I have often stumbled into my projects. Ideas pop in my mind like popcorn as I struggle to decide upon just one. From childhood on, my mind has constantly been changing, a million thoughts running through my head.
Some may find the process chaotic, but to me, it is comforting. I am comforted by the endless ideas and options. I am comforted with the possibility each presents in its own unique way. And, beyond all, I am excited to begin my next project!
In the spring of 2020, my husband and I helped his brother’s family move into their new house. While at the storage unit he had been renting, I noticed the most incredible piece of furniture I had ever seen! There, with boxes stacked upon it, was an antique chaise lounge chair!
After witnessing such an object, my mind swirled with images of classic movie stars relaxing in luxury, and I could not hide my enthusiasm. My brother-in-law’s wife made the comment that I could have it if I wanted. Taken aback, shocked by the offer, I asked if she was serious.
To explain her response, I must backtrack a little bit. You see, years before, and I mean, YEARS before, this chair was once used for something other than relaxing. This chair, in fact, was used to display recently deceased loved ones before burial. Yes, dead people, and lots of them, laid on this chair!
For this reason, my sister-in-law, who’s husband was incredibly disturbed by this thought, readily agreed to give me the chair for FREE! After I did a little happy dance, I began making plans.
Was I disturbed by the thought of deceased strangers lying on the chair? No way! For years I worked as a nursing assistant and cared for many residents after their death. We would bathe the residents before the funeral home arrived, honoring their life one final time.
Not only did my job involve death, but two of my best friends in life were my Great Grandma and Grandpa Martin. They regaled me with stories of their lives and those they had lost. Death had always been a part of my life. For this reason, I was completely ready and willing to accept this gracious gift!
Once the plans were made, and the chair picked up, I immediately began bringing life back into the forgotten piece of furniture!
Had I experience in reupholstery or any kind of furniture repair? None at all! I had always been interested in arts and crafts, but it was not until six months before receiving this chair that I had begun doing any sort of woodworking or furniture repair. And this was the first time I was ever to take on such an undertaking.
I had searched the internet for ways to best conquer the task and don’t know if my way was the best. Honestly, I never do things the way they should be done. For me, it must be quick, easy, and fun. It’s not correct, but it’s me.
So, the chair was transformed and sits happily in my home, a throne for my cat—who has since claimed it as her own.
To begin, I unscrewed the back piece of the chair.
I then used a box cutter to cut the fabric from the chair. I tried removing the staples, but it took too long, and this was way easier.
Oh my word, I was not expecting what I found inside! I was used to modern furniture, being filled with cushions and padding. I was not expecting straw and burlap!
After removing the outer fabric, I removed the seam that separated the arm of the chair and the bed portion. Those nails were sharp, so I was very careful!
Upon removing the straw and burlap layers, I discovered beautiful, and in good condition, springs! These could be saved.
I then began removing the fabric on the back portion of the chair. Several different layers of fabric covered the straw, and I wondered if perhaps the chair had been reupholstered in the past.
After vacuuming and cleaning the chair, I brought it inside. I had been given some heavyweight canvas from a fashion designer friend, and I used this and a furniture stapler to line the under portion of the chair and on top of the springs.
On Amazon, I bought a roll of Mybecca Upholstery Foam Cushion Sheet High Density, 3” H x 24” W x 72” L for about $42.99 before taxes.
I used scissors to cut the foam after measuring how much I needed. Since completing the project, I saw someone use an electric knife, and I decided right away I would use that from now on. Using scissors on the 3-inch-thick foam was difficult!
I should also mention I would probably cover the foam in batting as well. You can get it pretty cheap at any craft store or online. It is used for quilting, but it would have been a nice layer of cushion under the fabric. However, I am not taking that thing apart now that it’s done!
After placing the foam, I placed the upholstery fabric I had purchased from Joann Fabrics (rather more expensive than the foam). Upholstery fabric comes in different varieties, some thicker than others, depending on how you will use them. This was a thinner material, but I planned on just lounging while I read a book, so I wasn’t too worried.
I used the furniture stapler to staple the fabric to the wood.
I then reattached the back portion, using new screws because the others needed to be retired.
I thought that would be it, but I realized it looked incomplete. So, I went on to Amazon—yes, we buy a lot online—and purchased some upholstery tacks and a rubber hammer. I could have gotten by with just one box of tacks, but I bought three to be safe. Well, more for the next project!
If you want to know, the tacks I bought were of decent quality and look great! Here is their information:
I didn’t measure the distance between tacks. I just put them in every few inches. The tacks were actually great because I stretched the fabric toward the wood to cover the staples, applied the tacks on top, and the fabric fits better. It doesn’t look as saggy as before.
Yeah, I may not have done this correctly, but I did it myself, and I love it! I wanted to share this because I know so many others out there have dreams as I do. They want to do projects but feel they are not qualified. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can! And now I get to walk into the office and admire the chaise lounge chair I transformed, and wave to my cat, who stares at me until I walk away.
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this story of a project that I truly loved completing.
It took about eight hours to complete but was well worth the effort. It fills my mind with thoughts of luxury and times gone by as I busily care for the struggles of daily life. We all need those reminders in life. At least now I have a fun story to share, and my cat has a new throne!
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