Archives for posts with tag: antiques

Week 10 023I reupholstered these two chairs plus a third similar chair, just before Christmas.  Really pleased with the way they turned out in this William Morris ‘Thistle’ fabric, in black and linen.




I’ve been so busy over the last six months that I haven’t had time to post any of my work on my blog.  I’ve finally got a spare moment to show you my latest project.  This buttoned back chair had been in the client’s family for a long time and needed some TLC as the sprung seat was falling out the base.



I re-webbed the seat, re-sprung it and re-stuffed it.  With new fabric and trim, and shallow buttoning (like it was before) I was really pleased with the end result – it definitely now has a lease of new life !

Finished chaise

Finished chaise

This beautiful chaise had belonged to it’s owners grandmother and had great sentimental value.      When  I stripped it we found it was riddled with wordworm, which was live.  It had got to the stage where it was causing the wood to disintegrate and therefore one of legs had come off.Woodworm can be treated with a special spray, and indeed must be treated, otherwise it will continue and can spread to other pieces of furniture.

I re-webbed the base of the chaise and covered it.  Made a large piped box cushion to go on top, and a bolster cushion.  The end was re-webbed and padded and then covered and trimmed with braid.

It has now been transformed with this smart checked fabric and hopefully been saved from further deterioration.



This tub chair that somebody brought to me, looked like it had seen better days but was still very comfortable to sit in.

When stripped back I discovered that the wooden frame was surrounded by a metal frame in an octagonal shape.  This made it a little tricky to upholster as there wasn’t a lot of wood to bang tacks into.

All the stuffing around the back and the base of the chair needed replacing, but the seat and the inside back were fine.

My client had chosen a really bold red faabric with a large flower design.  This really did give the chair an amazing facelift.

I covered the seat first and then the inside of the back.  The fabric was folded into pleats to give the back it’s shape. The back ot the chair back went on next and then piping was attached to the bottom panel which was wrapped around the whole of the base of the chair.

Wow !  What a transformation !

                I have have recently finished working on the above tranformation.  It’s another great example of what can be done with a tatty old chair that was destined for the dump. Stripping this chair back to it’s frame was not the pleasantest of jobs.  The stuffing was dusty and reminded me of chopped up straw, I was half expecting to find some small animal hibernating inside ! Everything was discarded apart from the tension springs in the base.  The chair was restuffed with fibre, and a new foam cushion was purchased for the seat. One word of warning when rescueing such chairs – make sure the frame is sound.  It can be a little hard to tell, and I must admit I hadn’t tried sitting in this chair in it’s orginal state.  When I started to bang tacks home in one of the sides, the wood in the side frame couldn’t take it and completely split in two.  I had to undo alot of my work  and take it to be repaired – very annoying ! Anyway, once put back together and the upholstery completed, I was very satified with the end result.   The large pattern on the fabric (Fitzroy in Amethyst from Laura Ashley) meant that each piece of fabric had to be very carefully centred, but it works very well, and now has pride of place in my bedroom.

Not only do I love recycling old and unloved chairs and pieces of furniture, but also reusing old fabrics to transform them.

This week I have been reupholstering a dear little chair for someone.  I guess from it’s size that it would have been a childs chair.   You can see from the picture that it had seen better days and that the seat was sagging as the webbing had gone.

I therefore needed to strip the chair right back to it’s frame, and began by replacing the webbing.  The chair had been stuffed with horse hair, so this was saved (never throw it away !) and washed with lots of fabric softener, which restored it’s springiness. Once restuffed with the original hair (plus a bit extra) I created a wall of stitches and a rolled edge to make the seat  firm.  After a second stuffing of horsehair, the seat was covered with a layer of soft white felt and then calico.

The person I was reupholstering this chair for, had spent a long time deliberating over top fabric, but finally settled on using  a lovely velvety red fabric from another old armchair she had.  This is a great idea, and obviously very economical.

We decided to trim the chair with studs.  These can be bought in a range of colours from brass, bronze, nickle, antique, old gold speckled  and can either be bought in continuous strips, or individually.

The little chair retains it’s traditional look, but is looking much smarter now and is much more comfortable to sit !  It is looking forward to returning to it’s home, to be much admired and loved I’m sure.

Back to the subject of recycling fabric….. I recently worked on a project for another friend, who had a great idea for cheaply recovering her nursing chair – she bought a lovely bright and patterened pair of curtains from a local charity shop for next to nothing, and I recovered the removeable cushions of the nursing chair and foot stool.   The once plain cream chair that had over the years suffered from numerous spillages,  now is bright and cheerful and much more practical in terms of colour.

So have a look at fabric you could re-use, the possibilities are endless.  Someone I was talking to recently was after a contrasting green colour to cover some buttons to go on a chair.  She eyed up the coat I was wearing and said “that’s the colour I’m after”.  Hang on I thought, there is no way I’m cutting up my favourite coat for your buttons !  It obviously gave her an idea though, and she came back with an old cardi of hers to recover the buttons with.  Another great idea !

Have you been passed down any much loved pieces of family furniture ?  Has it been stored away or covered with a throw because it has seen better days ? 

It can be a bit of a dilema – you don’t want to get rid of such an item, but it’s not very useful and is taking up space, what do you do?  Well …….

…… I have taken on a couple of such projects for friends, which were family pieces of furniture handed down from grandparents.  It’s lovely to be able to re-upholster such itmas and give them a new lease of life.

One friend  of mine brought me her grandmother’s ottoman / day bed.  The lid opens up to provide a great storage compartment, but it had been covered in a throw, due to it’s deteriorating state. 

I stripped it completely back to it’s frame, and re-webbed and re-padded the lid.  I re-padded the round arm aswell.  Then I padded all of the sides and insides with a layer of polyester wadding to make it softer. 

My friend chose a lovely velvety fabric in red and brown stripes, to cover it in, and I found some red lining to line the insides.  Stripes always seem to work well on such a piece, and what I loved most was the little circular drawer that comes out of the round arm.  This was finished off with a red tassle and some brass studs.

This ottoman / daybed will hopefully now be a really useful piece of family furniture that no longer needs to be hidden under a throw !

Another friend asked if I could re-upholster a stool / sewing box that had also been passed down from her grandmother.  This stool had  beautifully carved legs and other details, but was really in need of some restoration.

As I stripped the green top fabric, there was an awful moment where I realised that the fabric was what had actually been holding the lid together.  Unfortunately my skills don’t yet extend to large scale furniture restoration, however with some careful filling of holes and cracks, once the new top fabric was on, the lid seemed to be held together, and hopefully will stay that way until the woodwork can be profesionally restored.

The stool / sewing box now looks really smart, again in a striped top fabric, and finished with trim in a cream braid.  Underneath the top fabric we have also saved a small sample of the original fabric and trim.