A DIY upholstery story…
Today’s story is about DIY upholstery. But really, it’s much more than that at its core. It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for “hopeless cases”.
As a physical therapist, I was drawn most to patients who had been told by someone or the other that “they couldn’t” or “they wouldn’t” or “they shouldn’t”.
Those bullies who said “you can’t” “you won’t”, “there’s no hope”, etc…those guys are like Biff. You remember Biff, right?
Back to the Future….remember that dude? The above picture is a refresher, just in case.
So, I happened upon this “hopeless case” kicked curbside a couple of years ago.
Of course, it couldn’t stay there. I took it into the rehab wing (AKA the garage). Admittedly, it was in bad shape.
Still, I knew that someday, this little baby could shine again.
But then, my husband….we’ll call him “Biff” in this story. Biff got home. He sees my new patient and says to me “Hey, what are you thinking McFly? You think you can fix this piece of junk up? Why you gotta be so gullible McFly?”
Oh, and before moving on, if you’re the type who loves decorating your home BIG time, but on a small-time budget? Then you’ll want to grab a free copy of “Builder-Grade To Beautiful: 10 Totally Transformative Home Decorating Solutions, All Under $100!” Click here or on the image below. Your copy will be sent right away!
I seethed. I waited for inspiration to strike. After two years, it finally did.
I live in the country, and happen to have kind of a thing for cowhide. I had wanted one of these sleek, modern-looking cowhide and chrome chairs for years. Do you know that kind of chair?
Like this one…the lovely Maison Jansen Style Chrome and Cowhide Chair for $2800. No, I did not just forget a decimal between the 28 and the 00. That’s really a TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLAR chair.
Not in your budget, you say? Then perhaps you should consider the “Spoleto Chair“. Yours for $1256. Talk about a “cash cow”.
Or, how bout this lovely lady? Gorgeous chair, to be sure. You can pick her up for $861…USED. That’s right, not only has this cowhide already been used by the cow, it’s been used by another human’s tushie as well! Sign me up!
So, hey diddle-diddle, I knew that unless those cows could actually jump over a moon, there’s no way “budget-conscious-Biff” would allow one of these bovine beauties to cross the threshold of our home.
Heavy on inspiration, and light on funding, the rehabilitation of my curb-side chair began.
Above is a catalog shot of an Ikea cowhide rug. Instead of paying full sticker price, I snagged one from craigslist for $70. Don’t worry, I scoped it out, and the sellers were very clean-type folks, and this rug was almost new.
Yes, I get it if you’d be totally skeeved about re-upholstering with a used rug…I kind of am, too, now that I’m reading that back.
BUT, at the same time, a new rug from IKEA, while still very reasonably priced (as far as cowhide goes), will still run you $200. So I opted (as usual) to be as thrifty as possible.
What’s great though is that no matter which rug I would have chosen, new or used, there is SO MUCH MATERIAL leftover for more DIY upholstery projects!
On a scale of 0-10, if 0 is napping on a beach in Hawaii, and 10 is climbing Everest, this project was about a 3.6. I’ve even written up a tutorial on tricks and tips for DIY upholstery with natural hides.
And I wrote about a super-stellar-simple method for removing rust from chrome. You’re gonna cry tears of joy when you see how easy it is. For now, I’ll just show you how it turned out, after taking the bull by the horns, as they say. It’s my big “take that” moment to that ol’ Bully, Biff.
BA-BAM! Knockout. Take that in the ol’ kisser, Biff-O.
I don’t know if you’d ever have guessed this beauty had been put out to pasture, once upon a time.
The chrome is shiny and wonderful again (mostly). And as far as the seat DIY upholstery goes, all that needed to be done was to cut (using regular old scissors) a piece of the rug, using the original fabric as a template.
Then, I warmed the cowhide up by ironing it, which made it easier to pull taut around the new seat frame. Finally, using a pneumatic stapler, I fastened the cowhide to the wood frame.
While I no longer treat living, breathing patients, a good redemption story is still something I live for.
Don’t tell me something isn’t worth saving, or fixing. Anything and anyone can be rehabilitated if given the chance.
You can quote me on that.
For now, I’ll sit here in my cowhide and chrome glory, relishing in my victory. I’ll count the money I saved, savor the “told you so” moment I had with “Biff”, and smile at the dignity I’ve restored to this little bull of a chair who is now fit for any china shop. It’s been a good day here at the Heathered Nest Center for Rehabilitative and Re-Uphosterative Medicine.
So, why not give it a try? Scout a little old chair on Craigslist, then DO “have a cow”, and give this project a try!
Please note, all references to the aforementioned “Biff” were made purely in jest. Anyone who knows my sweet as pie husband…since we’re speaking of cows here, would call “Bull-s$%^” on this character assassination, as he is truly the nicest guy around, and puts up with my malarkey on a constant, most agonizing basis.
Pssst…before you go, I sure would love to hang out with you again really soon! Sign up now and get a FREE copy of “Builder-Grade To Beautiful: 10 Totally Transformative Home Decorating Solutions, All Under $100!” Click here to enter your email or on the image below. Your copy will be sent right away!
Heather - dollarstorecrafts says
Brilliant! You totally pulled it off, and that wasn’t a totally easy upholstery job, either. Yay!
Jen Merlot says
I realize this post is from Jan of this year, but I simply had to say wow. That was a serious road side score! That chair is the real deal vintage. I have seen one re-upholstered in it’s original style sell for $740 on Etsy. And a set of 4 go for $1400. That should quiet the hubs. : )
Thanks so much! I’m totally in love with the chair still…it was definitely a diamond in the rough!! Happy holidays!
Hi, very good work!! ^_^