When C-VILLE’s Art Director found a 1940s-era chair in storage at his parents’ house, he wondered if its good bones and solid structure didn’t warrant a recovering. So he went to local designer Kelly Witt, who helped focus the project (nail head or braided trim? Stripes or solids?) and place an order for the fabric. Danny Roach at Danny’s Quality Upholstery took on the job (which totalled $350), and we followed every step of the way.
The chair as it was found, with maple arms and legs and its original fabric.
Once stripped down to the frame, the chair lost its mohair batting, a typical stuffing material for chairs of that era, and was rewebbed. During the rewebbing process, ties are threaded through the springs and each spring is tied as a unit eight times. After that, Roach installed decking to hold the springs down.
Roach replaced the batting with cotton and foam rubber, to make the seat plump and cushy and also ensure it’ll last longer than 15 years (the typical lifespan of burlap, which was originally used instead of decking). There was no need to replace the buttons because, as Witt said, with a patterned fabric, it can get complicated and messy matching up the print.
After being recovered, a nailhead trim was applied to the arms, where the fabric meets the wood. “You can overdo it with nailhead,” Witt said. “I’d recommend around the back and not the bottom or vice versa. Not both.”
Roach says the best thing to do when you buy fabric for reupholstery is to coat it with Scotchguard. But, if you haven’t done that, applying cold water with a little soap should do the trick.