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The Evolution of Grandma’s Chair

Last week, we showed a snippet of Grandma’s chair. Yes, it had come back from the upholsterer, but there were a few finishing touches until she was studio bound. Said touches were made over the weekend, and because we’ve been losing it (in a good way) since she came home, let’s skip the before and jump right to the after:

Isn’t she beautiful? And now, we’ll go back. It’s a little hard to believe that a few short months ago (okay, last year – it’s taken us some time, after all), our office-turned-studio was navy, the chair was yellow and while we still loved our Flor tiles, they weren’t of the Sophistikat variety (and if you want to go way back, see how it looked when we first moved in!):

Since then, our walls have gone pink, desks and shelves have been made, and painting tables have been, well, painted. But when it came to Grandma’s chair, we were being picky. We didn’t know what we wanted. After inheriting the chair well over a year ago (a wedding gift to my Gram and Pap, then passed down to us), we left her in her current state. She was mustard (which we loved), she had brown, painted legs (didn’t love), and she had a few, um, issues in her seat.

She was well into her sixties, and she needed a new upholstery job and new springs – new everything. We were scared, and we asked for your thoughts – for us to do? Or for the pros to do?

After valid points on your end and a little number crunching on ours, we decided it would be better off with the experts; these DIY hands didn’t want to flub it up. So after gathering several quotes and reading (possibly too much) into the friendliness of emails received from shop after shop, we chose Covers Unlimited, and they were amazing (and in the end, they came in under their original estimate! Nope, they don’t know we’re writing about them, either).

(Note: For those wondering, the total for the entire job set us back $285 + fabric. In addition to the upholstery, the chair also received all new elastic webbing suspension in place of the springs and new foam for the seat and back. It was worth every penny.)

As for our fabric choice, we opted to save a few dollars by purchasing our own, and CU pointed us towards the Textile Discount Outlet in Pilsen, and gah!, our minds were blown. We lost ourselves in room after room of floor to ceiling fabrics, with multiple floors designated to upholstery grade choices alone. And while we loved the original mustard vinyl on Gram’s chair, we felt a change was in order.

In the end, we decided on 3 peachy yards for just fifteen dollars. Fifteen dollars for thick, canvas-y, orange-y, pinkish goodness. And just last week, she came home like this:

Before leaving our chair in the very capable hands of CU, we had discussed adding back the nail head at home – a DIY stamp of sorts – but after seeing the results, it didn’t even cross our minds. The white piping alone was just right.

Although she came home all awesome-like, there were still a few things to tend to. We had taken the time to strip off the leg’s brown paint – having done so before leaving it with the pros – but we hadn’t taken a moment to stain them. At a time when our home felt like complete chaos (this was around the same time of studio-shelf-mania), we wanted to get the chair in their queue and out of our very hectic space. (In hindsight, we realize it would have made more sense to finish the legs before the new fabric went in, but ah, well.)

First, we took turns spraying her down in Scotch Gard, an absolute must for any piece of furniture in our home – just two thin coats, an air dry and done.

Next, I flipped her upside down and poked each leg through saran wrap to protect the new upholstery job. I applied two coats of Minwax (in Jacobean, the same as our fauxdenza) with a clean cloth, wiping off any excess after ten minutes. (Really, I just followed the can’s instructions exactly.)

Once it was dry, I applied one coat of Minwax Polycrylic in a satin finish. Since this step was just an extra precaution, we decided against additional coats. (If this were a table top, however, we would have applied at least 2-3 coats.)

Finally, we pried off the old, metal sliders and went for floor friendly rubber dots.

Once everything had taken the time to (mostly) dry (hey, we were excited!), we put her in her new home, the studio. Depending on the light, her color can range anywhere from sherbet orange to a moody coral; she’s a fickle lady.

We dabbled in the idea of “dipping” her legs in Liquid Leaf – similar to our painting table, and probably no more than 2 inches in this case- but we decided to feel it out first. As a girl that would rather jump in with both feet, Scott reeled me in and suggested we can always add it later.

We have to say, with or without the gold gams, she looks awfully pretty. Granny chic, we think.

Of course, Libs couldn’t jump on my no-sew pillow fast enough, much to Scott’s dismay. (She thinks she owns this place, sheesh!) While the Scotch Gard protects against spills, there’s not much we can do to prevent claw punctures. Even still, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos before shoo-ing her off; this would likely be her last time enjoying grandma’s chair, and she deserves a thrill in her cozy, little kitty life.

As for the studio as a whole, we’re nearing in on that finish line; we swear. The list (first seen right here, that is, before it grew!) is thisclose to completion (how many times have I said that?), and aside from the window treatments, all that’s left is owning it. Oh, yea.

Prime the walls, trim and doors
Paint the walls, trim and doors
Install crown molding and chair rail (screw it, we’re hiring a professional)
Paint the painting table for the new room (yes, really)
Sell and/or donate the unnecessary furniture
Design, build and install a storage wall (similar to our media wall)
Decide on artwork for the room
Clean, paint and prep thrifty frames
Frame, mat and hang inspirational artwork (using this technique)
Decide on lighting
Decide on textiles: rug, curtains and upholstery for seating
Buy the decided upon things. Budget. Install them.
Re-stock painting, shipping and packaging supplies
Return to normalcy (we can only hope)
Finish putting away the things on the upper shelving already!
Reupholster grandma’s chair
Make a pillowcase for said chair (reupholster the chair I won’t, but a case I can do)
• Make window shades (since no one seems to make what we want for our bitty budget)
Pull it together like we own it.

PS: See where our studio ideas come from on our Pinterest board, right here.

PPS: Have you voted for us in the Apartment Therapy Small Cool contest? It would mean the world to us; really.

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  • Miranda @boucksy4.17.12 - 8:22 AM

    Ahhhh! Kim!!! Scott!!! This looks SO GREAT!! She turned out beautifully and I agree, the piping couldn’t have been done more fantastic … nailhead may have been a bit too competitive with the rug and space (seeing how low it sits to the ground compared to your beautiful painting table). I love it!ReplyCancel

  • The white piping totally makes the chair! So glad it turned out the way you imagined. Don’t you love it when that happens? :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ DMHB4.17.12 - 9:06 AM

    That colour is perfect! I think it looks phenomenal as is.ReplyCancel

  • Emily(NewYork,NY)4.17.12 - 10:24 AM

    Wow! What a beautiful chair! I looove the shape, color, texture – everything. And the space is gorgeous too! I am totally in love with all the colors there. Great job:)ReplyCancel

  • Evelisa4.17.12 - 11:33 AM

    Nice transformation. The room has really transformed.ReplyCancel

  • Kalli4.17.12 - 3:13 PM

    I want to call it “cantaloupe.” Looks fancy. Where do you get those rubber dots, and are they like peel & stick adhesive? I need some for underneath my kitchen table legs.

    I say don’t gold-dip those chair legs, unless you paint each entire leg gold. I think doing segments of the chair legs in gold would be one too many design details and wreck the simplicity of the chair, while also competing with the desk legs for attention. Plus the wooden legs are a nice color with the melon fabric.ReplyCancel

  • Trista4.17.12 - 4:07 PM
  • Trude4.17.12 - 4:23 PM

    Wow it turned out absolutely beautiful! My mom is an interior designer, and even though my parents have always been on a strict budget, she’s always gone to the pros for treasured heirloom pieces and never regretted it either. :) Love the color you chose too, I would never have thought of it! (Voted for you too!)ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.17.12 - 5:03 PM

      Thanks, everyone!

      Kalli, you can find the rubber stickies (a technical term, obviously) and a ton of other choices at any hardware store. Some you can nail into the bottom of the leg, whereas others are like a sticker.ReplyCancel

  • Emma4.18.12 - 11:59 AM

    Wow! She looks great! And you got a great deal on the upholstery job too. Esp. since they made structural repairs. That white piping is on point dude! :)ReplyCancel

  • Love it!!! I think the white piping accents the cool shape of the chair, too. Normally I love some nailhead detailing, but I think it would detract from the design.ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie4.18.12 - 2:29 PM

    I am in LURVE with that chair – with your whole studio really! It looks great!ReplyCancel

  • jill4.19.12 - 1:22 PM

    the leg stain looks so pretty w/ the coral fabric. what a sophisticated room. and i know your rug is the sophistikat but that was the best word i could think of to describe how everything has come together. bravo! hahaReplyCancel

  • CourtneyOutLoud5.29.12 - 2:22 PM

    i. love. the. chair.

    enuf. said.

    Seriously, it turned out really really well and I am always a fan of piping!ReplyCancel

  • Vintage Danielle8.29.12 - 12:27 PM

    You’re grey cat is adorable! I love the transformation of the chair.ReplyCancel

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