MY RETRO COUCH AND CHAIR GET A MAKEOVER

I showed you the 1960s sofa and chair I picked up at a thrift shop a few years ago in a previous post. They were a great find for a great price – only $65 for both. I used them in my photo studio for a year and since then, they were being stored in my parent’s basement. For months I hummed and hawed about whether to have them reupholstered and use them in the new living room or if they were destined to be old basement furniture forever.

Retro couch and chair.

Retro couch and chair.

I really liked the original orange textured fabric but it was quite worn and stained in spots and needed new foam. Our options were either to spend money on a brand new sofa and chair or invest in my original 1960s vintage set and give them a makeover – we decided on the latter. I knew of a local upholsterer who had redone a bench seat for me a few years ago which turned out great. I contacted her to find out if they were worth making over and to get an idea of the types of fabrics that might work well. Upholstery fabric comes in such a wide range of colours, prints, textures and prices. Each fabric sample that she showed me had a number on the tag that gives the amount of ‘rubs’ it held up to, the fabric world’s wearability code for strength testing. I learned that fabric is rubbed back and forth to estimate the wear and tear of someone actually sitting and getting up on the fabric. If a fabric holds well for more than 15 000 rubs than it is considered a more heavy duty fabric. I thought I was set on doing the sofa in grey and the chair in a turquoise like the sample on the right, but I ended up really liking the brighter chartreuse green on the left for the chair instead. That fabric had a great rub score (100 000 rubs if I recall correctly) so it should stand up very well to people, kids, the odd spill and a dog (who won’t be allowed on them but will likely sneak a nap on them when we’re not home.) And to top it all off, the price was right at $29 a yard.

fabric choices

fabric choices

When upholsterer extraordinaire Deb was ready, I stuffed the sofa in my SUV (amazingly it fit) and brought them to her work studio.

The sofa, delivered and waiting to be made over

The sofa, delivered and waiting to be made over

and the chair...

and the chair…

I was able to check them out after Deb had removed all of the old fabric and foam and bring it down to their original frame. The springs on the couch and chair were in good shape so they didn’t have to be replaced.

The sofa down to its bare bones

The sofa down to its bare bones

The wood looks as good as new

The wood looks as good as new

Rebuilding the sofa and chair included adding a layer of a burlap type fabric, strong felt, webbing on the arm rests, a fresh layer of foam, and finally, the lovely new fabric…along with perfectly placed new buttons on the backs.

Button back sofa

Button back sofa

Deb even touched up the wood in a walnut stain which really finishes off their new look.

Walnut stained wood base and legs

Walnut stained wood base and legs

They look amazing. I suspected that they would transform nicely but wow, they really are beautiful. I am so glad I decided to have them redone rather than buy new. Here they are at the upholsterer’s studio when I picked them up.

The couch made over ready to leave the upholsterers

The couch made over ready to leave the upholsterers

 

The chair gets a new colour

The chair gets a new colour

And here they sit once again in my parent’s basement until the house is ready.

AFTER photo of reupholstered vintage sofa and chair

AFTER photo of reupholstered vintage sofa and chair

I will of course add a photo of them once they are in their intended space – the living room of the new house where they will shine.

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