Friday, January 01, 2010

The New Old Chair

I thought it was time to welcome home our newly upholstered old chair (scroll to the end to see a BEFORE picture).  

Our little lady chair went away in early December to be re-upholstered and has returned looking beautiful and vaguely French, upholstered in a brand new velvet: 
I think the upholsterer did a fabulous job on the tufting (yes, the Christmas tree is still up!):
I had a difficult time choosing a colour, but I really like the result.  Naturally, I wanted to choose white or cream, but with a cat, I was afraid of soiling (he likes to rub against things).  I considered darker colours (slate blues, mustard) but didn't want to introduce another dominant colour in the room.  Ideally, I sought a grayed mocha brown (a medium brown) but could not find a nice velvet in that colour.

Also, the colour had to work with existing sage green furniture for, perhaps, a few more years.  Eventually I want a cream sofa, but for now we have green, so I chose a colour with a similar value to the green and also one that complemented it.

This rosy taupe has an old-world vibe and also works with the purple light fixture in the adjacent front hall (see below).  Basically this colour had to do it all (I swear I looked at 10,000 colours!):
Note that in the photo above, the gray chair to the right will be reupholstered next.  Oh, and I plan to get a smaller pillow for the new chair.  For styling purposes, I stuck this big white one on it!:
Although I wanted a taller chair in this location, I got so frustrated shopping for one.  I could not find a nice chair under $2500 that I loved, and cheaper ones I found online could not be sourced in Calgary to try out.  We like the size of this chair in its busy location, and it's super-comfy. It also swivels, so we can turn to look out the window, which we like to do.  So it simply made sense to salvage the chair, which while not being the height of fashion, was practical and had good bones.  I got a good deal on upholstery ($450 for labour) and spent about $600 on 8 yards of fabric.  It was an expensive chair 30 years ago (when David's mother bought it), so the foam and frame were in great condition.  So we saved it.

The BEFORE photo (below) shows the original, very faded colour.  Notice that on the new chair, I had the skirt made as long as possible to give it a more streamlined-look.  I also had them remove the buttons from the arms to give it a cleaner line.  I wanted a straight waterfall skirt, but it wasn't possible with the existing frame (which regrettably wasn't explained to me until after the upholsterer had ripped off the old fabric!).  
Anyway, I think it worked out well in the end and we have an elegant, compact new chair in this location!

What do you think?

Source Guide:  
Upholstery was done through Cushy Life in Kensington.  The fabric is Maxwell's Retreat Velvet in Taupe.


  1. Wow!!!! What a gorgeous color! Just one picture????? i want to see more - it really looks so beautiful! more!!!!! I love the tufting too. and it swivels? that's fabulous. good job, but more pictures please!!!!


  2. I think it looks beautiful...the tufting is gorgeous! I really like the color could go with lots of things, which is always great in case you change your mind all the time like me! LOL It's always wonderful to save a good chair with good bones too, love it! :0)

  3. It looks elegant, and what a beautiful color! I love it!


    from a very snowy cold polar dark North of Sweden

    Many hugs

  5. I think that the chair looks wonderful, what a transformation!!
    The color is devine, it looks wonderful!

  6. Beautiful fabric choice! (I also have to think of cats) I do love you have recycled it to a new life.

  7. It looks fantastic! The chair has great lines, and looks beautiful with the new fabric. I would love to have a velvet sofa or chair; almost 14 years ago, when I moved into my current house, my designer at the time tried to convince me to reupholster my sofa in a velvet and I wouldn't do it. I thought it was too unusual. I was so conventional! Mark my words - in my next house I will have something velvet!

  8. Your chair is beautiful! Gorgeous soft gray color and the texture of the velvet looks so soft and comfortable yet elegant!

  9. I think the chair elegant and that you have a brilliant sense of style. Every happiness in 2010 my dear.
    Warmest regards,

  10. Love the chair and I think the pillow is fine.

  11. Oh Terri,

    What a beautiful chair. I just love the lines of it. And the fabric you picked looks absolutely perfect. So soft and serene, really just like you. I'd love to see more pictures of the whole room.


  12. I think you made absolutely perfect choices for this old chair! The velvet and the color add that understated sophisication that is always so timeless. It looks like it was made for that spot! :) I know how much you love classic/traditional design and this completely fits the bill.

    Great job!!!


    P.S. Our tree is still up, too :)

  13. Great price on the labor, those buttons are at least 8 to 10 dollars each...
    Love the colour, looks wonderful with your area rug! I love velvet on a tuffed chair... Take the colours out of your area rug (use a paint fan) and find a interesting patterned silk for a pillow, round would be sweet and would repeat the circles of the buttons...maybe use the same fabric as the pillow on the wooden armed chair that you said is next...if you want some help, I am always an email away...
    Regards, Carol Ann

  14. Very pretty! I have two very similar chairs, (they swivel and rock!) currently upholstered in a turquoise\teal on cream plaid and living at my daughter's house (and likely to remain hers). If college life doesn't do them in, I'll use this post for reference when she decides to reupholster them. They're great little chairs and a velvet like yours would really bring them back to life. Don't you just love the quality of older furniture? To get that quality new costs a small fortune—as you discovered. Beautiful choice, Terri.

  15. Anonymous6:28 pm

    That looks beautiful. Hard to see through that coral velvet and recognize what a terrific chair it could be when recovered - wonderful!

  16. It looks fabulous - wonderful colour choice and the chair itself is so sweet.

    I love your blog and have reading your posts for a little while now. It's so nice to be following the blog of a fellow Calgarian. I will definitely check-out your upholsterer!

    I just set up my own blog (ok, I'm a little late to the 21st century!), and have your blog linked on my reading list.

  17. I LOVE it! It's gorgeous and the color is so beautiful! And I love the elegant lines and buttoned back - it's a classic. So excited for you - happy new chair to you! xoxoTrina

  18. Very nice!!!Really beautiful! Well done!

  19. It looks marvellous, Terri! I love small comfortable chairs and could have them all over our home.
    xo Poppins

  20. Great way to start of the year! Curl up in it with your kitty cat and read a good book - or blog!!

  21. Anonymous3:37 pm

    The chair is beautiful now:)

  22. oh Terri= LOVE!!! you'll laugh but -surprise- i just sent in a VERY SIMILAR chair to be reupholsatered in aqua velvet for my mom!

    anyway, the color you chose is gorgeous and it's perfect in there!!! just beautiful!!!!

    big hug,
    cousin l

  23. ok i only type 1-handed now -baby in other- so the typos are out of control!!! sorry!!

  24. It's beautiful! It's amazing how much more modern it looks.

  25. Greetings from Finland.
    Nice to see and admire from a distance from home blogs.

    Inspiring pictures you have.


  26. It came out great. Love the color you picked. I'm thinking velvet was the totally perfect way to go!

  27. great job! i love really really love it. good color and it looks new with a bit of a vintage feel.

  28. Perfect chair, perfect color. Your obsessiveness paid off!

  29. The colour is amazing. you have given me hope for our old dusty pink velvet chair that is so ancient...maybe she needs a new dress too. Great job Terri.
    Ness xx

  30. Anonymous1:04 pm

    Lovely color and great way to refresh that tufted chair.

  31. YUM, YUM and YUUUUM!! Great choices - and I can so relate to looking a million colours! Here's to a long second life for your gorgeous chair! Good job.
    xo Isa

  32. * A+ my friend!!! SO GLAD I came by to tell you something (next paragraph!), as I might have missed seeing this! The COLOR you chose just brings that chair back to life~~~ and, in the most ROMANNNNTIC, soft way!!! KUDOS, kiddo~~~ It looks just mahhhhhvelous in what appears to be an ALREADY MAHHHHVELOUS space~~~ (would LOVE to see more pics, & of course a follow up on the OTHER chair when it's completed!)~~~ "Hint, hint"!

    Came by to tell you THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL LAUGH I got out of your comment at Joni's just now, about the people in Marrakech selling/trading their DAUGHTER for a camel!!! I laughed & smiled SOOOOO much, as WE lived in Saudi Arabia for two years~~~someone in the Royal Family honored us, as their "Special Guests", w/ an incredible, tented, desert dinner (& w/ fabulous rugs placed everywhere). (Better than in the MOVIES! Grins!). I was "honored" w/ a "gift" of a camel (a REAL ONE!~ and I mean this camel was CHICLY DRESSED, w/ silks & beadworks & you-name-its!). "Alas" I could not keep it or take it back to America (of course they already knew that), but I thought it WAS a charming gesture on their part & it was quite a fun, interesting, informative evening!!!

    Again, beauuuutifully done chair, & THANKS for the biiiig chuckles w/ your Marrakech comment!

    Warmest wishes,
    Linda in AZ *

  33. Anonymous5:56 pm

    I LOVE it! It is absolutely gorgeous and you picked the perfect fabric. I have passed up so many pretty or could be pretty chairs because I cannot find anyone to do the upholstery. I'm a little jealous! :) Sarah

  34. A perfect transformation. I love how you make each design/decorating decision with such thought and care. There is a lesson to be learned in that!
    Lovely, as always!


  35. That chair is beautiful but I am confused. Did you say it is a taupe color fabric? It looks like apricot to me and good enough to eat. I had to sign up as a follower. If you get a chance I would love it if you would stop by and visit my blog and sign up if you like.