Okay, here it is… My husband’s birthday is 2 days after Christmas, which sometimes presents a problem. Christmas gifts from me are generally whatever someone wants, but when it comes to your birthday I prefer to give something more personal. This is the story about his birthday present this year, his hideous old family wing back chair, and my hesitation about the project.
The history of the chair goes like this… The chair originally belonged to Andy’s grandmother: 1925 is about as near as anyone can figure for how long it has been around. At four years old, Andy’s grandfather used to sit with him, in that chair, and teach him how to read. When his grandparents passed away, somehow Andy’s sister ended up with the chair. She had it recovered to the current country blue with tiny pink flowers. When she didn’t want the chair anymore she offered it to Andy, and now for many years, this chair has floated from room to room not fitting in anywhere. The colors were all wrong. My colors of course are fall colors, and Andy’s colors are mostly black, silver and grey, with a touch of ultra blue. Andy was doing some cleaning out and was considering giving the chair back to his mother (97 years old) so that someone else could claim it. But I didn’t want him to give up on his sentiment for the chair so I convinced him to let me see what I could do with it. Originally I was going to cover it with a re-purposed charcoal colored wool moving blanket, so it could go back in his home office, but… I was watching what everyone was doing to upholstery with Chalk Paint, and going back and forth in my mind because I wondered what would happen over time, if he sat in it and the paint cracked or started peeling off, or worse. I eventually decided that I would try painting it, and ultimately… I’m so glad I did. His fond memories of his “Good” grandfather teaching him to read are preserved in that chair, (now a soft weathered grey), that now sits in his home office, where he can cozy up in it any time he wants.
I also made a little throw pillow to go with the chair. You can see it in the last photo of the chair. I scanned the drawing that Andy had done in 1975 (on notebook paper), and printed it out on fabric to make the pillow top. The original drawing is framed and hangs in my laundry room and I love it!
Here are some photos of the chair during the process and the pillow. I hope you Enjoy!
The original fabric… fade spots everywhere, but still in good condition.
I started with the bottom of the chair
The first of three coats working from outside in towards the back
Look at the contrast!
The third coat and a very wet chair!
The chair is dry after 3 days, now a light sanding. Yep, sanding.
My finished present, and it looks like it was always this color.
The original 1975 drawing of “Mouse House”.
The final touch.
Well… what do you think?