French Plus Bohemian: A Chair Story in the Traditional Upholstery Manner

There once was a very sad Louis style chair. Very beige, very neutral, very brown wood. It was French in style, and vintage, so it had something going for it, but all else was a complete bore, so it’s not even worth showing. It needed color on the outside! On the inside, it was even worse: crusty, crumbling old foam over webbing, which would never do, professionally speaking. So, off came all of its materials, all the way down to the bones, to be built back up the traditional, European, way, with springs and natural materials (no foam).

French Chair Stripped and Milk-Painted   HTS

I painted it with natural milk paint in a cornflower blue hue–meant to be imperfect looking. Sealed with tung oil and lightly distressed for a casual look, the transformation had begun. Next came webbing and hand-tied springs, anchored with tacks. Although I usually tie my springs eight ways, most of these are tied six ways, because eight ways seemed like overkill on such a small seat. I daresay they’re tight and will last just as many years.

wood wool or excelsior

This is excelsior, or wood wool. Using traditional upholstery methods, it gets laid into bridles to be covered with burlap and hand-stitched into a first stuffing. The stitching compacts the wood wool in a roll around the top to support the second stuffing of hair.

excelsior first stuffing hand stitched edge roll
On top of this, lots of fluffy horsehair gets bridled in to form the second stuffing. I then cover that with muslin and a layer or two of cotton before I put on the fabric. In this case, the fabric is a wonderful designer velvet that is printed with a large variety of patterns in amazing colors. Just the effect I was looking for.

Bohemian Style Vintage Upholstered Louis French Chair

City Girl Arts upholstered boho french chair

With an oversized black and white houndstooth chenille in the picture frame back, and double welting made of plum purple velvet, the completed look far surpasses the original in excitement. The inside, done with traditional methods and materials, far surpasses the original in comfort, quality, and durability. This beauty is going to make a fabulous statement wherever it ends up. Check out my Etsy shop, or Chairish, to find it.

I design and make chairs to sell, or for clients based on their own desires. I have an inventory of vintage seating pieces longing for their big breaks–contact me directly to design and make a chair for you that has something to say!

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Retro Rejuvenated: The Hot Pink Dresser

I admired this terrific retro dresser for months. It was priced too high for me, but obviously for everyone else, too, at a thrift shop I frequent. When it finally went half-price, I decided it was time.

pink dresser before

Bland and baby-room-ish, I planned to go to the opposite extreme with one of my favorite luscious, saturated colors: hot pink. The inserts became bright orange, and the knobs were changed out for a sweeter statement.

Hot Pink Dresser 4

Hot Pink Dresser 2

Hot Pink Dresser

With or without the mirror, it looks like candy, don’t you think?
Check out this piece in my Etsy shop.
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Quatrefoil Dresser: Pretty Fantastic in Pink

As a kid, I always loved Legos. My dad insisted on short hair and brown leather lace-up shoes for my sister and me. I never wore a single dress in high school. I don’t particularly like sappy movies or chick flicks–give me a good spy thriller any day. I didn’t have any daughters; I have three sons. So, why is my favorite color pink? I have pink sweaters, pink shoes (yay), pink shirts, and even a pink skirt that I actually wear.

Now, I have a pink dresser. But it’s not for me, ironically. It was kind of pink when I found it. That deep, glossy burgundy that sometimes looks brown:

quatrefoil before

Boring, scuffed, peeling. But hit it with my favorite color, pink, and it takes on a whole different persona.

Quatrefoil dresser

Add a quatrefoil, hand-painted white swirls shadowed with grey, a spot for a monogram, and it’s almost irresistible. What lady, young or old, wouldn’t want this delicious berry colored piece in her bedroom? Well, pink haters, I guess, but forget about them. This one is too cute.

Quatrefoil Dresser Top Detail

Quatrefoil Dresser Side

UPDATE July, 2013: This gorgeous pink piece went to a young lady in Texas, who asked that I paint her initial on the quatrefoil. I was happy to make this her own!

DSC_0588 (2)

This piece is featured on the popular Project Nursery blog!
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