Soon after sharing our pairs of chairs, I began the process of ordering a handful of fabric swatches for our recent estate sale find. There was some definite push back on keeping them as-is (even having family give us a ring and claim that they loved them, just the way they were!), but! Allow us to explain? We’ve nothing against the mustard color, say, in our living room of yore, but for our living room of right now, it felt too much like all the colors! Blue, red and yellow together has been a bit much, even now as the chairs harmlessly sit in place and wait for their makeover. The fabric is nubby and somewhat scratchy, not to mention, there’s the unmistakable scent of old perfume and 50 years of dust. They’ve been loved once, and that’s half the charm of a good furniture upcycle! (We love imagining a great back story.)
In their new life, however, we’re going the mellow route. Their mid century shape has our hearts, but we wanted a fabric that wouldn’t compete with our loud-mouthed rug and sofa. And although our walls are a soft gray – sometimes warm, but mostly cool – we opted to choose a handful of swatches in a similar color family to keep the room feeling lighter overall. We’ll break up the monotony of gray with a pillow (or two) and a throw (or two), but we’ll allow the velvet couch to remain the seating star.
We shopped for swatches through our usual haunts – Fabric.com, West Elm and House Fabric – and with a 4 pet household, our main focus was durability! We narrowed our choices down to a couple of favorites, then we gave them a literal scratch test with a push pin. Anything with too loose of a weave was out (sorry, linens!), but we immediately honed in on two Sunbrella samples: Frequency Ash and Canvas Granite. Although they’re both outdoor fabrics, they were super soft to the touch, but most importantly, no matter how hard Scott ripped the pin across the fabric, they would not tear, pull or give in the least. In other words? Kitty safe!
In the end, we chose Sunbrella Frequency Ash (above), for the slight slub texture that was reminiscent of linen without the too-open weave, and it has enough interest to be a step above solid gray. After receiving a 7-yard estimate per chair from our favorite upholsterers (who will also be taking on the job), we made the purchase! While it wasn’t the least expensive option, we feel good knowing that Sunbrella is tough enough for the long haul, and in the end, the cost of upholstery + fabric + the chair price is still lower than a high quality, store-bought arm chair. Not to mention, they don’t make them like they used to! And of course we love a good rescue; no one else will have ‘em.
And now? We wait. We wait for the fabric to get here, and we wait for the upholstery team to work their magic. Waiting; the hardest part, they say!