Reusing What We Have: Recovering Dining Room Chairs.

Let me begin with being floored and humbled by the response to yesterday's post! So many new voices are finding their way to this space, as well as many familiar ones. And while we may not see the world from exactly that same vantage point (how interesting would that would be, really?) we do hold similar values of preserving the peace and joy of our homes and of childhood. And so we embark on this journey together!

Several people referenced a post I wrote last year on downsizing. Here is a link if you missed it. It was one of the most popular I have written and judging by the comments yesterday inspired more change than I knew!

Now, onto the chairs.

For me one major piece of simplification is the shortening of my works-in-progress list. I am a great dreamer and an even better project starter. However the Project Completion Gene is missing from my DNA. Take our dining room chairs. Back when I was still thrifing with some regularity I picked up a set of dining room chairs for a song at an estate sale. I paid $20 for eight solid wooden vintage chairs. The seats were worn and saggy but the lines were lovely and the quality was outstanding. I decided to recover them. Eventually.





After more than a year (perhaps two?) of loving the chairs and hating the seats I finally made a decision on fabric. I chose a PVC-free laminated cotton because it is soft to the touch and cleans up easily. Our kitchen and dining room are purple and orange, and I found the most fabulous fabric to recover them. And that fabric sat in my closet all winter long. Just waiting…

As I cleaned out my closet yesterday on the latest simplification purge I spied that gorgeous fabric. Something had to come off of my to-do list. It might as well be this.





Every tutorial I could find on-line told me to use a chunk of high density foam for padding and additional batting/padding and finishing with new fabric. I know that high density foam, the type you find in new furniture, is like a solidified chemical soup which I didn't want in my dining room. I looked into natural latex and as I contemplated the added expense realized I could forgo the foam and just have less squishy chairs.

The process was simple. (I say "simple" because Pete was in charge of the woodworking.) He cut new (upcycled) plywood seats to replace the loose webbing that comprised the seat. Sage and I glued and stapled the ply onto the existing frames. (When we took off the old fabric we discovered that they were stuffed with horse hair. Cool/creepy.) Then I cut fabric and quilt batting a couple of inches bigger around than the chair seats and stretched and stapled it into place. 

Better? Heck yeah.

I can't tell you how much I love these. Someday I might paint or refinish the chairs, but until then they brighten my entire day each time I walk into the dining room. Progress! (And yes, I still have half of the chairs to recover. So technically they aren't off my to-do list, but they are moving in that direction.)