Sunday, December 5, 2010

Elphaba Takes A Seat...

I was lucky enough this summer to spend a long weekend in Florida with my mom visiting her brother, Brian and his wife, Judy. For those of you following along and playing the game, yes, that is my aunt and uncle. It was a GREAT weekend! My aunt is one of the two best shoppers I know. (The other best shopper I know is my other aunt, Gail. Gonga-deal is a legit word in my family.)

As soon as I could feel my tush again, 17 hours is a long time to sit folks as we drove cross country, we headed out to scour Ocala for deals. The first place we went was a local church thrift store. After looking around, checking all the deals and heading for the door, my gut told me stop, and look again. There in amongst the 60's & 70's gems was something very similar to this beauty.

However, you have to imagine it in blue gray velour because yours truly didn't take a "before" picture. Still to this day, I can't think of a good use of this fabric. Anyone?? Anyone? Nope, not hearing a thing. Now, while you're imagining it in velour, go grab a can of paint, spray paint, in bright green, the brighter the better. Step 2, spray the entire chair. Seriously, go spray. Done spraying? Now, check out the pics.

See, I'm not lying. Notice the original color where we popped off the front covers on the edges of the arms. And, yes, it was spray paint. The texture of the painted fabric was much, much rougher than the original color. Ouch. What I want to know is where in the world did it come into their mind that they should spray paint a chair??? Seriously?!? That's the first thing that comes into your mind when you see a blue chair and you want to change the color?!? Anywho...

Okay, I've digressed. Those of you who follow me know this isn't an odd thing. Back to the beginning. The title to this post is Elphaba Takes a Seat. Who is Elphaba you ask? She is witch that was born green and uncomfortable with herself. The exact opposite of her best friend, Glenda. You might have heard part of her story in the tale of The Wizard of Oz. You can learn more about her from her own story, Wicked. Because of my chair's green skin, Aunt Judy named my chair Elphaba and it stuck. It fits her somehow even though she is no longer green, hint, hint.

Now, back to my version of Wicked. Design Intervention is a pro at recovering and reupholstery and gave me the courage to try it on my own. I stopped by a supplier in Houston and picked up some tools that I couldn't have done without. Kuddos too, to the awesome gentleman who helped me. When I explained that I was trying this for the first time, he reassured me and told me that I would be a pro in no time. While he was lying through his teeth, I appreciate the lie more than he'll ever know.

After hours cruising blogland, (this helped tons!) and building up massive amounts of courage, Marc, my dad, & I tackled the chair. Yup, I literally mean tackled. We pulled almost 5,000 staples, not kidding here, and then I took the fabric pieces and used them as patterns to carefully cut the new fabric. Once the new pieces were cut out of the same fabric I used for the Pottery Barn magic, we began the arduous task of putting it back together again.

Notice the brown stuff in the bottom of the pic and in the next one? That's wool or cotton (unknown by me) felting that is put over the wood pieces and springs to add comfort to the chair. Because we disturbed it, we laid it back down and then covered it with a new layer of fluff. It was impossible to get the felting smooth again without the new stuff. We had to staple down the felting, the new fluff and then the fabric. I have no idea how many staples we actually used to put it back together, but I'm betting it was over 1,000. If for some reason you decide to tackle a chair like this, get a pneumatic stapler. There is NO other way to do it. None! (Granted, it also helps to have an awesome uncle who loans you an air compressor on a 2 year/2,000 mile basis!)

I will say that putting the chair back together was infinitely easier than taking it apart in the first place. Definitely more gratifying. Now that it is done, the difference in my living room is huge. The chair now "fits" the room, instead of sticking out like a green thumb.

While I know pride is a sin, I am so proud of myself for charging in head on, after researching, and getting this entire started and finished. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned a table that I had refinished. It's now feeling right at home besides Elphaba.

Remember when I mentioned that my aunts and the term "gonga-deal?" Care to guess how much this beauty was?

She was labeled $15.

Luckily they were having a half-price sale to move out furniture, so she was only $7.50. Yes, you read that right, seven dollars and fifty cents. How's that for a gonga-deal?


  1. Hi ma'am!! Thanks so much for participating in my giveaway - I was just stopping in to make sure I could find you b/c you didn't leave an email in your comment - in case you won I wanted to be sure I could contact you!!!

  2. OMG!
    It looks perfect to me!
    Really good job.
    I`ve got such an old chair at home too, but I`m always afraid to re upholster that piece, so I`m hiding it with slipcovers...
    Lovely greetings...:)

  3. Gonga-deal is the new word for the day. Your chair is incredible and at $7.50 I'm speechless. You are my thrift-hero!
    April from

  4. WOW! You did a fantastic job. I works so well in your home now.


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