This was a beautiful antique walnut rocking chair, done in the Eastlake style, but with some Victorian details. I especially like the fine reeded rails.
The fabric on the chair was worn, and the seat was starting to come apart, but the client wanted to keep the chair looking as close as possible to the same as what she had. I think we were able to find a very good match to her old fabric, and the finished chair looks great.
Before: (note that the platform had already been removed at this point)
While taking the chair apart, we found this:
The general style and quality seemed to say “Made in Europe” but the above photo confirmed this quite clearly.
The seat had been “repaired” or reinforced with an additional layer of later burlap.
Under this was the original edge roll, and the original (wonderfully striped) burlap.
Springs and the very tired/stretched webbing.
And the finished chair. The fabric isn’t the same as the original, but it’s the same colours, with similar florals.
This was quite a beautiful and exceptionally well made chair. It’s not terribly old (maybe 30 years old?), but it’s made in the style of old wing chairs from the late 1700s, and early 1800s. Old wing chairs typically have tall backs, rolled (cone/barrel/scroll) front arms, and thin bottoms (no springs, just stretched webbing, a bit of padding, and a feather pillow). In the style of older (and better quality) chairs, this wing has carved rear legs. The vast majority of chairs (of any style) will only have fancy front legs, since the back legs rarely show.
This chair was so nice that Pierre and I took down detailed notes, measurements, and construction information on the chair.
This was a chair that Pierre was working on while I was away, so I don’t have proper before photos. The webbing on the chair was the plastic kind (suggesting it may be a European piece). I can’t recall what the previous fabric looked like.
Look at the tight, precise joinery (notched and angled wing board).
Here are two small projects, both of which were for the same client. One is a simple upholstered headboard, and the other is a 3 panel room divider.
Before. This was covered in some kind of greenish gold burlap, with gold tacks oddly spaced around the edges (so they wouldn’t hit each other). I didn’t take proper “before” photos, so these are what I have.
Since light passes through burlap too easily, the inside was lined with old newspapers.
We welcome custom projects here at Lefebvre’s Upholstery. We can build for you a large selection of upholstered items, including benches, ottomans, headboards, etc. This is a very large (3 feet by 4 feet) storage ottoman that we designed and built for a client. The main box is made from maple veneered plywood, and the exterior is upholstered with black vinyl with a woven texture.
Main pieces before finishing.
Interior portions stained and lacquered. We did this before assembling the box, because it gives a nicer, smoother finish.
Vinyl pieces being cut to size.
And here’s the final product. This bench has a centre divider (to help carry the weight), and 2 hinged and upholstered top lids. The bottom feet are solid maple, stained in a dark walnut colour.
The tops are gently dimpled (no buttons) for a tufted look that is easy to keep clean.
Here are two simple chairs that Pierre had done years ago. The client wanted something new, and since these are now being used in a Travel business, she thought the Chinoiserie (oriental) toile was both beautiful, and appropriate. This project was done in August 2014.
To better match the new fabric, Pierre decided that we should lacquer the legs in an almond colour, which turned out beautifully.
Here is another chair from one of our favourite clients. This one is a chair made by Cooper Bros. from Toronto. I would say this chair is from around the 60s or 70s. Very well made, but in need of some help. This chair was done near the end of July 2014.
Please note how this wing was upholstered, and keep this image in mind when seeing the “after” photos below.
The current upholstery is not original. There are two easy ways to spot this. One is that the label was still visible through the thin white fabric which was upholstered right over the original, and the other is by the vertical seam down the centre back panel of the chair (you would not see this on an original piece unless it were upholstered in real leather).
Black tacks are also not a great way to attach the back. On old pieces, tacks are sometimes used, but they are painted to match the fabric. Otherwise, the back panel is usually hand-stitched in place on antiques.
The bottom webbing was completely collapsed.
We weren’t completely sure what happened with the wings. It looks like the chair never had a “filler piece” in between, and the last upholsterer made some really terrible ones.
The original label.
Chair completely stripped down. New webbing, and springs re-tied.
Bottom fabric installed. Note that we were able to save the original label and reattach it. We don’t do this often, but this client loves antiques, and we knew he would appreciate this.
We made new wing “filler blocks” and they were hand carved to fit in the frame.
Here’s how the wings fit AFTER! What a huge difference. We had to stitch them with an angled sewing line because of how the frame is made, but the effect is wonderful.
Here is the finished chair. We opted to go without the skirts for this chair, since it already had nice decorative tapered legs. It’s also not evident in the photos, but the chair has a custom made feather pillow, rather than foam.
It’s very hard to see in the photos, but the back is stitched with the original diamond pattern on the back of the chair that we found on the original foam (which was deteriorated – and replaced). There are also small buttons in the intersections of the design. This is a very shallow tufted design.
I am far behind on updates to the blog, but I will be making several “backdated” additions today.
This is the Project of the Month from this past July. This chair was an exceptional amount of work to put back together, because of the numerous layers, multiple steps, hand stitching, and repairs that were needed.
I’ve condensed this project down to a manageable 24 photos, but I had dozens more that were taken during the process.
This was a HEAVY chair. For the average person, it’s nearly unmovable. I’d say it weighs at least 40-60Lbs. Part of the reason for this (as you will see below) is that the chair has a massive wooden frame. Most of the wooden pieces are over an inch and a half thick, with the bottom rails being nearly 5 inches tall, and several inches thick. The hair also had a lot of heavy springs, and traditional horsehair stuffing (which is also quite heavy). The chair had been modified several times, and during our re-upholstery, we conferred with our client, and decided to return the chair as much as possible to the way it was originally.
The deep-tufted back was a later (foam) addition. This photo shows the majority of the original upholstery.
The front of both arms were originally round at the front, and someone cut them to be square.
The entire chair frame had been “repaired” by adding a large number of metal plates with lots of old wood screws. Despite all these added metal plates, the frame was loose and rickety, and we had to disassemble it and completely reglue it. It’s hard to tell the size/weight of the frame, but just compare the size of the springs to the wood. The springs are around 4″ wide on the ends.
Frame after repairs/re-assembly.
New webbing and spring ties.
Burlap, hand stitched to the springs.
Webbing on the back.
All the back springs were originally individually wrapped, and we redid this on the new upholstery. This takes more time than simply tying the springs to each other.
Because all the springs are basically “loose” from each other, they also need to be carefully hand tied to the base layer of burlap. Also note 3 large (very heavy gauge) lower lumbar springs. These were part of the reason that the client liked this chair.
First layer of stuffing (hair) and edge roll, hand stitched in place.
Second layer (horse hair/mixed hair).
With added cotton and muslin “rough cover”.
Arms repaired, and ready with rough covers, seat fabric installed (all painstakingly hand stitched under the piping band).
Arms upholstered, and base layer (edge roll) installed on the back (see white muslin) followed by main horsehair stuffing.
Cotton layer added, followed by rough cover.
And finally, after more careful stitching, positioning, buttons, panels, skirts, and a bottom fabric, we have the completed chair.
Here we have a really wonderful wing chair made by Centrac. This was a particularly fun chair to work on, because of the story that came with it. The client saw it by the curb, and decided to take it home. Her husband thought she was crazy, but when she brought it here for Pierre to have a look at it, she was overjoyed to hear that Centrac is a top quality manufacturer. They are apparently still in business today, but only make furniture/chairs for hotels (commercial grade).
This particular chair was a bit dirty, and had a torn-up arm, but it was in otherwise great shape.
You can see how this particular chair is “layered”. One layer of cotton, a foam, and another layer of cotton.
The original label:
It’s hard to make out, but it reads: Meuble de distinction Centrac Fine Furniture, Toronto, Ontario.
Here is a typical “straight back” on an otherwise nice and curvy back frame. Scroll down to see how we treat the backs on this style of chair.
The original plan for this chair was much different. Originally our client wanted a large print black and white houndstooth, with the legs refinished in black. Something along the lines of this:
We weren’t able to find any prints large enough from any of our suppliers, except for ONE, but it was 307$ per yard (YIKES!) and it was also discontinued. Instead, she looked at some other sample books, and decided on a nice green and teal paisley, and to go blonde with the legs.
As I was taking the panels off the chair, one of the original pull-straps had a selvage stamped with 1980, which gives us an approximate date for the chair.
Since one arm was shredded, both would need to be redone so that they match (feel/firmness, etc). Here is the new cotton and foam.
Followed by more cotton, and then a thin layer of Terylene.
Deck, inside arms, and inside wings done.
Outside wings, and inside back done.
And here’s the finished chair. It turned out really well. I love the combination of blue-green with the blonde (refinished) legs. The seat foam was also replaced.
Here’s the beautiful back, which now follows the curved edges of the frame. A little bit more work, but a lot nicer.
This is a beautiful antique chair (Eastlake style) made of solid walnut with decorative veneer bands. It had been damaged, and the frame was coming apart. The seat vinyl was also badly cracked.
When Pierre was removing the torn vinyl cover, he found an identical cover underneath, which was in perfect shape, and matched the current cover on the back rest. Since there wasn’t anything wrong with this cover, and we didn’t need to find/match/order a matching vinyl, we left this one in place. We have NO IDEA why there was a doubled-up cover on this.
The chair was knocked-apart, cleaned/scraped, and reassembled.