In our shop, we often let a piece that needs work sit out in open sight. We walk past it several times a day, and reflect over it, until we decide not only which direction to take, but the best way to go about it. One particular set of chairs remained in the front of the shop long enough to be noticed by many passersby. We propped up one of our favorite fabrics next to it, and visualized how the set would look recovered in the nautical pattern.
Here are some photos of the chairs, before we began our process:
Finally, it was just a matter of repairing a broken leg, re-staining the frame (for a fresh look), and then, completing the reupholstering process.
Interestingly enough, the pair was sitting in the front of the store, with the nautical fabric behind them, when an interior designer with a keen eye walked in and took an interest in them. Unbeknownst to her, our navy and white sailboat fabric we had chosen for the set was an exact match to the wallpaper she had used on a client’s wainscoting.
It was a match made in heaven, but she saw something in these chairs that we didn’t. Having worked with the fabric in a much different manner than we had in the past, she envisioned them with a very clean, crisp, white frame, and asked us to make this happen.
We began by stripping off all of the fabric, allowing the entire frame to be exposed. Then, we went on to repair the broken leg and sand the entire frame to ensure a finish that was smooth, yet gritty enough to really grip the primer and paint - we guarantee our chairs for life, so chipped finishes are not an option.
The painting process took a few days, with multiple coats of primer followed by several coats of paint, allowing adequate curing time for each.
For those who are wondering, we remove enough of the fabric to expose the frame entirely; yet, we keep some on for our upholsterers to have a pattern, if they need it. The clamps above are to pull the fabric away from the painting surface.
With the "crisp and clean" aesthetic taken care of on the frame, it was time to do the same to the cushion area. Again, our chairs are guaranteed, so we replace everything down to the springs before recovering.
At the end, we could hardly believe the difference. Luckily, we had a few days before we could deliver them to their new home! So, we staged them, temporarily, in our gallery, as an example of the transformations that can happen with vintage furniture and a little hard work.