The Lonely Old Chair

June 11, 2012

I love the idea of sharing my home with others. Being able to invest in others and make them comfortable so that I can build relationships with them and share my life openly and honestly. So hospitality is something that rings true for me. Of course, I love cooking and baking and that side of "entertaining" but I feel that how and where you do this is just as important too. Recently I had 8 people over for dinner, some of whom I had known for years, others who are new friends. I loved the conversations and the quality time, I loved coming away with so much more than some dirty dishes (which the dishwasher can look after anyway!). It was great to see relationships being formed, faith shared and common interests revealed. I had fun!

Mix this love of hospitality with my creative side, and the fact I really don't want to spend huge amounts of dollars on things for my house, comes the concepts of "reclaiming", "reusing" and "upcycling". It has been great to share this journey with many friends who have similar eyes for detail and want to invest their creativity into their homes.

So that takes me to where I am heading today... chairs!!

The lonely old chair, sitting on the sidewalk awaiting a slow, lonely, painful death having been rejected by it's previous owner, no longer being able to live up to it's original glory. Or maybe it is the chair located in the local vinnies, awaiting a better life? Sometimes you really do wonder when or where the fabric choice was ever fashionable.
Do these look familiar?

Vintage Stool
Old Brown Stripey
Country kitchen??

 If they have a good solid frame, and you give them some TLC -these chairs can have a brand new life.

Step 1: Find a chair! Yes, that may in fact involve stopping the car, getting out and picking it up off the side of the road. When I was trying to load the old stripey chair above into my car, a lady walking past offered me the couch she had inside her apartment up the street as well! (I declined!)Vinnies, old wares stores or garage sales are also places to find some old treasures.

Step 2: Pull apart all of the cushions. A good set of pliars, a hammer and a stanley knife will all be of use. Try and keep the cushion below intact. This at times will involve a lot of pulling and shoving to get the fabric off and to make something of the old staples and nails the last person used.

Step 3: Assess the quality of the wood. Does it need sanding back? Does it need some glue? Painting or staining? Thanks Tim and Amanda for giving me my very first power tool for Christmas... the sander is getting a good workout!
Sanded back and then painted

Step 4: Set the old covers aside. These will be useful for sizing up new fabric. Assess the state of the foam or wadding. If it consists of old gross innards, chuck them away and replace with a piece of foam you have cut to size. Take a new piece of wadding that would reach all the way over and underneath the cushion. Spread it tight and wrap it like a present or hospital corners on a bed. Staple in the sides to the bottom of the base.

Step 5: Pick your fabric... Bold and bright... bags??? The choice is yours.

Step 6: Measure your fabric. You want the fabric to be able to reach all the way around and with room at the bottom. Use a piece of calico as a template to get the sizing right. This calico can be stapled in place over the foam for extra structure. Cut your fabric to size.

Step 7: Get the staple gun aready! Start stapling the edge of fabric that is out of sight. Use lots of tension and staple other bits in. Really you need to go with the flow... Hospital corners, wrapping presents and folding are helpful thoughts to help with the process. Edges can be neatened up with ribbon and/or upholstory tacks. Warning this part can be addictive once the chair is really taking shape. Late one night I was well and truly into finishing my dining room table chairs with the staple gun when I realised it was after 11pm and maybe I wasn't being the best neighbour to those in neighbouring apartments.
Hospital corners!!

Step 8: Tops of chairs might need to have their edges sewn together inside out- like making a pillow case and then fitted over the top of the cushion.

Sides of the top of the chair were stiched. Tacks used on the front of this chair to hold the fabric in place.

Step 9: Enjoy your new chairs! Have friends and family, acquaitances and coworkers over to share some good food, a little wine, and relax with good conversations, on the chair(s) formerly known as The Lonely Old Chair....
May your home be a blessing to others! And for me... what to cook for the next dinner....hmmm???

You Might Also Like



A photo posted by Kate Eastman (@makeitbakeitfakeit) on