The NonFrugal Saga of Vintage Chair Recovering: Part One

Seven years ago, I bought a pair of vintage brocade wingback chairs for my first (and last) office.

The cost was a grand total of $40 for the pair, which was wonderful since I was a broke-as-a-joke predoctoral intern.  I used those chairs in my office for two years, until I transitioned back into working in healthcare settings.  I didn't have an office space after that so I brought them home and they became my living room chairs.

They must have originally been in someone's little used parlor, because they were in EXCELLENT vintage condition.  Earlier this year, I noticed that the fabric was fading, thinning, and starting to tear in some spots.  These chairs are solidly built and very comfortable, so I decided to have them recovered.  I asked local blogger friend Danavee if she knew of any good upholsterers and she did!!  With that base covered, I just had to find the right fabric.

Armed with a "50% off any cut of fabric" coupon, my Mums and I descended on Jo-Ann Fabric.  I knew that they had a gray fabric that I really liked and I was hopeful that it would still be in stock.  To my surprise I found that the upholstery fabrics were 60% off- no coupon needed PLUS I got an additional 25% off at the register.  Great deal!!  Unfortunately there were only five yards of fabric in stock and I would need 10-12 yards for the chairs.  I'm a crazy person gambling type, so I decided to buy it and drive to wherever the nearest Jo-Ann's was to get more.  

The nearest store turned out to be a two and a half hour round trip drive to Joplin, where THEY ONLY HAD 3 and 5/8 YARDS IN THE STORE.  Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!  I looked at the Jo-Ann's website on my phone and found that they had two yards in stock, which would give me enough.  I bought out the Joplin store and then went to the parking lot and sat in my car where I hurriedly bought the last two yards available online via my phone.  Like a crazy person gambling type would do.

Thankfully, the dye lots matched and I did have enough for the chairs.  The upholstery people came to pick up the chairs today.  I am very excited to see how the chairs turn out!!  I also learned today that the chairs are Sam Moore which evidently is/ was a good brand.  I was also pleased to see that despite the hefty costs of reupholstery and the fabric itself, this is still going to be less expensive than buying one Sam Moore chair new.  

Do you have any upholstery stories to share?  I'm all ears.


Frugal Scholar said…
As you know, this is an expensive-seeming option, but older furniture tends to be much better made. Could you divulge the cost? I have some Henredon chairs with tufted backs and was told that the upcharge for tufted buttons was very large.

Love the fabric you chose also.
FS, I completely agree- the quality of these chairs is so much better than anything I see in the stores now. I don't have the final bill yet, but the estimate was $700 labor cost for the two chairs (I spent $150 on the fabric). They are charging $1 per tufted button, which I thought was pretty cheap. I will say that the upholsterers seemed reluctant initially, I assume because the tufting is so much work!! This is a low cost of living area, so things may be more expensive where you are.
Danavee said…
I am SO EXCITED!!!!!! I love these chairs!!! I cannot wait to see the finished product!
Me, too, Danavee!!!!!! I know they will be amazing. Thanks again SO MUCH for the contact info!
Frugal Scholar said…
Thanks for the numbers. i think you got a bargain on some well-made chairs.

Popular Posts