Once a year  our garbage collectors pick up almost everything people leave by the side of the road.  There is a lot of good stuff available just for the taking.  Our neighbors put out this wreck of a chair.   It wasn’t until I got it home that I realized it was in terrible shape.


Someone had started the job of reupholstering the chair.  The fabric and the padding had been removed.  All that was left was the foam seat.  It wasn’t a particularly well-made chair.  Instead of the usual  webbing it had cardboard.  This was not going to be  an easy job.  Was it worth the effort???


It sat in the garage for three years. I had almost decided to put it out in the yearly pickup.  I couldn’t see the sense in spending a huge amount of time and money on this rambling wreck.


My solution was simple.  I painted every part of the chair with gray water base primer – cardboard and wood.  Two coats.    Then I added a little water to thin out ordinary flat white wall paint.   I used this diluted paint as a glaze.


I brushed this white glaze over the gray paint.  I put lots of white into carvings,  and used a damp cloth to rub away some of the glaze on the rest of the wood.  This entire procedure took just a couple of hours.  When the glaze was dry I rubbed clear wax over the wood and polished it.   Finished!


I covered the existing foam with heavy cotton twill.


I tacked the fabric in place with upholstery tacks.    I had seen this “unfinished upholstery” look in several of my French magazines.


The seat finished I glued padding to the back of the chair and covered it with light weight cotton.  Then carefully tacked the finishing fabric over this.


My French beauty finished!!

The final  touch is the kidney pillow I made using Paris graphics from THE GRAPHIC FAIRY.  Oooh La La.  And to think I was going to throw this chair away.


  1. I love how you did this, the exposed tack look is one of my favourites, deconstructing paint jobs is something we do in the theatre often and you have done a stunning job! nice work.. c

    • I had almost given up on ever doing this chair, so I figured anything I did would be an improvement. And if it bombed out to the garbage heap with it. Turned out fine with The Good Husband doing a great job with the tack hammer. V.

  2. This poor chair languished for a long time in the garage. Every time I walked by it I heard mutterings. This is not how my life was meant to be. Where is the newspaper and morning coffee. Where or where are the silk pajamas and hot milk toddy. I want a life surrounded by loving people speaking quietly about esoteric matters. Give me my life back Virginia.

    • It really was a mess so it truly said what is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This certainly is true for me. The chair turned out to finally be a little sweety!! Virginia

    • We live on a country road. I think if the chair had lived in town it would not have been my find – but some other fortunate person’s find. The yearly put-out-your-junk is coming up in a couple of weeks – who knows what I may find. Virginia

  3. I am so inspired by your chair renovations! We just put our home up for sale so I am reduced to small projects, but when I have a place to paint furniture again, I’m going on the prowl. Thanks for showing us the way to do this.

  4. Since this area is not visible to the eye, chances are that you can rip off the wooden bottom of
    the cushion and not worry about how it looks.
    To cut costs, start with the rooms that need it most.
    Treasured family heirlooms which are very much staying in the same home as well as things bought by dealers and being readied for the auction room are commonly
    worked on.

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