Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vintage in The Home {The Favored Chair}

I know lots of people who love the idea of vintage, but have a hard time envisioning how to integrate it into their homes, offices, and daily lives.  Every week I spotlight one of my favorite vintage items and how we use it in our home.  Hopefully, this will offer inspiration to all of you who are vintage novices, as well as the seasoned collectors.

Please allow me to introduce you to Arabelle.

Don't let her age fool you...this is the most comfortable seat in the house.

My sweet mother-in-law found her ages ago at a Salvation Army in Waco, TX.  She always wanted to get this chair reupholstered.  But, unfortunately, her cats also took a liking to the chair as a scratching post.  So poor Arabelle sat lonely in a room - unused and defaced with her stuffing exposed. 

Last Christmas, as my gift my mother-in-law graciously offered to have Arabelle reupholstered in any fabric of my choosing if I would like to have her come live at my house.

To which I said, "Heck yeah!".

And so we ordered yards and yards of Robert Allen for Dwell Studio Indoor/Outdoor Peony Canary.  (Psst...the price has dropped significantly since then...I'm guessing because Dwell Studio dropped Robert Allen's name...it's a steal now!)  And my in-laws took Arabelle and her fancy new fabric to the best upholsterer in Waco to get a face-lift.  And he said...."What???  You want me to put this antique-1920's-can't-find-one-like-it-anymore-chair in a modern indoor/outdoor fabric? You're crazy, I won't do it.  And, oh by the way, you need twice as much fabric and I happen to have some lovely options on my showroom floor starting at $30/yd.  You want a traditional print in a very small scale in muted colors."

At this point there was much discussion about the crazy fabric I chose.  Yes, I knew it was indoor/outdoor.  I chose it because I have a dog and a toddler and we wanted more dogs and toddlers.  She's pretty, but she needs to function if she's going to have prime real estate in my house.  If when coffee and milk get spilled I need those drinks to bead up and wipe off, not soak in and stain.  And, no, I did not in fact want a small print in muted colors.

You can probably guess how this story goes.  Since I'm already showing you pictures of Arabelle's new digs.  The Hubster and I ordered even more fabric, found a local upholsterer with a fabulous reputation and had them do the job instead.

They didn't question.  They did beautiful work.  They charged a lot less.  And we received half of our fabric back because they didn't need so much.

So now, if you come visit me, you are more than welcome to visit Arabelle as well.  You will have to fight off a dog, a toddler, the Hubster (in that order) to have the chance to rest your buns here...but she is definitely, hands down the most comfortable seat in the house.  She is vintage...antique even...but she serves her purpose well.  And she's not too formal to hang out with my garden stool from Tar-jay and my end table from Kirkland's.

Have you ever considered reupholstering a thrift store or estate sale find?  If not, I encourage you to consider it as an option the next time you're in the market for new furniture.  Often times vintage furniture has sturdier frames than their modern counterparts.  And when you reupholster you have your pick of all the fabrics in the world, can customize your piece with details like contrasting welts, and even alter the firmness/softness of the cushions.  The result is a piece of furniture that truly suits you and your taste and is one of a kind.


  1. I love this! I do have a taste for vintage but as soon as we buy a home is when I can do anything. Until then what i have works and its super comfy as well.

    1. Thanks Kali! We still have the same sofa and chair we had in California...I'm with you, it still works! But we're having so much fun peppering in the new finds as we come across them. And I'm loving the juxtaposition between the old and the new. :)

  2. she looks lovely! way to stick to your guns and I love the idea of using indoor/outdoor fabric for your exact same reasons! we've got a pair of vintage chairs that will eventually get recovered - filing that idea away... ;)


    1. Thanks Heidi! I also have reupholstering my breakfast nook chairs on my list...we're using an Amy Butler laminated cotton for those. That way they will be pretty, but I can easily wipe off all the sticky foods that magically accumulate every day. We should be doing those soon...I'll be sure to post pictures when they're done. :)