Old Chair Redo: The Gentleman | Redo It Yourself Inspirations : Old Chair Redo: The Gentleman

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Old Chair Redo: The Gentleman

I think I have this love affair going on. I can't help it because I think he is handsome and mysterious. 

It all started when I went junking on a wintery spring day. My usual... looking for wrought iron and other metal pieces... 

when there, on top of an old bus (I wanted to take that home too, but hubby said no), I saw a leg of this chair sticking out.  

NO WAY!  An old wooden chair!  With leather and nail tacks and... a handwritten price tag of $100....?

"huh?" Who would toss out this sweet ol' thing? 

I don't know how long it was there, but the weather damage was severe. 

There is something about this old chair that makes me all "gah-gah". If it weren't for the rips and getting slivers from touching it, I would have left it as is. 

Looking closely at it... many parts of it appeared to be handmade. 

The backrest and the seat were filled with straw. 

I developed a deep admiration for it.  How old is it?  Who made it? Who sat on it? I tried to imagine its life in history.  Funny how your mind turns into wild scenarios while working on old pieces. 

I have no idea when this chair was born. I do know whoever built it, did a splendid job while carefully adding the gazillion tiny pointy nails. (joking... maybe a hundred) 

Because of my constant crush on the chair and its mystery, I decided to redo it close to the way I found it.  It won't be painted. Just "freshened up". 

Sanding took literally days. And too many more to keep count. The depth of the gray weathered wood and splits were tough to smooth out.  I could have taken a belt sander to it, but didn't want to chance losing any of its original character.  So, by hand, off and on over the last several months, I was getting to point of repair and stain. 

With glue and wood filler, I repaired splits. 

And tightened joints.

Then sanded again and stained. 

Then moved on to the backrest and seat. 

By adding this scrap beadboard, the seat will have support for an added cushion it didn't previously have.

Then upholstered it with my old suede leather coat and memory foam cushioning. 

I strategically placed the seam of the back of the coat in the center of the seat. 

Then moved on to the fragile caned area.  I would have left it if it wasn't ripped. But decided to use new material with a layer of 1/2" foam. 

To replace the cane, I used this vintage print fabric, stapled in, but still used the original woodwork. Then I felt like I should have left the canework and glued it... then hit up a farm for some hay to fill it. Guilt overwhelmed me. 

Not original, but will serve the hidden purpose. (sigh) 

Then I covered the backrest on the front and the back with more of the suede coat fabric and the original tacks.  I love the natural wear on them. 

The whole time, from finding this chair to setting him up for his photo shoot... I wondered... 

Mr. Chair: Who were you? Where were you? Did you occupy an author? Maybe you reaped in the odor of a tobacco packed smoking pipe in the evenings.  Perhaps enjoyed the fragrance of roses in the room? Or the aromas of steaming vegetables and bread baking from the kitchen? Ah, maybe a farmer sat on you while writing bills. Or, did you support a charming gentleman composing a love letter? Maybe even all of the above. I adore you. 

Well, Mr. Chair... I think you are handsome just the way you are.  I won't paint you. 

So, folks, there you have it. 

My secret crush for months! 

Featured at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House


  1. When I saw the name, I knew it was one of your creations, Robin. He's definitely a handsome guy! :)

  2. Ha, I couldn't resist! It's my "mystery man" chair :D!
    Thank you, Dee~

  3. It's beautiful! And it's amazing the difference *just* the sanding made. I love that you stayed with its original look. Very good job!

  4. The wood really came back nicely. My photos really don't give the chair justice. I regret not doing more to maintain the originality, such as straw stuffing. I'll know better next time.

    Thank you so much for stopping in, Chelsey :)

  5. GORGEOUS! And definitely sexy...definitely mysterious. I love it!! Thank you so much for swinging by Snickerdoodle Sunday and linking up- hope to see you again this Saturday!!

    Sarah (Sadie Seasongoods)

  6. Hi Sadie!

    Thank you so much. I'll be returning :)

  7. He's beautiful, and you did a great job honoring him and his history! I love the tiger-striped wood...looks British. Glad you didn't paint over it! Thank you for sharing this with us at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned! :)

  8. What a great find! I enjoyed reading your thoughts as you discovered this chair and gave it a new life. Thanks for joining us for Hump Day Happenings!

  9. your brain is just amazing! You saw that chair and saw it could be beautiful and you know 99.8% of the people would see firewood! awesome redo as always you are just so creative! Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle and btw, this was the most viewed post last week so will be featured this week!

  10. Hi!! I'm back! This was my fave post from Snickerdoodle Sunday and I'll be featuring it when the new link party goes live tomorrow afternoon! Thanks so much!

    Sarah (Sadie Seasongoods)

  11. Thank you so much, Joy!
    He is handsome :)

  12. Thank you for visiting, Jenna! So glad to be a part of your link up! Have a great weekend.

  13. Thank you :)
    Hubby tells me the same thing. He's not afraid to bring home strays for me knowing I'll do something with anything.

    I'm so excited for the feature! Can't wait for the next link up! Woo hoo!

  14. Wow! Thanks, Sarah! I look forward to it! See you Sunday~

  15. I absolutely love all your projects! Pinned. Lou Lou Girls

  16. Thanks so much, Kim! I really appreciate your visits and comments!

  17. Wow Robin. You did an amazing job with this chair. Filled with straw...it has to be really really old. Thanks so much for sharing it over at The Southern Special.

  18. Thank you, Trish. The chair is amazing. Being a handmade chair made it special. Thank you for the visit! Have a great week :)

  19. What a fabulous makeover!! Sorry it has taken so long to get here. I went out of town then came home and have been in bed sick and hoping to kick this soon. Thanks for stopping by!!

  20. I hope your visit with family wasn't ruined with being sick. :(
    I'm glad you stopped by! Thank you. Take good care and get better soon.

  21. Thanks for sharing this on my last Fabulous Friday party! the chair looks amazing after the transformation.Stop by this Friday for another party
    Thanks Maria