Behind the Scenes: Dining Chair Reupholstery

I’m so excited to share a behind the scenes look at my most recent reupholstery project! These antique chairs needed some TLC. We cleaned them up, repaired the wood frames, replaced the suspensions and cushions, and reupholstered them in a beautiful new textured leather that you’ve just got to see to believe! We did all this while still maintaining the beautiful antique quality and kept the overall aesthetic of the home in mind. Finished just in time for Thanksgiving, these newly redone chairs are sure to be the talk of the dinner table! Special thanks to my favorite upholstery shop, Covers Unlimited and my go to leather source, Garrett Leather for being invaluable partners in the completion of this project!


The Current Chairs

 

Truly unique, these chairs were originally upholstered in giraffe hide! The chairs definitely needed some work as the hides were stiff, cracked, and torn making them incredibly uncomfortable to sit on. Covers Unlimited carefully removed the old hides, as my client wanted to preserve the material for an up-cycle project. They took extra caution to care for the wood during the removal process.

 
 
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Next, the wood frames needed some attention. We did not do a full refinish, but just a basic wood touch up. The existing wood finish was in fairly good condition expect for a few nicks here and there. Some of the chair frames were cracked and needed wood repair. Covers Unlimited took care of the damaged areas while preserving the antique quality. All of the chairs received new suspensions, durable high resilience foam, along with frame tightening. I really appreciated their attention to detail.

One of the best things about working with Covers Unlimited is having a dedicated project manager that works with interior designers. Susan Rix, the Design Project Manager has a background in design and an amazing eye for detail! I love being able to trust that my clients’ furniture is in good hands.

 
 
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Selecting A New Leather

One of my favorite parts of my job is exposing my clients to beautiful new products they could never even imagine. Part of that process involves educating my clients on quality, value, and what makes one product different from another. Leather in particular is complicated. It can be difficult to understand the qualities and grades of leather. If you’re interested in learning more about semi- aniline, pure aniline, top grain, full grain or other leather terms, check out this fantastic resource from Garrett Leather.

For this project we wanted something that was easily cleanable, aged naturally, and would compliment the antique characteristics. We started with rich espresso tones, made our way to burgundy, but ultimately decided on a deep plum color that complimented the other colors and finishes in the room. To give it an even more one of a kind look and feel, we studied a variety of impress patterns from Garrett. We selected a pattern that complimented the scale of the oriental rugs and went well with the other motifs in the room. We selected Journey Majestic Mountain from Garrett Leather with Impress Bases.

 
 
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When ordering leather, it’s always a good idea to order a dye lot cutting for approval. Since leather is a natural material, each hide may take the dye slightly differently than the last. A CFA is a small piece cut from the exact hide that you will be ordering. This allows you to review the hide and make sure you are happy with the color and texture before placing the order. After we approved the cutting, we ordered a strike off. The strike off is a impressed sample on the exact hide/dye lot we approved. Our strike off was about 12”x12” which allowed my client to get a good sense of the pattern on our selected leather color.

 
 
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Rolling Out The Leather

 

Now comes the moment we’ve been all been waiting for, rolling out the new leather! Over the past 2 month we’ve been looking at small samples and have yet to see the full hide of our new leather. When the hide arrived, I went over to Covers Unlimited to inspect it and talk with Susan about how we would lay out the pattern on the chairs, making sure to be conscious of plate lines and repeats.

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The Finished Chairs & Client Testimonial

“Reupholstering my dining chairs totally upgraded my dining room! I never knew changing one element could transform an entire room. When I started the process I knew I wanted leather, but was just thinking “medium brown.” Sarah brought sample books to my house and I discovered a whole new world of color and texture! She educated me on the different qualities of leather, leather dye lots, and how different leathers age over time. She helped to narrow down my options based on our family’s needs and budget. She handled everything from ordering the leather to coordinating transportation for the chairs. She double checked everything and made sure she had our approval every step of the way. She expedited the entire process and even delivered our beautiful custom chairs 2 weeks ahead of schedule! My dining set is antique, mission style, golden oak. Sarah’s eye for detail and sensitivity to, not only the individual item, but to the entire mood and aesthetic of our home has helped us to restore the set to its original beauty. I highly recommend Sarah to anyone who needs help with their home. Thank you!” - Julia

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