Friday, February 17, 2012

Deconstructed Chairs

My deconstructed chair
Marcy of Antique Chase blog~ her deconstructed chair.
This pretty little white washed french chair started getting a makeover by Marcy
and she ran out of steam.  This chair sparked a conversation on Facebook which you can read at the source.  Marcy's chair is partially covered in a vintage shabby chic couture fabric with exposed modern staples~Question is, what do you think of the staples exposed look? Is it bad that they are new staples?  Must they be antique tacks?  I like how it looks like this, and think she should continue on with the back of the chair.  Of course it would be simple to finish if off with one more step of gluing on some gimp to cover the raw edges. What would you do?  Are you a slave to society?
Which led me back to thinking of my french chair and what I was going to do with it.
The story of the deconstruction starts here~
this was like getting a history lesson as I took apart the upholstery.
A hundred little spider nests cuddled together in a corner 
A section of broken jute webbing showed the straw stuffing used in this antique chair.
I was so busy taking off the seat cover I didn't take a photo 
until I had removed the outer layer of the tapestry and the following layer of muslin.
  Then under the muslin was soft cotton batting laid 
over the burlap I could see peeking through underneath.
Inside the burlap you can see the staw.  
Also note the holes from the removed iron tacs.
 The burlap had long running stitches of heavy string 
that held straw and cotton batting  that made up the cushion. 
In retrospect I wished I had stopped at this point.  
At the time my intention was to totally reupholster this chair. 
 The front of the seat had caved in and needed rebuilding of the underlayers.
There is something very pretty about the simplicity 
of the chair in this state. The gilding and the raw burlap
 together~there is rustic romance to it~
I plowed ahead and removed the burlap with its matt of straw 
which you can see on the floor.  Next came another layer of 
burlap which was to cover the coiled springs.  
But as you can see they had burst through the burlap.
This was really messy and dirty.  A big black trash bag 
was at the ready to contain the discards.
The coiled springs are tied off and nailed to the frame 
and it all sat on top of criss crossed jute webbing that
 had purple and pink colored stripes! 
How perfectly Maison Decor!
Many of the strings had broken and come loose from their tethers. 
So I pulled it all off and removed the rest of the tacks with it.
Onto the back part.  Here is the little tool I bought at Joanne' Fabrics 
to remove the tacks and the nailheads. 
I put a piece of cardboard underneath as not to damage the gilded frame.
The layer of muslin is revealed underneath the tapestry.
Ah! Why didn't I leave this part like this??? 
It looks so pretty to me~but I can't cry over spilt milk.
One last look~see all the tiny tacks holding the muslin in place?
Then under the muslin is the staw and then the burlap
 which has the same stuff the bottom had,
so we won't need to look at that~
The antique coverings were sold in a heartbeat on my etsy shop.
 This chair is very similar in decoration to my chair.  
I only wish my tapestry had my colors of the soft pink, 
lilac and green on cream that this beauty has. 
When you are finished reading this and would like to 
see more deconstructed chairs, like the one above, 
click on the source above to take you to a great post on the topic.
My original plan, which still remains, 
is to upholster the chair to resemble this one at Annette Tatum's home. 
 I would like to do it in pale pink linen, not cream.
For now my deconstructed chair sits in its naked state~
pretty to look at even so.



  1. It's beautiful Amy! I love the frame by itself too- it makes it's own statement as it is. :)

  2. Amy ~ We have lots to discuss... the guts of your chair and all. I will be back. Off to get my son's wisdom teeth out... but I wanted to thank you thank you for featuring my chair... I hope we hear what people think about the staples. I am looking at the chair in a whole new light... okay, more later!!

    Marcy :)

  3. Isn't it amazing how much "stuff" goes into these old babies?! that was super interesting to watch the deconstruction and I think your chair is going to look fantastic when it's reconstructed! Beautiful frame. xo wendy

  4. Holy moly, that looks great! I LOVED watching the deconstruction...truly a history lesson. You asked about the shabby chair with the staples? I'd like it better with nailheads. It's Rachel's fabric and it looks great otherwise. Staples just don't turn me on!



  5. Nailhead for me too. Amy you are amazing and inspiring. I can't believe how much you get done. Ordered the aquamarine candles-such beauties...Deb

  6. I have reupholstered a lot of chairs and have always loved the way they look in their deconstructed state. Around here though people always wanted them with fabric...go figure!?!?! LOL...They really are works of art :o)

  7. Great post! It is a beautiful chair. Love it without fabric and it will look gorgeous with.

  8. The chair looks awesome deconstructed. It reminds me of the trend of setting out picture frames with no picture in them--can't wait to see what you do with it!

  9. I love your plan to reupholster your chair in pink linen against the gold paint. That is a very pretty inspiration picture! I think it will fit in your home perfectly. It's interesting to see what went into the chair originally. They sure don't make them like that anymore!

  10. It is going to be beautiful! I have on deconstructed chair and a partially reconstructed settee in my studio...been there since before Christmas. I need to get moving again on them.

  11. I think these are all great chairs, Amy! I do love your chair, even deconstructed. Marcy's chair is neat, too, and I hope she will continue with it. I don't think there is anything wrong with the staples, but I would probably just glue a flat trim or something over them. That's just me, though.

  12. Wow even just as a frame, its a work of art or sculpture. I do love the idea of pale pink linen, that could be really really pretty!! Leave it up to you to have the vision....cannot wait to see what you do!

  13. I agree with the other comments that the chair is beautiful even as is. I think your idea of unpholstering it in pink linen sounds exqusite, though. Looking forward to see what you do with it.


  14. Amy your chair looks beautiful even in it's naked state! LOVE that last shot!!

  15. Really interesting post, Amy. I am loving the chair and can't wait to see how you transform it!


  16. Beautiful Chair Amy, It looked cool with the burlap but one could not sit on it that way. It will be amazing when you are done with it.

  17. Pretty chair in its deconstructed state! Looking at the stuffing was making me all itchy! ;P


  18. Hello Amy,

    LOVE the look of your deconstructed chair!! Not so thrilled with the modern staple look, but really love her chair and the fabric.

    Janet xox
    The Empty Nest

  19. Amazing! You don't realize the work that goes into this until you see it. The structure of the chair is so beautiful as it stands, and then add fabric.. perfection. Well done and thank you for sharing this.


  20. Isn't wonderful to see how well constructed chairs were made years ago? You amaze me with how much you take on..I thought I was handy but you are the best! Can't wait to see the final presentation of the chair!

  21. Amy, I meant to comment on this post... I love this chair exactly the way it is right now... it's like a sculpture or art... i don't know, but i always love looking at it...


  22. Hi Amy... Love your beautiful chair deconstruction story here and the photos are great! Such an interesting project. I also love the way the seat and backing structure were created in like a rounded mound shape. Curves are always good! How old do you think it is?

  23. I do not like the look of the staples, tacs would be much better! I would glue on some trim and finish it that way, the fabric is beautiful.

    It is a very messy job deconstructing chairs, I usually leave it if it's in good condition, but that's not always possible. I think a pale pink would be perfect for that chair.

  24. About Marcy's deconstructed chair: Yes, I would finish off the stapled area with gimp...unless she never plans to have anyone sit on the chair. I can just imagine someone sitting on it and snagging their clothing with the exposed staples. As for your deconstructed chair, it is quite lovely "as is"...acting as a piece of art. But I'm sure it'll look wonderful with the pink linen too!


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