Every now and then I’ll come across a project that is a little bit out of my league, at least in terms of the DIY factor. Take this mid-century side chair as an example. I stumbled upon the piece while scouting at Galaxie Modern for a new-to-us lounge chair for the living room. Our search for a lounge chair was successful, and I also happened to spot an extra goodie that day—the bare chair frame you see below.
The piece had originally been painted a dark green, but Galaxie Modern owner, John, painstakingly took the time to strip the frame of the paint and managed to bring it back to its former glory. The only problem? In the process, John lost track of the seat and back cushions, having just the stained and mildewy support pictured below. I spent a little bit of time contemplating all that would be needed to make this chair useable again (i.e. reconstruction, fabric selection, reupholstery, etc.), but ultimately decided to shell out the necessary 20-odd bucks to make the frame mine and then hit the ground running with plans.
The main issue that I ran into while researching options was the curved back of the chair. The one cushion that I did have didn’t seem to fit the silhouette of the chair quite right, so after a while, I threw my hands in the air in defeat realizing that this wasn’t something that I was going to be able to DIY and took it downtown to my go-to upholsterer, Phil’s Upholstery.
Tim was my guy this time around and he took one look at the frame and knew what to do. Although I don’t have all of the details since I chose to just let him get to work without bothering him with questions, rumor has it that he had to soak the custom-cut wooden supports in a bucket of water for days and days to make it all bend and fit in place.
Since I was in no rush—and neither were they—the chair came back to me several months later, but in perfect condition. The fabric I chose was a subtle, extra soft zig zag herringbone type pattern, and makes curling up with a cat and a book a daily temptation. The finish is a little like suede or microfiber, where you can swipe your hand in one direction and see a darker version of the fabric, and swipe in the opposite direction for a lighter one.
All in, the frame cost something like $25 (this process has been going on since November, so I can’t quite recall the exact figure), the fabric was about the same and the reupholstery clocked in around $125. A completely custom, completely rebuilt mid-century era side chair with brand new fabric, supports and padding for less than $200? I couldn’t possibly be more pleased.
Locals, definitely be sure to check out Galaxie Modern and go into your tour knowing that Tim at Phil’s Upholstery can bring your visions to life. Oh, and in case you were wondering, not a single word was sponsored in this post. I’m just a big, big fan of these two local shops and can’t sing their praises loud enough!
P.S. NON-locals can get in on the action, too, since Galaxie Modern also has an Etsy page! Check it out here.