i found this chair in a thrift store…
yes, that’s right. $2.99.
in case you’re wondering, i’m ignoring what you’re thinking: “yep. looks like it’s worth about that much…”
as if there was any doubt, they had to price it twice. first, with a price sticker adhered with super-glue (don’t let that little peeling pink corner fool you like it fooled me. that thing was a pain to peel off!). and second, using a white wax pencil, in big curly numerics pressed into the grain of the wood.
yup, worth about $2.99 is right. this thing had seen better days. the fabric (though i love the geometric design and colour) was very dirty and worn through. the wood had a sloppy stain job slapped onto it. it was also covered in white spots, from rolling paint onto a nearby wall i assume.
but there were a few things i loved about this chair. the wood was solid, and despite having a few screws loose, it was in good overall condition. it was also comfortable to sit in (upon returning home, i may or may not have burned the pair of pants i wore while testing out this chair; this chair was gross yo). and it had that distinctive scandinavian look. minimal. beautiful curves. not pretentious. i also loved the sandwiching of the light wood within the dark.
so this chair (actually, two of them, but i only refurbished one of them since it was my first time and i was flying by the seat of my soon-to-be-burned pants)… came home with me.
and then it sat in the garage for about a year.
don’t judge me. you know how these things go. you gotta wait for
naptime, the planets to align, inspiration!
enter marimekko. i knew i’d use the fabric to re-cover the seat. but first, i had to battle the dust mites that had colonized this chair for the past few decades. i unscrewed the seat from the legs and frame, and started to take off the fabric.
someone had gone staple-gun happy. i used gloves and pliers to pull each staple out of the wood…
once i got the first layer of fabric off, there was the original fabric still covering the chair…
and beneath that was a decomposing layer of thin padding. once all that was off, the wood beneath was in good condition. i cleaned it and when i went to give it a light sanding to smooth out the areas where the staples were pulled out, i saw this…
“made in denmark” in barely-there ink. that made me smile.
so then the fun parts. first, i had to sand the wood and stain it. i used “fine” and “superfine” sandpaper (in that order) to get the layer of stain and paint speckles off. then i used very fine steel wool to smooth out any remaining rough wood. this took a while, especially getting the impression of the “$2.99″ out of the wood.
next, i used a great little product i found a while ago. it’s a one-step wood stain… (i am not affiliated with this product in any way, though i might have inhaled some of its fumes. follow the directions, use a mask and use outdoors!)…
it is so easy to use. just wipe on with a cloth, wait, then wipe of the excess with a dry clean cloth. such a beautiful finish!
to cover the seat, i cut a layer of polyester fill (upholstery foam would work also) as well as a layer of 100% unbleached cotton quilt topper. the cotton helped keep the padding smooth and in place.
i used a staple gun and soon realized why the previous owner had gone staple-happy. it takes a lot of staples, fairly evenly and closely spaced to get a nice snug finish.
technically, you could carefully measure and cut the fabric first and then staple it into place. i stapled it first and then trimmed away the excess padding and cover…
almost there! now this was the scary part: cutting into the fabric. the marimekko fabric i’ve been going on about. measure twice, cut once? i think i must’ve measured five times. but i did cut. and stapled the same way as above, over the padding. then screwed the seat base back into the frame…
(that’s danish for “et voilà”)
coincidentally, i just og her so very much! and i think i might have the confidence now to make the matching chair.
p.p.s. one last look at the pretty fabric, pretty curves :-)