Hi everyone! Kathy here 🙂
I received a custom order from a very good friend who is moving to Washington DC in about one week 🙁 It all started about two months ago. Kathryn told me about her Grandmother’s chair and asked that I help make the chair “her own”. Needless to say, I was happy to help.
This is what Kathryn has to say about her chair:
“The chair originally belonged to my grandmother, and was a fixture in her house as long as I can remember – it lived in the basement where we would spend much of our time playing growing up. I recently asked my mom where and when my grandmother got it, but she had no idea. It is important to me not only because it had belonged to my dear grandmother, but was one of the first items I took with me to my first apartment after college.”
I brought the chair home and found that someone already did some repair work to the chair, I also discovered the chair was a “Cushman”. Cushman chairs were manufactured by H.T. Cushman furniture company which was founded in 1889. In the 1950’s they started specializing in Mission-style furniture.
The fabric and finish appeared to be original and Kathryn wanted both changed. I took the time to ask Kathryn some questions about how she wanted to have this chair refurbished and while asking these questions I quickly realized that we both agreed the chair shouldn’t be painted. I also found that Kathryn wanted a more modern fabric and a true brown wood tone versus the orange stain and lacquer that was on the chair.
Kathryn chose to have the chair refinished, re-stained and reupholstered. The cushions were in great condition so Kathryn bought her fabric and we outsourced the upholstery work. Reusing the existing cushions definitely saved Kathryn some money.
I started the makeover by sanding the chair…
I repaired a few spots with wood filler…
and then I applied Minwax’s “Espresso” stain….
The final result is a modern take on a vintage chair.
Refurbishing a vintage piece of furniture can draw many, many opinions. Some people would say the cushion fabric should not be replaced or the finish should not be changed because the chair loses value. But I have always felt that if someone is keeping a vintage piece because of sentimental value and they want to MAKE IT THEIR OWN then that outweighs anything an appraiser could ever say. Just my two cents!
In the end, this was Kathryn’s response to the finished chair:
“I’m so lucky to have had Kathy restore this piece to its original (but I really mean better) glory. Not only is it a unique piece, but has sentimental value that can’t be replaced. I know that my grandmother would be so happy that I was able to take one of her pieces and make it my own!”
Now this makes me happy! Kathryn is a brilliant writer and sassy friend 🙂 with a bright future. Best wishes to her in her new endeavor in Washington DC! I’m so proud of her!
Happy Salvaging! -Kathy
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