Mid-Century Chair Project – Uncovering Hidden Wood Trim!

20131004-172943.jpgWhat’s not to love about classic mid-century chairs?

20131004-173044.jpgWhen the client sent me the photos of these chairs (there are two), I thought they looked pretty nice…a closer look revealed the ugly truth.

20131004-173200.jpgThe foam was definitely original…I found a tag that dated it at “1958”. That is some old foam.

20131004-173350.jpgBut look what else I found!!! The original amazing fabric underneath. How cool were these chairs in 1958!

20131004-173515.jpgI absolutely love finding the original fabric on old furniture. It is better than Christmas morning for me. But that’s not all! Look what else I found!!

20131004-173658.jpgAll that beautiful wood trim. This is like Christmas morning + winning gobs of cash with a scratch and win kind of joy!

20131004-174011.jpgOf course, I had to strip all the old varnish off the arms and legs, and refinish all the wood, but it was worth it to reveal the wood that, obviously, was originally designed to be shown.

20131004-174242.jpgNext step: Replace all the old foam with new, high-density foam, and bonded polyester.

20131004-174408.jpgThe seat got 4″ of foam, the back got 2″.

20131004-174526.jpgI decided to use the backside of the fabric for the piping, to add contrast and enhance the shape.

20131004-174701.jpgSo, what do you think? Have you uncovered something amazing in your projects?


8 thoughts

  1. Great blog. We have wooden trim on the feet and arm tips of our brown on brown damask fabric sofa/matching chair. I think they are at least from the 1960s. How do you know how old they are and if they are valuable?

    1. Thanks! The best way to determine the year a piece was manufactured is to look for a tag with the year on it. It’s usually on the inside, where only an upholsterer would find it, which is why I always photograph it – and leave it there. Often there is no such tag, especially if a piece does not have the original upholstery. In that case, only the general timeframe can be given.

      As for your question about value, well, I could write an essay about that! I think it deserves an entire post, so thank you for the topic and please stay tuned for an answer.

      1. Thanks so much for your helpful reply. I won’t be able to open it up, as I am not planning to do the work of re-upholstering it (not that brave). But I think it is a very cool vintage set. I look forward to your post. If I sent you a photo, would you be able to make any guesses on if it is anything special/of value? It kind of reminds me of the red couch that Shaun Majumder used for his all of interviewing segments on his “Majumder Manor” (awesome) series (W network). Keep up the great work.

      2. I’d love to see a photo, however, I am not an appraiser. To me, value is in the eye of the beholder. If you love it, it has value. If you want to know if it’s a designer piece, you’d have to research mid-century designers and look through their designs.

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