More than a decade ago, when my Grandpa moved to a new house, our basement quickly became a storage facility for furniture pieces that he wasn’t bringing with him to his new place. My mom scoured through the furniture that my Grandpa lay to rest for something that we could use upstairs. It wasn’t long before my Grandma’s pink armchair was resurrected from the dark cellar. It is an American reproduction of a French fauteuil, upholstered in pink polyester. I knew that someday I wanted to do something great with it.
I always told my Mom, “when I move out, I’m taking this chair with me”. Years later, and a few months ago, my high school sweetheart and I bought an apartment in the city, moved in, and got married in a matter of a few weeks. (Not to mention passing a full semester of grad school courses, loosing a passport, and replacing it in time to go on our honeymoon less than 48 hours before the flight). We brought three things with us to our new home: clothes, a desk, and Grandma’s chair. Oh yea, and a twin size air mattress with a leak... not at all my idea of a romantic first night in the place!
Once the walls were painted a color other than the orange the previous owners left us with, I was able to focus some attention on the chair. I had high hopes for the thing.... something funky, tasteful and classy. After visiting most of the fabric stores in the city, a designer referred me somewhere a few towns away. I remember going to fabric stores with my mom when I was little. I sat in the corner of the small store flipping through pattern books while my mom found plaids and rick rack for her next holiday jumper. I’ve recently experienced that it is so much more fun when you have your own money and ideas. I managed to make it back to the car with great textiles and without a parking ticket.
By the time I ripped away the first layer of pink poly, the thought crossed my mind that I may have gotten myself into more than I could handle. I hadn’t read a single thing about reupholstering furniture, and save for a few brainstorming conversations with my husband and friends, was flying by the seat of my pants. I wish I had counted all the staples I pulled out... there were quite a few... we’re talking hundreds, I’m pretty sure. I was glad I didn’t wake up with tetanus the morning after I gouged my arm with a rusty old staple.
Okay, maybe a did bite off more than I could chew. My “ah haa” moment came a few weeks too late when I was at the Brimfield Antiques Show when I watched a pro reupholster our new bench in less than an hour... I definitely didn’t think a glue gun was an acceptable means of permanent fabric attachment.
In the end, it was a more difficult project than I had expected, but, it was a great experience and I am proud to say I did it myself.