Ever since I bought the french chairs off of craigslist I have been itching to get them upholstered and ready for a makeover (this may not happen anytime soon, but it is never too early to begin the design process). At the moment I haven't found the time to actually get started on all the work that they need but I have been brainstorming ideas for how they will look in the end. If interested, you can check my other "Plans" post for my china cabinet and marble coffee table.
I really love the vintage, classic and feminine silhouette of the chairs, (a HUGE reason as to why french chairs in general interest me). Plus, the intricate detailing of the wood is just so beautiful, I can't get over it. And that bow on the ornamentation? Oh my, this just makes me smile each time. I still feel incredibly fortunate to have found these chairs for such a relatively good price (I saw similar vintage versions of these going for $400 for one on Ebay) and I got my pair for $160 plus $25 shipping. The low price is due to their condition. Their backs are completely bare and the upholstery on the seats are old and worn out. Plus, the wood needs some good attention too. I didn't mind all the work that would be required to "fix" these beauties so I just made the plunge and got them, anyways.
I contacted a professional upholsterer and he calculated I would need 6 yards of fabric to cover both chairs and added that the fabric yardage covers the self welt. I figured I should leave the upholstery job to the professionals because I still cannot commit to doing it myself. I will however, tackle the finishing of the wood before I send them to the upholstery shop. I am thinking to have them feature a bleached, white oak wood color, sort of like the ones sold at Restoration Hardware. I really like the weathered look but will try not to make them look too close to a farmhouse chair. I got some free white oak wood floor samples from Hardwood Bargains because I wanted to see the different stain options available for when I re-stain the chairs.
The stains are very subtle and light which I love, while the wood itself has different textures to them. Some samples are wire brushed or handscraped and finished in oil for an almost matte/satin appearance that's also very durable. I will definitely be mimicking the stain color of these samples. The hard part will be finding an exact color match on a mass produced stain.
The current gold color on these chairs is quite nice but since I am planning on having a brass marble coffee table, I don't want the bright brass of that with the gold color of these chairs to compete.
I am the kind of person who enjoys to re-decorate so I know I will be using light, neutral fabric all throughout the upholstery just so that I may have the option to coordinate the chairs to any decor. For the (back) of the back, I may go a bit bolder with the fabric just for an "awe" and "OOooh" effect, still keeping within the neutral color scheme, of course.
Those are all free samples I got from Pottery Barn and I really love that #2 + #3 are very close in color but different in texture and design. #2 would be a great option to upholster the (back) of the backs with because of the slight herringbone pattern, giving a nice interest to the neutral color. As for the (front) of the backs + seats, #3 would be better suited because the color is still neutral but the texture and pattern is quite plain, which I prefer. Another beautiful color, (oh my, I just wish you can see it in person) is option #4 with the same herringbone patter as #2 but in a gorgeous, soft, light grey color. It is my ideal grey fabric. It really gives me peace of mind that these fabric options are within the Sunbrella fabric line because Sunbrella fabric is known to repel water, to be fade resistant and incredibly durable. Those are all things I need, clearly. Oh, and the wood color really goes super well with the fabric options, no? That's the soft, neutral look I am going for with these chairs.
I did manage to get some other fabric samples in the same color family as the ones above but in different textures, like velvet. I would have shown a photo of that sample but I can't find it but seeing as the velvet is so velvety soft, I am definitely considering it.
It is definitely a hard decision choosing fabric because once I upholster them (well, not me but a professional) there's no going back, at least not for a LONG time (changes can be very pricey). In the future (a very distant future) I may decide to change the fabric of the chairs to fit my new decor (this might actually happen because like I explained earlier I love redecorating), but the present is what I shall focus on which is why I want to be happy with the fabric I choose for these vintage chairs. Once I do, I'll be relaxing just like her. Fan in hand, and all.
Please do share your suggestions as to what might look good.
Ps: A while back I found a set of 4 beautiful chairs on the curb of a Manhattan building (just waiting for the garbage truck to pick them up :( Oh my, did this girl want to pick them up and not look back. Of course that did not happen. A) I was already late, on my way to run an errand and B) there was no way I would have been able to carry those chairs all the way home (I was too far). They looked like they were in great condition and all they needed were their seats reapholstered. The wood was PERFECT :(
Man, I will always look at that day as a failure from my part :(
On a brighter note, I already own some beautiful french chairs so that should be enough, no?