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Every project has a story.  This story of an old chair reupholstered comes by way of my workroom assistant, Lisa. It is a great example of the decision-making that goes into reupholstering an old family favorite. Often my clients are trying to decide on whether a re-upholstery project makes good dollars and “sense.”  It is easy to counsel a client on the cost of reconditioning and reupholstering a particular piece of furniture. What is not so easy is the decision-making around a family “heirloom” – in most cases reason flies out the window and emotion floats in.  Here is Lisa’s story:

Old Chair Reupholstered

My parents bought this chair a few months after they married in 1948.  After the four kids, it was re-covered in a sturdy Naugahyde to survive more years of spills. 

Mother remembers it was comfortable.  I remember climbing over the back and sliding down, pretending to be a seal sliding into the water like we saw at the Houston Zoo.  My mother tried to sell it at a garage sale in the 70s, but no one saw the beauty behind the old worn fabric.  She shared it with me when I got my first apartment in 1985; my dad hauled it up to Kansas for me to use as my only comfortable place to sit — I didn’t have a sofa.  I moved it on to New Jersey after I married and tried to make it a bit more appealing with a little slip cover and a brown sheepskin to cover the growing splits in the Naugahyde. 

Then we moved it to Michigan where it was relegated to the basement.  No one saw it or cared for it much.  But for my sister’s birthday this year, I suddenly thought:  “The Chair!  With the skills I’ve learned working with Colleen for a year, I can do this!”  With Colleen’s patient help, I was able to transform this tired old family relic into an amazing piece of furniture for my sister to enjoynow, and to be passed on to the next generation. 


Old Chair Reupholstered
Old Chair Reupholstered As you can see Lisa selected a contemporary fabric, and the lines of the chair don’t seem at all frumpy, maybe even a hint of mid-century modern.

It was a pleasure to guide Lisa through the completion of this project. It is great to see a project like this take on a new life.  Enjoy the Before and After shots.


    • ScottCallaway

      I’m sure Lisa (and Sis, too) can still slide down the back of it.