You guys…I am in love with this chair and ottoman. Seriously. But before I show you the finished product, let me first tell you about its meager beginnings with me.
When Ginger text me a picture of this chair, it definitely looked like it needed some love…in form of a completely rebuilt seat. When she dropped it off, she told me she had picked it up at a garage sale; the man she bought it from had tried to upholster it himself, but he suspected it was at least 60 years old (and he hadn’t bothered with the seat at all). This is the beginning of a verrry interesting story the chair began to tell me as I stripped back the original upholstery…
Let’s start here: the before. A collapsed seat and a chair entirely upholstered with tacks (i.e. abnormal). And the dust cover on the ottoman was hangin’ a mess. Not sure how or why, but it was. And, this may be something that only I pay attention to, but when you’re working with a pattern, you want it to be centered and/or at least line up with other parts of the furniture. I think, if all of these stripes lined up, the end result would have been much more impressive and aesthetically pleasing.
As I started to work the fabric off of the ottoman, I quickly realized that the previous owner had simply upholstered OVER the “original” upholstery. And then…THEN, I noticed what it was stuffed and padded with.
Let’s zoom in here, shall we? Hay. That’s hay in there. The stuff that horses eat. I’ve found some interesting things in furniture (lost sewing needles, anyone?), but never hay. That’s the stuff I only read about. “Congratulations,” I told myself, “you’re a REAL upholsterer now…”
I quickly texted Ginger about my discovery (after thanking the Lord that I don’t suffer from allergies!) and made sure she was OK with me stripping it all clean and starting fresh. She was. So, I pressed on to the hundreds of tiny little gold staples (is that what they used in the 70s?).
As I started pulling off the green, I noticed strands from other fabrics that must have graced the furniture previously–in blue and red. So, by my estimations, this was at least the fifth time this furniture (or at least the ottoman) has been reupholstered!
Did I mention I was grateful I don’t suffer from allergies? My husband would be a goner if he got anywhere near MOST of the furniture I upholster.
Once I had the ottoman stripped clean, I moved on to the chair. Yep, also stuffed with hay. Also: fun fact…you don’t use the jute webbing with black stripes for seats as it’s not strong enough to take the abuse in the long run. Always use jute webbing with the red stripes for seats. Save the black for arms (like inside of a wingback) or seat backs. Exhibit A: black striped jute…collapsed seat.
At the end of day one, I had completely clean frames (halelujah!), ready for rebuilding. If you’re doing this yourself, here’s another great place to stop and look over the frame itself. Watch out for weak/loose joints, cracks in the frame, rotting wood, etc. Any one of those things and you’ll need to spend some time with the frame itself. Or, you may decide it’s not worth it. Either way, know that this is your foundation; if it’s not strong, it won’t matter how well you upholster it.
Fortunately for me, Ginger and this chair, this frame was in perfect condition. Unbelievable condition for being 60 years old. The most it had going against it was the hundreds of staple holes from being upholstered so many times.
Day two: rebuilding the seat! First, the jute webbing (remember: red for seats!).
Then, the foam…
Then, the cotton…
Then, the actual upholstery.
And FINALLY…the finished product! You can see why I’m in love here, right?! Ginger is a photographer here in Wichita and there’s already been talk of using the ottoman in a newborn shoot. Killer. A piece of me goes with every upholstery job, but this one is really special, and I think it’s the ottoman that puts it over the top for me.
I know…incredible, right? I asked Ginger if I could keep it and she said only if I stayed in Wichita…temping, friend.
Ginger was given my name and number by a mutual friend who heard she needed someone to upholster a bench back in Deeember. So, this is actually the second upholstery job I’ve done for Ginger! Be on the lookout for the blog post about her bench–she found it in a dumpster and it was missing a leg, so she ordered a replacement leg (ha!) and is waiting for it to arrive, and then will snap some “after” pictures for us! (Mine are just of a legless bench sitting on the ground, haha!) Ginger is SO sweet and we were fast friends AND she’s so talented. If you’re looking for a photographer in the Wichita area, Ginger would be so great to work with!