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The Dandelion Chair

Remember when we picked out fabric swatches for our to-be-tweaked living room? We successfully used the white vinyl on that $2 chair, we’ve yet to make new pillows, and we waffled on the grey we chose for the reupholstering of the lovely chair. (But hey, we got 1 out of 3, and that ain’t bad.) The lovely chair is okay from afar, but up close, the brown nubby fabric was worn, pilled and outdated. And not in the cool, retro way; rather, in an old-timey, musty way:

We’re no longer sold on the pillow fabric (it’s a maybe), and since we shared the thick, grey canvas for the lovely chair, we ping ponged back and forth over neutral (for us, grey) or color (teal! green! yellow!). Because Scott needed a visual to decide – and because my indecision was enough to keep me awake at night – we took to our Pinterest boards. And (not so) funny enough, I’d been pinning color, color, color. Velvet color, too.

We wouldn’t be going as bold as I’d been pinning, but for the sake of making this difficult, I loaded a basket full of new swatches from Fabric.com in neutrals and colors. Then, we went to the Textile Discount Outlet (be still my heart!) and picked up a few more swatches. Again, in neutral blues and greys and colors. Then I grabbed 3 more swatches from West Elm while perusing the rugs – how I went from rugs to upholstery fabric, I’m still not sure. But after a handful of weeks collecting swatch after swatch, we had this:

You can see that we were leaning towards teals and yellows when it came to color (because Scott nixed my hot hot pink suggestion, ha!), and by now, we had a mix of durable canvas, vinyl and velvet. While we liked the idea of tough canvas, we didn’t like the idea of 100% cotton (it would stain too easily), and while the vinyl worked on our $2 chair, we thought it might be too hot/sticky on a whole chair.

This easily eliminated half of our choices, and we both warmed to the idea of velvet for several reasons: 1) it’s self healing to potential kitty claws (although they’re not much of furniture scratchers, so we should be okay), 2) it’s soft and cozy, 3) it’s a durable polyester, more resistant to spills and such, and 4) to be honest, it came in the most perfect shade of neutral-y, color-y yellow:

The winner? Dandelion from West Elm. Which, by the way, we never knew you could actually purchase fabric by the yard from West Elm (and we can only assume a slew of other big names, too, right?). It’s color, but it’s subtle. It’s also slightly mustard-y, an ode to the mid-century piece it is. We’d also like to sand down the wood frame – it’s pocked with worn patches and drink rings – and buff it with oil (if the wood is nice enough) or stain it a warm, dark walnut.

But the toughest part of this process is the wait. Yup, you can pick up fabric by the yard from West Elm, but it’s going to take a while. Because it’s a special order item shipped directly from the manufacturer, it could take up to 10 weeks. But good gracious, we’d already taken 2 months to settle on a color, so what’s a few more (we say with trepidation)?

How do you lean? Color or neutral?

Pins via Emily Henderson, Frankly Esoteric and The Handmade Home.

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - October 2, 2012 - 7:12 AM

    Ooo, I think that is just so sweet. I love it! I never knew you could order fabric from West Elm either! That’s something new to chew on. But 10 weeks? Yowza. Although we waited 12 for a couch once and while during the wait I was maybe complaining here and there. Maybe. (haha) Once it arrived, the wait was totally worth it and I realized how short 12 weeks, or 10 weeks for that matter, really is. As for leaning toward color or neutrals…oh dear, this comment is getting lengthy…I just discovered that although I shot “Color!” from the rooftops, I really do prefer it in small bouts. This chair. I can’t wait to see it!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - October 2, 2012 - 8:44 AM

    I can’t wait to see the finished product! I like a happy medium of color done in a soft shade. That yellow is perfection =)ReplyCancel

  • Sam - October 2, 2012 - 10:05 AM

    I’m headed to Chicago next weekend and Textile Discount Outlet is now on my agenda! My boyfriend thanks you in advance :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 2, 2012 - 10:07 AM

      Julia, we shout color from the rooftops too – but lately, we’ve been toning things down and allowing our art to be the standouts! In this case, we think the yellow really hits the nail on the head though.

      Carrie, us either! Ugh, just a few more weeks (er, months)…

      Sam, you will LOVE it. It’s awesome, just give yourself enough time! It’s madness in there, but in a good way.ReplyCancel

  • Staci @ My Friend Staci - October 2, 2012 - 12:30 PM

    West Elm fabric! No kidding?! I’m going to have to grab some swatches from them next time my couch is due for an upgrade (we got a cheap upholstery job and I’m envisioning needing new cushions in just a couple years–ouch!)
    But that’s so fantastic! I can see it being useful for hoarding a couple designs too, if you’re worried about them discontinuing a pattern ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - October 2, 2012 - 2:40 PM

    Love a nice velvety chair or couch. The yellow is pretty, it’s soft, like a baby chick color, maybe a bit darker. Good choice!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - October 3, 2012 - 1:11 PM

    oooh, I have a very similar chair I salvaged from my Grandma’s basement! I’ve chosen a very modern pattern for mine but still have yet to make the cushions. I can’t wait to see how the yellow turns out though!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 3, 2012 - 1:19 PM

    Chairs inherited from grandmas are the BEST.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy R - October 3, 2012 - 4:09 PM

    While I’m usually reading because of the doggy posts, this one was a great bonus! Went to the Textile Outlet today and found the perfect fabric for my dining chairs.Thanks so much for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 3, 2012 - 5:22 PM

    Wahoo! That’s awesome, Kathy!ReplyCancel

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