Two Chairs in a Pod


You may recall our previous transformation of Chris’ great grandfather’s chair from its old, worn state to the fresh, bold face lift we gave it.  To be fair, the chair hadn’t been retouched since it was first purchased decades ago (we think it was the 60s) so it needed some serious  lovin’.  What a difference a little fabric can make!  Read about the metamorphosis here.

Well, we not only lucked out with this chair once, but twice.  It had a matching, slightly-smaller sibling that soon made the long journey from Chris’ relatives place in Tennessee to Texas.  We welcomed it with open arms… arms covered in fabric that is.  It was in better condition than the white chair, but needed some updating as well.  Take a look.

This chair was about to go from fabulously pink (Chris’ favorite) to my favorite blue/tan pattern from Calico Corners called Lisbon Linen in indigo (ah, such a beaut!).

I painted the legs black on this chair as well using Rust-oleum’s Semi-Gloss black paint from Home Depot.

Then off to the upholsterer it went.  A week later, our two chairs were reunited and our cat couldn’t be happier with another place for her daily nap.

Another day, another upholstered chair.  I would say my upholstery obsession has died down since but we all know that’s not true in the slightest.

The chairs seemed so empty by themselves and I knew throw pillows were just the solution.  In my pillow search, I fell in love with these pillows from Ethan Allen (his here and hers here).

But at $109 each, I was not about to sprint to the store to buy these.  Instead, I decided to create my own.  I wanted the burlap look but not the burlap feel so I found some soft cotton fabric that had the burlap look, similar to this one at Joann‘s that was only about $7 per yard (about $5.60 with my Joann’s coupon).

I then got to work sewing a pillow form to fit over a 12″ pillow insert.  And by “I got to work,” I mean, I enlisted my in-laws to help me since the minute my hand touches a sewing machine, all hell seems to break loose.

After the pillow form was done, I stenciled out block letters for the “His” and “Hers” copy on the pillows then used black fabric paint to fill it in.  It doesn’t have that “worn” copy look that the Ethan Allen pillows have but I’m hoping after a few washes, it may get there.  And hey, for the $10 investment in paint and fabric (I already had the pillow forms from old throw pillows), it still beats the $218 price tag for the alternative option.


My wife has become completely obsessed with chairs, and I have no idea why. She’s apparently convinced that there is some sort of urgent seating shortage in our house, and action must be taken immediately. The relationship between me and my great-grandfather’s chair has been discussed previously, but when Julie found out it was actually part of a “his and hers” set, she leapt at the opportunity to claim it without considering how we’d get it back from Tennessee, but fortunately my mom was willing to drag it to Texas for us (thanks, Mom!).  Julie even bought the fabric about six months before we even saw the chair.

Anyway, I’m not sure it was in our house for a full 24 hours before we had our upholsterer pick it up (who, by the way, also wondered we we have so many chairs). When we got it back and placed it next to the other one… oh, no… it was a totally different shade. We initially assumed that the first chair had been faded in the summer by our skylight, but we later realized it was just two different color batches, so we put a table between them and, well, whatever.

In addition to Julie’s chair obsession, she’s also obsessed with putting stuff on the chairs. This time, she decided she wanted pillows with price tags even the Pentagon would question. When she showed them to me, it was pretty obvious that there was really nothing special about them except the outrageous price, and my inner DIYer was convinced I could make something just as good myself. I may have been slightly mistaken.

I had previously borrowed my parents’ sewing machine for something I can’t remember, but I had never really tried it out. I had never set up a sewing machine before, and admittedly had no clue what I was doing. I looked at the instruction manual, which turned out to be the biggest waste of paper since the Carter Administration. I consider myself much more technically-inclined than most people, and I also feel that I have the ability to make sense of even the worst explanations, but these instructions were completely beyond me. What’s even worse is that this same machine is probably a breeze for every little-old-lady that’s ever tried to use one. Great.

As luck would have it, though, my parents came up for a visit only a few weeks later. I enlisted my dad’s help and showed him the pile of broken thread and bent needles, and he just popped open the machine, told me I had something set up wrong (duh), called me an amateur, rewired it or something, and within minutes had it whirring away making pillows. Thanks, Dad!

I really like both these chairs, even though no one really sits in them (I won’t mention the cat’s frequent use of them because unlike Julie, I’m not obsessed with that animal’s every move). If nothing else, they at least give some definition to this huge, awkwardly-spaced living room.

Now, see our results.


C’mon… how cute is she?  How could you not be obsessed with her?



Filed under Before & After, Living Room

10 responses to “Two Chairs in a Pod

  1. Erica

    Beautiful work as always.
    Chloe is so cute! and its definately fitting shes on the “hers” chair 🙂

  2. Jaclyn

    The kitty is adorable and worthy of many blog mentions!

  3. Bailey

    I think the cat should be in all the after pictures. You know, for size reference or something…basically just additional adorableness.

    • DO or DIY

      Best. Excuse. Ever. Why yes, the reason 80% of my phone’s pictures are of my cat is for size reference. Why yes, that framed photo of Chloe on the mantel is only to give you a size reference. Genius!


  4. Pingback: “I just feel so bad for him, that’s why I sleep with him” « What are we…the Whos?

  5. Great idea, I love the way these chairs looks. The star of these pictures if clearly the cat though lol, we need more pictures of her :3

    • DO or DIY

      Consider it done, Johnny! Another vote for more cat pictures (and a chance to tell Chris, “I told you so”) always makes my day!


  6. summerfarmhousedesign

    These chairs are gorgeous! I love the DIY pillows, I think I just might try making pillows of my own!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s