Furniture project: reupholstered vintage chair

Restoration and reupholstery of a midcentury chair

I was thrilled when a customer got in touch and sent me a photo of a wooden chair they’d inherited from family in America. It needed restoring and they wanted to give it a new lease of life with fresh, modern upholstery. It was a really lovely looking chair and had a wonderful shape to the arms and nice tapered legs, so I was really excited to get started.

Wooden chair restoration

To restore the wood, I gave the chair a thorough sanding down and cleaning. I then re-oiled it with Danish Oil for a natural and traditional finish. A couple of the original brass cups on the legs had split, so I had to find new ones, which I then aged so that they tied in with the original ones.

Bespoke design consultation

I worked really closely with the customer despite us being miles apart, with them living in Oxfordshire and my workshop being in Staffordshire. Good communication and plenty of photos along the way helped us to achieve exactly what they were looking for.

Choosing the right fabric for your vintage chair

I worked closely with them to choose a suitable fabric. We explored our ideas remotely via email, phone and post and exchanged lots of samples that were closely scrutinized. It was quite a journey, but satisfying to know that our conversations had such a brilliant outcome.

Covering a vintage chair with screen-printed geometric fabric

We decided on fabric designer Tamasyn Gambell’s ‘Aztec’ print, with its bold geometric design in pale pink, blue and mustard colour blocks, which is screen printed using water-based pigment onto European linen. It was the perfect fit. 

Tamasyn very kindly printed more of this design for us, as it was so perfect for this particular midcentury chair. 

I then had it reupholstered using one of my few time-served professional upholsterers, which are local to us in Staffordshire. 

I arranged a courier pick-up for a safe delivery and here it is at home.

I was so happy to receive this feedback:

“Thank you so much for the thought and care you took with this project. We really couldn’t be happier with the outcome. We knew that the fabric would look great but we absolutely love the finish you’ve achieved with the wood too. You’ve somehow managed to freshen it up and modernise it, while at the same time retaining the original character. This was exactly what we wanted, and what first grabbed our attention when we found examples of your work on your website.”

Get in touch to discuss your own vintage chair

If you’d like some furniture restoration advice, I’d love to have a chat with you about your project. Please email or have a look at our ‘upholstery and design’ page [link].