After finishing my Victorian Settee, I wanted a quick, fun project. My desk chair is a kneeling chair I got off craigslist for $15 2 years ago, and the cushions were shot. Simple and square, it was just the project I needed. Continue reading
This is the Before & After post for the Victorian settee I reupholstered in the Monrovia Community Adult School Upholstery Class. I described much of the process in three earlier project posts; this post is just the end-of-project wrap-up.
To Recap: I bought a traditional red Victorian settee on Craigslist with the intention of reupholstering it in a funky fabric. I thought it would be a quick job, but once I got it to class and de-upholstered it, we found that it needed a lot of repair and reinforcement.
I’m not a fan of painting wood furniture that’s in good shape, but this one had numerous patched and filled cracks, which a coat of black paint covered nicely. For the fabric, I chose a charcoal gray baroque print from an upholstery store in the downtown Los Angeles Fabric District. It was tricky to work with, and therefore not as much of a bargain as I’d thought, but after much work, under the guidance of our eminently knowledgeable and infinitely patient teacher, Donna, the settee is finished. The photos below show it in class the day I finished it (better lighting) and in its place in my home office. It’s right beneath a sunny window, and makes a wonderful place to sit and read.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last entry. I am a terrible blogger, but, thankfully, I’ve been a little more diligent with the Monrovia Community Adult School upholstery class. When last I posted, my poor little settee looked like something out of Restoration Hardware’s line of pre-distressed furniture. Now, it looks like no other settee around. (Reveal at the bottom of this post, after the break.)
Someone brought the Restoration Hardware Spring 2012 catalog to class last week. We were all mightily amused. They’ve come out with a line of “deconstructed” furniture which looks pretty much like most of the unfinished projects at class. Compare.
The difference? Restoration Hardware wants $2400 for their settee. That makes mine a bargain, even with the cost of classes and materials.
No Minimalist Here has a great post on the Deconstructed Furniture. The range of reactions in the comments is interesting, too.
After taking off the velvet, I removed a bajillion more tacks to get the muslin off. Then removed the cotton padding, and horsehair padding to reveal the inner structure of the settee. This is when the problems started to become apparent. As you can see, there’s really not a whole lot to the structure of the settee. A previous owner had reinforced the seat with seat with steal bars and wood blocks, but there was a break in the front. Also, the wood edges that I had to staple the upholstery to were full of holes and falling apart. The frame would need a lot of work before I could begin to reupholster it.
The close-up above illustrates the condition of the wood, and the effects of the previous repairs on the frame. This is the bottom edge of the center front of the settee seat.
Before we could start repairing the frame, I had to measure the height of the springs, and remove them, along with the roll of horsehair padding along the outer edge of the seat, and the two layers of webbing underneath the seat.
This shows the reinforcements and repairs. The newer wood and metal brace in the seat were added by a previous repairer. The white stuff is where I had to rebuild the damaged wood that the upholstery would be anchored too. Before adding the putty, I went over all the damaged wood with wood hardener. Donna glued the two pieces of wood shown here strapped to the frame, and then used wood screws to anchor them into the frame and reinforce the curve of the seat.
I brought the frame home over Thanksgiving break to finish filling in the damaged spots in the frame, smooth the exterior damage with wood putty, fill in earlier nail and tack holes with a mixture of wood glue and sawdust, and, finally, to paint over the whole thing so none of those repairs would show. The photo above shows the settee all primered and ready for a couple of coats of glossy black paint.
In Part 3, the painting…
I bought this beautiful Victorian settee for $200 on Craigslist in the summer of 2011. After I’d completed one semester of the Monrovia Adult School Upholstery Class, our wonderful teacher, Donna Martino, gave me the okay to work on this next.
The first thing Donna instructed was to clearly mark each piece of the original upholstery with its location and direction. I kept the original pieces, and will use them as a pattern to cut the new upholstery. Next, I pulled out the welting, and pulled the first layer of staples (I pulled LOTS of staples and tacs) to remove the red velvet and reveal the muslin beneath.
Inside, atop the mildewed old muslin, I found a fine yellow powder–it was the decomposed remains of some foam that had been added during the previous upholstery job.