Fabulous French Restoration

Feb12th2018

Some time ago, I picked up a set of five fantastic french chairs that just sang my name….took them home and eyed them over and over thinking of what fabulous things I could do with them. I love to live with items for awhile until one way or another they find a way to communicate what they are wanting me to do…These particular chairs at first glance looked pretty darn good but not 100% by any means. The seats were spring construction and by the way they were sagging I could tell they would need a total overhaul. I opened up the fabric and peaked in and had to laugh at what I saw….there were a total of three springs that were literally standing on end loosely in the cavity. They weren’t even sewn or tied down! So began the long process of tearing off every bit of fabric, removing and tossing the springs and pulling hundreds and hundreds of staples. Down to the bare bones and a couple of nasty blisters later I could start again to examine and think about my plan.

Firstly, a new plywood seat was in order. Unfortunately an easy removable seat was not going to happen…you know, the kind you can screw on and off? This kind of chair had to have the seat cushion connected and upholstered right to the frame. Too bad…my work is cut out for me! So my ever so helpful hubby cut a template using the existing foam inside (which by the way was also crumbling and unusable) and made the five seats lickity split and attached all of them. First I had to reinforce all the legs which were loose and wobbling. Glue, clamping and some good ole PL400 (a construction adhesive) worked like a charm.

Next, I sprayed with a chalk paint color called “driftwood” which I bought in B.C. I wish I could remember the name of the shop but I liked their custom color selection so I bought a jar to try. After two heavy coats and drying time, I applied a mix of clear and dark wax for a base finish look. Then I concentrated more heavily around the perimeter of the backrest of the chair with the dark wax to create a worn look. I almost always clearcoat for protection. Next came a three inch foam seat which all had to be cut out to fit. By now, I had been advertising the chairs and had a lovely lady from Saskatchewan buy all five. She was travelling to Calgary to visit family soon so they were put aside to await her arrival with fabric she wanted to use. It was a tricky order as she was visiting a few days and I had to complete the order for her to take back home on a deadline. The fabric she brought was a pre-washed drop cloth which just thrilled me to bits as for it’s heaviness and it’s fantastic worn french country look. It took me an additional 2 days to upholster all chairs. I sewed a matching trim and added the upholstery tacks. We also added a bit of gold gilding using gold wax on the floral carvings.

Pretty pleased I am with these as was my client! Now to say goodbye to another satisfying project of beauty!

This is how they started. At first glance not too shabby, even the fabric was pretty but they had some hidden surprises! 

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This is the Fabulous Finish!

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See You Next Project! Have a Great Week!

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