Making old new [a lovely chair]

About three years ago I snatched a chair off of the side of the road. Yep. I did that. Every so often we have bulk trash pick up by the city where we can throw just about anything our little hearts desire out onto the side of the road for the city to pick up (and for all the world to see). I am very particular about when this trash goes out on the curb. We get the notice that we can start depositing trash about a week before it is scheduled to pick up. A week!!! That means there is a free for all with everyone’s junk for that week. Because I don’t feel real comfortable with people going through my stuff, I usually wait until the night before to put it out. However, I am happy that other people don’t wait because I snagged up this beauty from my neighbor three years ago. (And by I, I mean Matthew, because there was no way I was pulling this piece of junk across the street to have people judge me.)

Now I know what you are thinking…Haley, that’s not that bad. Well…that’s actually a progress photo. I seem to have deleted the photo of the chair in its original condition. But trust me, it was a sight. The cushion that was on it and been shredded to pieces. Apparently the dog thought it was the dirt and was trying to dig a hole in it. And the webbing (I don’t actually know what it is called) that supported the back had a huge hole in it. It looked like the dog tried to jump through it at one point. So trust me – this chair was much worse! The above photos were taken after I had removed the cushion and cut most of the webbing away.

I had big, big intentions of making this chair beautiful, I just had to find the time and the inspiration. I held onto it for three years. I even convinced Matthew to move it to our new house in May. [Love you!] And then found this while perusing the world wide web. Take a look at that old chair and see what they did with it! Just the inspiration I needed to get started on my own project.

So I ordered the fabric and cotton webbing from, bought my Valspar paint and nailhead trim from Lowes and got to work. I had blisters from removing all of the wedding around the chair. I don’t know it there is a trick or not to getting it off. I just used some good old fashion muscle and perseverance. I then sanded, primed, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, painted, and polyurethaned until I was satisfied. The below picture is one of the stages of painting, before the polyurethaning.

After letting the char dry for 24 hours, I got to work on the cotton webbing and nailhead trim. I decided to do all of the verticals before the curve first. I let them hang down, knowing i was going to pull them tight and staple at the end of the project. As I got to the curves on the chair I used a continuous piece for the verticals and horizontals. I then finished off with a few more verticals and got to work on the horizontals. Now originally I had planned to space the weave out a bit more, but when I started actually putting the webbing on the chair, I decided to go with a tighter weave and I ran out of cotton webbing. I had to order more which put a delay in my project, but after the holidays, it was probably alright to rest a little while I waited for the rest to come in.

Well I am glad to say that today is finally the day. I FINALLY finished my chair. It’s been a project three years in the making and I am so pleased with how it turned out. Is it perfect? Nope. But it is mine and I did it…and that…I am proud of. I love this chair.

And a little context in the room:

Our couch is a red color that closely matches the red color in this fabric. So when I originally ordered it, I ordered enough to make some throw pillows for the couch. I also pulled out a little chevron fabric that I had and will be making some smaller throw pillow out of it. But that’s a project for another time!

15 thoughts on “Making old new [a lovely chair]

  1. This chair is so stinkin’ amazing! I love the shape of the frame and you’ve made it so beautiful with all the color and texture. Job super well done!

  2. Haley! Bravo! I absolutely love it. Seeing potential in an old chair and then bringing it back to life is such a fun creative process (even if it does take three years). 🙂 The next time we visit Texas, I want to come see the whole of your adorable house!

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  6. May I ask if you filled the sline groove in with wood filler. I am working on something similar and can’t figure out how to hide the groove in the arms.

    • I am not sure what you mean by “sline groove” but I did not use any wood filler for this project. I am assuming it would work though.

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  9. How much cotton webbing did you use on he whole chair? I just inherited a dining room table and chairs. But the chairs have a few broken backs. I think I may attempt to use the webbing and weave the backs as you did (LOOKS SOO AWESOME BY THE WAY)

    • Hi Tara,
      I used about 10 yards of cotton webbing for the back of the chair and it probably slightly larger than a standard dining chair back, if that gives you an idea. I just took a tape measurer and guesstimated how much I would need. Hope that helps. I would love to see what you end up doing with your chairs!


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