along with some extra stuffing to fill in any gaps. Probably the most expensive part of this whole project. I decided to just do a piece of plywood across the seat to serve as the base and kept my eyes peeled in the alleys and dumpsters for a while. After weeks of no luck, I thought perhaps I should just see how much a piece might cost from Lowe's. Even their smallest piece was more than I wanted to spend, but luckily I spotted the scraps next to the giant lumber cutting machine. I pulled out a piece of thick MDF that was close enough to the size I needed and asked a friendly Lowe's guy how much they would sell it for. "You can just have it," he replied. Music to my thrifty ears :)

So the only missing piece to the chair puzzle was the paint. I was wanting a glossy mahogany but didn't have any luck finding it in a quart size or even in spray paint. On a trip to Lowe's, Shawn found a quart of "oops" paint that, priced at $2.50, was surely close enough.

Then the long, often procrastinated, process of putting all the pieces together ensued. I had kept the old pieces of fabric to use as a pattern and discovered that the bolt I had bought had literally just enough cloth to replicate the pieces. Phew! The seat was cut to size thanks to the borrowed saw from the resident construction workers (turns out they are good for something...) And a couple of coats on the wood frame  had the chair looking fresher already. The paint color did turn out a bit more orange-y than I had originally wanted, but I'm considering adding a tinted glaze on top to give it a bit more gloss. One day. I also painted the blue table legs in the same color to pull them together somewhat. An estate sale staple gun came in handy for the actual upholstering, and I'm happy to say I think it came out rather well!

I must admit that the back is not fully finished, as I'm debating if I want to do visible nailheads or use the tiny ones that disappear for the last panel. Perhaps something will pop up and inspire me!

Here's one more before and after:


No comments:

Post a Comment