A Lovely Seat for Two – Part 1

by Anna on January 21, 2012


What does a birthday mean to you? Fancy gifts or yummy cocktails maybe? Well, for me it was discovering a re-make-it project on the side of the road. Now I know you’re probably thinking this sounds like a pretty pants party,  but stick with me.

In the Taxi on the way home from my Birthday Party, Chris and I spotted a rather beautiful (yet  unloved) Victorian Inspired Chair that had been unceremoniously dumped on the side of the road. After scaring the Taxi Driver with our sudden screams of ‘Stop the Cab’! we decided to carry the chair in the rain back to our house. A sore back and tired limbs were worth it when we got the chair home as I knew instantly that this would be a great project to undertake and try to re-furbish.

Here is my story on how I slowly bought this chair back to its former glory.

In broad daylight I began to realise just how unloved it actually was. With many of the upholstery buttons missing and a broken arm, the chair started to look like it was going to be quite a challenging project.

Firstly I removed the trim fabric from the back of the chair along with the staples that were holding the upholstery fabric in place. After removing the fabric on the back I found two boards of plywood backing that had to be taken off so that I could access the upholstery buttons. I removed the wood, then cut the string that held all of the buttons in place. This then allowed me to completely strip the back of the chair. Moving onto the arms proved a lot more complicated than planned as all the upholstery staples were stapled in funny angles and I had to pull out many staples before I could start to strip the fabric. I found many little treats in the arm fabric…pennies, a pencil, a lottery ticket from 2005. Sadly it wasn’t a winner.

In a stroke of genius, not common to me, I decided to keep and write on the reverse of every removed piece of fabric from the chair. That way I could use them as templates for when I pattern cut my fabric. This certainly helped considering how complicated the fabric was to remove from the frame. Both the seat and the inside arm fabrics were tucked into the chair and pulled through and stapled to the interior frame.

After all of the fabric had been stripped from the chair itself I moved onto sanding and painting the wood. I chose to paint the wood in a Pale Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. The chalky effect was so brilliant on the the Rustic Table project I had to use it again. Plus it helps make it a little more current, but still retain the heritage that makes the chair so lovely. If  you don’t like sanding, you can paint Annie Sloan Paint straight over varnish and it will still hold. Genius!


I found some gorgeous ticking fabric from a street market in Brighton, which I then took to C&H Fabrics to get the upholstery buttons made. Vintage Brighton are a good resource for all the local Brighton markets. Now I’ve got all the prep work done, next up is to concentrate on pattern cutting my fabric into the right pieces ready to sew together.

To find out how I got on see part 2…putting it all back together!


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