Friday, April 16, 2010

All in the Family

Quite a while before B even moved North to Canada, my Aunt had inquired as to whether I would like to have my Grandmother's old dining room set. I didn't have to think too long before I agreed to take it on. Not only does it hold memories, as it once belong to my Dad's mother, but it also spent a great deal of time at my Aunt's house, where many family meals and gathering's take place. It had been part of the family for so long, it just made sense to keep it there. On top of that - free furniture? Yes please! Even better, it's absolutely solid! For nothing we got a large table with a leaf, six chairs and a dining room hutch. The only catch? It needed a little TLC.

Now, the downside to this post - I wasn't very forward thinking, and neglected to take a before photo of the dining set. To give you a basic idea, I came across this photo of a set that had been available at a Habitat for Humanity Restore in our area. It looks pretty similar to my grandmother's set.

So, as nice as it was, it really didn't fit with my taste. The other issue was that the fabric on the chairs needed to be changed, and a lot of the finish on the table itself was lifting, so I knew it was time for a complete overhaul.

The whole process started quite a long time ago. July of 2008 to be exact. The set had been sitting my parents garage for quite some time when I decided to start looking at the chairs and come up with a plan for them.

Here's some "detailed" before shots of the chairs on that day, oh so long ago:


The detailing at the top of the chair was just not me, so I knew that there would need to be a solution to cover it all up. That day in particular though, was more a matter of how to get the upholstered piece out of the back of the chair. These chairs were seriously good quality, so it took some creativity on my/my mom/my father's part to get that piece out of the first chair. In the end we used an exacto knife, a screwdriver, a hammer and eventually a jigsaw to get the fabric, foam and wood panel out of the middle of that chair, and after a few hours, it eventually looked like this:

*Phew*! I'm exhausted just remembering that evening. I also remember wondering "How long with this stupid project take, if getting the back out of ONE chair took a whole evening?". Well, let's just say it was finally finished around October of 2009 (which is when the chairs were done... the table was completed much earlier). Thankfully, I had the help of B (who did the majority of the sanding and all of the staining of the table and chairs) and my Mother, who I worked diligently with to come up with a creative solution for recovering the chairs.

It took a lot of out of ALL of us, and if I remember correctly, my parents actually brought the last two chairs with them when they came to Thanksgiving dinner at our place back in October! It was well worth all of the effort and time though, as our dining table now looks like this...

The hutch from the set is a whole other story. Our house is not nearly big enough to make use of it, so it sits in our garage, unused and not refinished - waiting for the day we move to a bigger home.

Not too sure what the interest would be in putting up some more detailed posts on the process of restaining and reupholstering these pieces. As much as I could write something, there would be no pictures of the process. If you're interested in more info though, please let me know!


  1. What a cute update! They look so modern and fresh, the sewing is perfect! Did your mom do it?

  2. Thank you so much! My Mom did all the measuring and pinning, and she put me in charge of the sewing. She's taught me well. ;)

  3. wow, you did a great job! i wish i could sew!

  4. Not only do the chairs look fantastic - they are really, really comfortable!!
    (Remembering the marathon trivia game on Thanksgiving:))

  5. What, are you nuts! You did such a great job you have to share the whole process! Just do a little quick and dirty post on it!

  6. Of course you need to share! I'm intriged to learn how the curvy top became flat on the backs of the chairs. The set is really unique, wonderul job!

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