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Friday, October 28, 2011

A Chair and A Compromise

One of my husband's good friends has a real knack for salvaging unwanted furniture and housewares (he once recovered a discarded big screen television and, with a mere $3.00 in parts, restored it to working order!). He and my husband roomed together for several months before we got married. During that time, I developed a fondness for a well-worn, but still lovely, petite wingback chair in his apartment. When our friend learned of my affinity for the chair, he very kindly offered to give it to me. This particular piece of furniture has now become one of our favorites.

As I mentioned, the chair has a very lovely shape, but in it's salvaged state it was quite apparent that it had seen better days. The upholstery was torn and stained and the springs were no longer "springy"...when you sat on it, it was rather like sitting in a hole. We were recently given the opportunity to have our well-loved chair reupholstered by a professional, free of charge. All we had to do was supply the fabric...a great deal, right!? I was, of course, very excited at this prospect, but I was simultaneously overcome by "a vortex of creative possibilities" very similar to the one that engulfs me every time I enter a craft store. Should I pick a solid or a print? Something bold or subdued? Trendy or traditional? I was concerned about picking something that would look good in our current apartment, but would also look good in our next dwelling place. And, since my husband has claimed this chair as his favorite TV watching location, I wanted to pick something that he would like as well.

Husbands and wives, as I'm sure many of your know, often have very different decorating preferences. If all of the decorating decisions were left to Andrew, for instance, our apartment would be predominantly decorated in navy blue and khaki and everything would be very simple and free of ornamentation (with the exception of the floor to ceiling bookshelves, to house his vast collection of books, and the large American flags that would adorn the remaining wall space - he is quite patriotic). If, on the other hand, all of the decorating decisions were left to me, everything would be colorful, bold, and heavily patterned. Artwork would cover every inch of wall space and our guests would probably only be able to visit for periods of five minutes at a time due to over-stimulation. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but you get my point: we have very different aesthetics. That being said, we both appreciate the other's style and have found that our design sensibilities actually complement each other quite well. (I think we're rubbing off on each other a bit, too...it seems that more and more we're individually drawn to styles that are a blend of our aesthetics.)

Back to the chair...

So, true to my nature, my search for the perfect upholstery fabric started with swatches of bold, colorful, modern prints. However, after taking Andrew's taste into account and thinking about the room as a whole, I eventually decided that it would be better to pick something a bit more neutral and then add a little excitement through bold throw pillows (You can't imagine the amount of restraint I had to employ to decide this!). After clicking through hundreds of swatches online, at least three visits to the fabric store, and multiple consultations with my very patient husband (Are you grasping the importance of this decision?!), I finally settled on a tweed-ish looking fabric. The fabric reads very neutral from a distance, but has lots of flecks of color and textural excitement up close. It also has a bit of a vintage 70s vibe to it which I like...have I mentioned that my style is very eclectic?! Andrew loved the fabric too, so I was confident in the choice.

I am happy to report that this compromise paid off. Last weekend we got the chair back and although I was initially concerned that it looked more peach than orange in color (it's so hard to tell what the finished product will look like from those tiny swatches!), I think it looks great in the space. The upholstery shop did an awesome job rebuilding the chair, so it is really comfortable to sit in and has great back support. I think I just might re-claim Andrew's TV watching spot as my own!

What decorating compromises have you made? Did they pay off?


  1. Great looking chair. Cool pillow with the flower !!

  2. That's gorgeous, Rebekah! I think it turned out well. It is a little peach-ish, but you're right: throw pillows will make it pop. And peach is more neutral than orange, so you can "dress it up" in many ways!
    We have a leather recliner/glider we need reupholstered, so when I started reading your post, I was so hoping it would be a tutorial on how to reupholster chairs! Next time, right? ;)

  3. Thanks, Taryn! I would really love to learn how to reupholster chairs myself!...Hopefully I'll be able to do a post like that at some point in the future. :)

    Design Sponge recently had a series of posts on upholstery basics, which might be helpful...here's the web address for the series: http://www.designsponge.com/category/upholstery-basics

    Whenever you get the chair done, I'd love to see a photo!

  4. Cool! Thanks, Rebekah!

  5. Love it. And Rebekah, I love your style of writing! I found myself laughing out loud at several points. It's so fun to see where you're creativity is taking you! And, you're posts are teaching me how to sew...

  6. Very elegant chair. good job!


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