Sunday, March 23, 2014

Updating Mom's House #5: Our DIY "Trash to Treasure" $1199.00 Chair!

My sister, Joanne, and I are updating and redecorating our Mom's condo for her while she recovers from a stroke and thought it would be fun to share our progress with you. We started with the Living Room, moved on to the Master Bedroom and Bath, and just finished our first DIY upholstery project!

THE $1199.00 CHAIR

We were inspired to try this project when we fell in love with this chair on display at our local Curtainshop in South Portland, Maine.
Designer Maggie Martell's chair...our inspiration

One of the interior decorators there,  Maggie Martell, told us how she had copied the chair (she found her "before" chair by the side of the road)  from one she saw in a high-end  catalogue for  $1199.00 + shipping.  Maggie is very talented and was wonderful about sharing tips with Joanne and I.

The original Suzani Chair, Maggie's inspiration ...$1199.00
 The original Suzani Arm Chair comes in in Orange & Turquoise, Yellow & Cream or Blue & White....all are insanely gorgeous! 

But way beyond our budget for updating Mom's house at $1199.00 each..
So...with Maggie's encouragement, Joanne and I decided to try some DIY "Suzani" upholstery on one of Mom's old living room chairs ourselves. Mom got the chair secondhand about 20 years ago from our sister, Nancy, who was giving it away when she moved. The fabric was very faded but the "bones" of the chair were still good.

Luckily, we found the same fabric that was used on the original chair in stock at the Curtainshop . It was pricey at $47.00 per yard so we cut very carefully and made due with 3/4 of a yard. The texture of this fabric really makes the chair though, so we knew we needed it to get "the look" of the original.
We were able to upholster the back and seat in a contrasting orange fabric which was more reasonably priced at $17.99 per yard. This mimicked the original chair and helped out our budget.

Mom's chair has a wooden frame with woven caned inserts. Joanne painted all of that a turquoise green color. (She felt that she wanted to go a little more green than the original to pick up the other colors already being used in Mom's living room.)

. As a young child, I had watched Mom and Dad reupholster furniture themselves so I knew some of the basics...but I had never tried it myself. So Joanne and I improvised as we went along. I'm sure we broke about every rule of Upholstery 101...and a few pieces of Maggie's advice as well!

The back wasn't too bad to do...

Mom's trusty glue gun came in handy where we messed up with the staples!

The next step was to prep the seat and back.
We were able to remove the buttons on the tufted areas but were left with deep little valleys in the fabric (Decorator Maggie would probably be cringing right about now!)

Time for the trusty glue gun again...that and a bag of polyester fiberfill evened out the surface. After that, we covered both seat and back with two layers of quilt batting, and finally, the orange fabric.

 We ran piping along the edges where the seat met the back.
 After a break...or two...we were anxious to apply the designer fabric to the back.
 We were able to staple the top and bottom but it was back to some hidden swipes with the glue gun to secure the sides to the frame.
We covered areas with exposed staples with a coordinating decorative trim.

And voila...our finished chair...
We DID it!!!
We were really pleased with the results!

Oddly enough, on our way to visit our Mom the next day, Joanne and I stopped into a local antique shop and spotted this...a strangely similar chair to the one we just created. It just seemed kind of uncanny...

The total cost to re-do Mom's chair (fabric and trim) was $87.59. I had the batting, staple gun and glue sticks on hand. So...the way we see it, we got a $1200.00 designer look for Mom's living room for less than 100.00!

I think this look could be duplicated on many a wooden-armed "ready for Goodwill or the curb" chair. I like the chair in both the yellow and blue as well and would love to challenge someone in blogland try this project in one of those colors. If my sister and I could figure out how to do it, I guarantee that anyone reading this can. Just be willing to jump right in, not take the project too seriously, and...

Have the glue gun ready!

I'm linking this post to more parties than usual for two reasons: 1) Cause I love how our chair came out, and 2) Joanne and I earned one link for each nasty hot glue burn we endured finishing this project!
Please click on the links below to visit each these each of these amazing blog parties:

Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors
That DIY Party at DIY Showoff
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Sunday Best Showcase Party at Twigg Studios
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage
DIYers at Home Coming
DIY Party at Home for 4 Sweet Home
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings


  1. I love bright colors and old "hopeless case" chairs myself, so of course I clicked on your link! Visiting tom that DIY Party. Your chair looks so cheerful and fun, and you Mom is going to love it!

  2. Love it! Love the color you painted the chair and the fabrics. Caught my eye over at the That DIY Party.
    Marie@The Interior Frugalista

  3. Wow. you did a great job on this chair. I would never attempt it I'm afraid. Your mom will be so proud of you girls for your labour of love in the room makeovers. Blessings to you!

  4. You did a great job. The chair turned out beautiful!

  5. What a beautiful chair! Such fun bright colors. I would love for you to share at the Bacon Time linky, if you have not already.

    1. I'd love to share...will go to your site now. Thanks so much, Cheryl

  6. You did a great job! Love that fabric.

  7. A M A Z I N G !!!

    I love the green on the wood and the fabric. You two worked wonders.

  8. I think you have found a new career...Upholsterer! That looks fabulous I love the paint color and the fabric...Great job and it looks like you had some fun along the way!!!


  9. Fabulous, you both did such a beautiful job! Was the other chair you saw at Alan & Walker antiques? I just have to get down to Portland soon- it is such a pretty place. Perhaps when the trees start blooming- it's almost here!

  10. What a fun chair!! Y'all did a GREAT job!! Love it.

    Stephanie @

  11. Hi Cheryl and Joanne!

    This chair is on my top three from The DIY'ers party! ( It will be featured on my party favorites pinterest board.
    If you haven't link up your latest project yet, come and join us!



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