before & after: the governor lane chair

It took me a little longer than I’d hoped to get this post up, but here it is, in all its former glory: the Governor Lane Chair.

After the cushion was removed, and post stripping

Please ignore the boxes destined for the Goodwill or the recycle bin in the background….and the blurry shots.  We have horrible lighting for photos in our house.

Again, the chair is an awesome 3-legged half-barrel design, with a curve that hugs your back just right.  Its dingy, dark finish didn’t make it very inviting, nor did the musty horsehair cushion circa 1937.

One weekend I filled the chipped wood (where I could) and sanded the whole thing out in the yard.  The next weekend I spray primed it with a flat gray primer, because I’d decided to paint the chair a pretty Delft blue.  A good trick to know:  most spray primers are oil-based, which is great for wood furniture, since it seeps into the wood for a stronger bond.  You can then use easy-clean latex acrylic (water-based) paint for the top-coat.  Just don’t try using enamel (oil-based) paint over water-based primer.  It will turn ugly fast.  I painted 2 coats of blue over everything, waiting a couple of days, and sanding lightly between coats

What seemed like many weeks later (and it probably was), I put a 1/2″ layer of closed cell ethafoam (hard, for support) in the bottom of the cushion well, then a 2″ layer of high-density open cell foam (soft, for comfort) and a think layer of polyester batting to keep everything smooth.  With my trusty staple gun in hand, I stretched a layer of white muslin over the foam layers, pulling the cushion into a pleasing slight dome shape.  When that was done, I stapled some braided cord trim (the kind with the flange) around the soft triangle shape of the cushion.  Next, I stapled the upholstery fabric over the cushion, folding the edges under and lining the fold up with the corded trim before stapling.  The reason you want to have the layer of muslin is so that the cheaper, stronger muslin takes all of the pressure from the cushioning, so that minimal pressure is taken by the typically more delicate and way more expensive upholstery fabric.  This is usually not needed if you’re using a a sturdy fabric like canvas or linen, but can be nice to help smooth out the bumps and make it way easier if you decide to change out the upholstery without changing the cushions.

At this point, there are a lot of staples visible.  I’d tracked down some spring green satin ribbon I thought I’d glue over the edge of the fabric to hide the staples, but hot glue would make satin ribbon more dimensional than I wanted, and regular fabric glue just made it look wet all the time.  Instead, I took some upholstery nails I had left over from my sofa project (yes, that will be posted when it’s finished) in a lovely black pearl finish, and tacked the ribbon down along the trim edge, eyeballing about an inch between each tack.

The finished product:

The chair after...taken in this morning's weird Spring light

The paint is Martha Stewart Paint’s Azurite (#MSL 167) (the color on the website is not accurate, obviously, if you haven’t color-calibrated your computer screen) in an eggshell finish.  I bought a quart and still have plenty for another project or two.  The fabric is from Amy Butler’s Nigella collection, in Gray Passion Vine. I picked up the cord trim from Jo-Ann Fabrics, and found the ribbon (that matched the green in the passion flowers PERFECTLY) at Michaels Craft Store.  The black pearl upholstery nails, which have a nice dark pewter finish, were bought online from DIY Upholstery Supply.

Here’s a (slightly dark and blurry) detail of the trim:

Here’s a couple of photos of the chair in context in the living room, with Arthur hanging out, wondering why I’m photographing a chair.  He’s perched on one of our next projects, the camelback sofa.  (No, it will not be safari-tastic much longer….)

The red turtle lamp was a makeover of a hideous $25 (originally $50!) lamp from Fred Meyer (if I can, I’ll try to snag a cell phone photo of one in the store and do a mini post on the lamp), as was the little black bust of Verdi, picked up for $5 at Fremont Vintage Mall like, 3 years ago.  The cloth on the little IKEA side table is actually a napkin in a birdcage print from the Sand Point City People’s Mercantile (one of my favorite places to shop for table linens on sale!).

The big hulking black thing in the corner is our home-office cabinet from IKEA which we bought after a 3 month search for a desk solution that would allow us to keep my behemoth new iMac in the main living space without sacrificing too much style.  I won’t use it if I have to be hidden away in a back room.  The inspiration for it came  from the house tour of blogger Jordan Ferney, who got help from another favorite designer/blogger Jenny Komenda, of Little Green Notebook.  We probably won’t paint it like Jordan did, since the majority of our basic cabinetry in this room is IKEA black-brown, but Matt has plans to liven up the panels on the door with illustrated scenes of Around the World in 80 Days, possibly in a toile style.

Stay tuned for the de-safari-ing of the camelback sofa, and the upholstered pole mount system for our LCD television!


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