Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When Goodwill's ugliest chairs take up temporary residence in my home

One evening a month or so ago, as I was out and about by myself (rare!), I swung into Goodwill.  It was a spontaneous stop (I had just read about and seen pictures of some crazy amazing junk transformations) and my purchase was even more spontaneous.  Because I really wonder if I would have bought these beaut's if it had been a normal day of the week.
But no, it was a day I was feeling antsy to get my hands dirty and make something beautiful.  A day I craved a creative challenge.  So...
I came home with Goodwill's ugliest chairs.

No seriously, they were ugly!
I got into my van and actually laughed at myself.  I couldn't believe I was bringing Goodwill's ugliest chairs home.

Behold the peeling, faded, 80's-upholstered ugliness.

Really, the pictures do not do them justice.  They looked like they had been on your Grandma's neighbor's back patio, covered in cobwebs, beaten by the sun, and washed in the rain for the last 30 years.

But I thought I saw their potential.  Aren't those curvy lines the coolest?  And get this - they swivel!  And they're actually pretty comfortable. At $5 each, I just couldn't pass them up. I had an itch, remember?  I couldn't wait to transform them!

The first thing I did was wash, then lightly sand the frames.  They each got primer and a few coats of white lacquer spray paint. In all honesty, they probably could have used another can each, but I'd already emptied three cans onto each chair!  My fingers were sore, and I was trying to be cheap!

The next step was fabric. I was picturing a modern fabric in blue or green with white lines, perhaps mimicking the lines of the chairs. Something like this Waverly fabric:

But alas, I live in Flagstaff and our fabric pickings are slim. Plus, I was trying to find something on sale.  I came home with something I liked well enough, but wasn't in love with.

When it was time to reupholster the cushions (btw, I have never done anything like this before), I thought I was being so clever and so meticulous to take apart the cushions, trace them onto newspaper, and carefully plan out the placement for each "pattern" onto my fabric.

I thought that was the hard part, since I had opted to do without piping or zippers.
I thought that was, until I started sewing.
Once again, the curves had me muttering under my breath something about putting square objects into round holes.  I do not have any idea how the original cushions edges looked so smooth because mine were filled with ripples and puckers.

Anyhow, behold Goodwill's ugliest chairs now:

I'd say they are a lot less ugly.  Kind of pretty, actually.  

If I could do it again though, I'd go with an off-white paint, or a fabric with crisp white in it.
I was initially less than pleased with my upholstery work, but once I quit staring at them so closely, like I was when sewing them, I got over it.
So, not too shabby.  
But then I realized they wouldn't work in the space I had imagined them in.  I just don't have the room in my sitting area, or out on the patio, for two chairs.  Darn!

I moved them outside for a while, but got tired of the cluttered patio.  
I put them up for sale on Craigslist.
It is with slight reluctance that I will watch them go.  
I put a lot of hours into those chairs. And I do like them. 
But not enough.

Next time, I will buy the fabric I love.  
Actually, next time, I will probably leave the upholstery work to the professionals.

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