A quick staining and updated upholstery has this 1970s desk chair looking good as new.
As it turns out, the key to living a repurposed life is having a high maintenance dog.
Meet Brooklyn. She is a unique creature. At the ripe age of six months, I looked out into the backyard only to find that she had organized her toys into a neat row along the fence. She has an obsession with leaves blowing in the wind. Never mind the squirrel running across the street, but there will be hell to pay if that leaf gets past her. Recently, she adopted the habit of pressing her nose to the doggy door exactly 3 times before exiting. Click. Click. Click. Exit. Every time.
All quirkiness aside, she shares the one true love of every canine: the walk. Being a boxer, a naturally high-energy breed, our walks are often long, but never languid. Seeing as how I acquire more furniture from the curb than the average folks, these walks have become rather essential. I equate these walks to browsing the clearance section, but instead of half off, my thrifty finds are free.
Recently while walking Brooklyn, I happened upon an office chair on the side of the road. Solid structure. Easy upholstery. Quick to sand and stain. I had to have it. I was about half of a mile from home at this point on my walk. My options were leave it and risk it being gone upon returning with the car or… let’s be honest. This wasn’t even an option. I’m not even sure it crossed my mind. The chair had wheels. It was coming home with me.
I was temporarily the neighborhood crazy lady, dragging the chair behind me with Brooklyn in front, putting as much distance between herself and my embarrassment as possible. It was well worth the awkward walk home. This chair, with its angular wooden arms and masculine leather upholstery, is perfectly mid-century modern.
This upcycle project was as simple as they come, which leaves me with no excuse for taking over a month to complete it. Life. It gets in the way of everything.
I began by removing the cushions. The top cushion maintained its original leather upholstery. Surprisingly, it was in excellent condition. The bottom cushion did not fare so well. Someone had reupholstered the bottom cushion with a mismatched fabric. That would need to go.
The wooden arms and legs of the chair just needed a simple stain job. After removing the cushions, I sanded the arms and legs with an electric sander. I sanded the hard-to-reach spots by hand with course sand paper.
In the midst of my sanding, I came across this little stowaway. Not today, my friend. I returned him to the garden and continued my sanding.
After sanding, I gave the now incredibly dirty chair a thorough cleaning with a damp cloth and allowed the wood to dry before applying the stain.
Using a rag made from an old t-shirt, I applied a dark walnut stain to the exposed wood. I preferred this method to the use of a brush as it allowed me to control the application of the stain along the skinny arms and legs of the chair.
For the bottom cushion of the chair, I purchased a faux leather material from my local fabric store. Bottom cushions are absurdly easy to reupholster. It’s as simple as stapling the new fabric over the old fabric and calling it a day. For more detailed information on how to upholster bottom cushions, see this previous post.
I reattached the cushions to the chair frame using the original hardware.
Done and done. Not bad for a $20 upcycle.