Annie Sloan Burgundy

A New Realm: Upholstering Chairs

We’ve entered a new realm: upholstering chairs. In the last few months we’ve acquired several chairs and purchased upholstering equipment to make the process easier.

I recommend watching Marian Parson’s (aka Miss Mustard Seed) 6-part video series on upholstering chairs. She offers clear explanations and shows you exactly how to do things.

We thought this 1920s cane side chair would be perfect with our writing desk that is sitting at Avonlea Antique Mall. And a good beginner’s project.

Cane Side Chair with needlepoint

Lady's Writing Desk

We planned to use the original needlepoint seat but after David pulled out all the tacks around the seat cover, we saw that it had dry rot. The textile had been weakened by  environments with poor temperature and moisture control.

We lifted off the needlepoint along with the batting and foam. In her early life this chair had a cane seat that matched her back. On her journey, though, someone cut out the cane seat and inserted a piece of retaining wood as a base to build upon.

We painted her Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Burgundy to match the writing desk. Clear and Dark Wax went on next.

You can see how we layered the base, building from the retaining wood, to the new foam cut with an electric knife, to the original batting, to the new batting.

Retaining Seat
Retaining Seat

Foam Insert
Foam Insert

Original Batting
Original Batting

New Batting
New Batting

We’ve been acquiring the necessary equipment:

I visited JoAnn’s a couple times to collect fabric swatches. Originally I tried to match the fabric with the aubusson blue, burgundy and gold of the desk. I gave up on that idea. A Waverley toile won. We practiced on scrap fabric and then plunged in. Along the way, we dealt with some issues.

If I cut the cushion cover using the old needlepoint fabric as my template, it wouldn’t be large enough because the new foam was a tad thicker and the new batting fluffier. We decided to cut the material larger than we needed and then we’d trim.

Cane Side Chair Cushion Stapled We trimmed and trimmed. In this next picture, you can see we still have more trimming to do.  I’m pleased, however, with how the fabric centered up to show a gentle pastoral scene, complete with a sheep in the lower right corner.

Reupholstering Cane Side Chair

Our search for burgundy gimp led us on a merry chase. We already had burgundy pillow cord (not gimp), but I continued to look everywhere locally for gimp. One saleslady explained that  gimp is going out of fashion: double welt is the new trend. Ahhhhh.

I took a deep breath and painstakingly cut the round cord from its fabric strip. David and I hot glued the cord around the fabric. The puffed cushion actually sits higher than the cord.

We moved the chair into Avonlea to accompany the desk. What a nice set — but they can be purchased individually. Here are our photos from this afternoon’s shoot:

Annie Sloan Burgundy Lady's Writing Desk and Upholstered Cane Chair

Annie Sloan Burgundy Lady's Writing Desk and Upholstered Cane Chair

 

Annie Sloan Burgundy Lady's Writing Desk and Upholstered Cane Chair

Thanks for visiting. We’ll see you next week.

Ann Marie and David

 

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Diamonds For A Lady

Stenciled Diamonds

The diamonds drove us crazy and nearly defeated us. More on that later.

We acquired this lady’s writing desk on an estate sale’s final day. We’d first laid eyes on her a couple days earlier and expected someone to snap her up. Imagine our surprise (and my secret happiness) when we returned for deep discounts and there she sat, lonely and neglected. No question about it. She was coming home with us.

Lady's Writing Desk Unpainted

Her body is exceptionally narrow. With the lid closed, she measures 11″ at her widest part. That’s a big positive for the owner of a small house or apartment needing a petite desk. I also love her convenient pigeonholes.

Lithe and beautiful, that’s what she is. Just look at those details.

I checked with our furniture expert and learned that she was made around the 1900s, probably birch wood and stained mahogany. Ohhhhhhh. We prefer not to paint antiques.

David and I tossed around some ideas. But first he needed to do a few minor repairs and replace the old, worn-out hinges.

Lady's Writing Desk Unpainted

We decided to paint her something special, something that would make her the most attractive girl in town.

Annie Sloan’s new Burgundy paint was perfect. For a contrasting interior color we chose  Aubusson Blue. Wait. How about stenciling diamonds with the Aubusson and gold? How hard could that be?

Annie Sloan Burgundy
AS Burgundy
Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue
AS Aubusson Blue
Royal Design's Antique Gold Stencil Creme
Royal Design’s Antique Gold Stencil Creme

I love the Burgundy. Annie Sloan compares it to dark cherries. Personally, I see it as a bowl of juicy, ripe plums on a sizzling summer day. The color looks unbelievably rich once the Dark Wax goes on.

I studied videos and read blogs to learn about diamond techniques. I began enthusiastically, confident in my abilities. By Day 3 my enthusiasm shrank to crankiness. No matter how hard I tried, my diamonds refused to follow a straight line. Thankfully, David stepped in to save the day.

He salvaged most of my diamonds and carefully traced the outlines for new ones.

Lady's Writing Desk

Here’s the board that flips outward. See how he’s using painter’s tape for the points of the diamonds?

Stenciling diamonds

The full writing surface is below. He struggled with those diamonds for a few days and was so happy to finish them.

Stenciled Diamonds

While David worked on the diamonds, I painted gold stockings on our little lady:

Gilded table foot

It took us weeks to get her looking glamorous. Look at these details:

Lady's Writing Desk

I just want to mention that the lowering of her lovely lid provides a writing surface but throws her off balance. She must be affixed to the wall for maximum support, but that’s not a big deal. Another thought: while I used AS Clear and Dark Wax on the exterior and pigeonholes, I only used Clear Wax on the Aubusson and Gold diamonds.

Lady's Writing Desk

Look at her gold stockings! Imagine sitting here with your laptop, drink in hand, taking care of business as twilight descends. The creek is just a few yards away.

I have the perfect chair for this desk but that will take more time because I must reupholster the seat and paint the chair. As for this little lady, she’s heading to Avonlea Antique Mall tomorrow.

Lady's Writing  Desk

Thanks so much for visiting. We love it when you leave comments.

Ann Marie and David

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