Well, maybe not quite in the Forrest Gump sorta way, but remember when I said that my husband and I wanted to start eating dinner at the table like adults? Well, we had been living in our apartment for a few months now and although we had a generously donated table…we had no chairs.
So I decided to do something about it.
I was dragging my feet worrying about not having space for 4 chairs in a tiny NYC apartment, when my mom (always the inspiration) thought of a couple vintage folding chair brands: Leg-O-Matic and Stakmore.
These chairs are so cool! They are made of solid wood, but they fold so you can store them when you don’t have space for them. I was imagining I could store them like this. They come in almost every style and stain. You can find tons of them on eBay.
I started casually hunting eBay for a chair style that I felt drawn to, when I came across these beauties:
They clearly needed some TLC, but I fell for them hard! The price was to die for too! I can’t remember an exact number, but I think they were listed for 99 dollars and shipping was under 25! For FOUR chairs! Four. Vintage. Wooden. Folding. Chairs. Eeeek! I don’t know if you have checked lately, but you can’t buy one chair from Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn for $125. (This paragraph has 5 sentences ending in exclamation points…if that’s not excitement, I don’t know what is).
Thank goodness they were a “Buy it Now” item. I don’t think I could have handled the drama of an auction for these guys. A week later they were in my apartment!
I knew that one seat cushion was torn, so I planned on recovering the seats, but then I debated painting them like one of these as well:
In the end, the brown stain matched our table perfectly and my husband prefers rich wood tones to painted furniture anyway. Honestly, painting furniture in this little apartment is a struggle, so I was relieved that all I needed this time around was a little Old English and a lot of paper towels.
Since I was making a trip home to North Carolina in another week, I unscrewed the seats from the chairs and shipped them to my parents house. Mom and I could doctor them there.
We hit Mom’s favorite fabric store – Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, hoping to find the perfect fabric to recover the seats. Mary Jo’s has just about everything you could hope to find in a fabric store, and sure enough, it was right there waiting for us.
I spotted blue and white ikat, and only 7.98/yard! Woo hoo! It was indoor/outdoor fabric (ideal for easy cleaning) and it was a linen-looking weave. Basically this, but blue.
We bought enough yardage to cover all 4 seats, plus extra to ensure we could get the same pattern centered on every seat. I think we took home 3 yards and some batting to give the seats some extra fluff.
Then, Mom attempted to teach me my first upholstery project (she’s an angel). We laid out all 4 seats on our fabric to make sure we had enough border to match the pattern…we didn’t. So, we went to Plan B (as we do so well) – two matching sets it is!
These are two of the seats that matched. If you look carefully you can see that the third seat has slightly a different border. I was pretty pleased with how Plan B turned out.
This is the other seat.
The hardest part of this project was keeping the fabric tight and the patterned centered. It took 2 hands to pull the fabric and batting taut and 2 more to staple gun down the fabric. We had to be careful not to cover or staple over the holes where I would need to screw the seats back onto their frames.
I wish I had photos to describe our method, but I don’t. (Again, blogging wasn’t on my mind then).
- We laid each seat on the fabric face up (to be sure the pattern was centered) and cut pieces about 2-3 inches wider than the shape of the seat to allow the fabric to wrap around the seat with batting underneath.
- Next we layered the fabric (face down), the batting, and the seat and pulled the fabric around to begin stapling.
- We first stapled in a triangular pattern due to our U-shaped seats. One staple at the top of the curve and one staple at each corner.
- We tried to maintain equal tension on the fabric on all sides of the seat and continued placing staples (centering staples between preexisting ones, rather than stapling side by side).
- Finally, we trimmed the fabric back to tidy up and make sure we could see the holes for reassembly in NYC.
The seats were easy to re-attach, but I did have to swap them around to find the originally paired seat and frame. After all, these vintage chairs weren’t factory made. Isn’t that fun?!
I still can’t believe how perfectly matched the table and chairs are. Between matching wood tones and the chair to table scale, they look like they were designed to go together! It was meant to be. I’m glad they are mine. :)