Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Before and After: Sidewalk Chair

A couple months ago I was walking home from the grocery store (pushing a stroller loaded with Soren and groceries) and I stumbled upon this chair sitting on the sidewalk. I loved the shape and didn't want to risk it by coming back for it later, so I scooped it up with one hand and lugged it home. Totally worth the effort. We decided to sell Soren's glider and move the Poang from the living room into Soren's room and use the new chair in the living room. You get that? For those who I lost during the musical chairs, here are some visual aids:

Poang before we moved it:

Soren's glider:

Sidenote: For some reason it didn't even occur to me that Soren would care that we got rid of his glider. I always saw it as my chair, that happened to reside in his room. Logan's never really liked it since it squeaked a lot and drove him mad when he was trying to rock Soren to sleep. I liked it well enough, but we don't really use it much for rocking anymore and don't have room to store it for a couple of years before we need it again. These days we really just used it to read books to Soren, so figured any chair would do. Anyway, I posted it on Craigslist and sold it right away. Soren didn't really seem phased until the guy came to get it. After shutting the door behind the guy, Soren started to cry and said that he wanted his chair back and has been asking about it several times a day ever since. Last night when I was trying to get him to go to sleep we were sitting in the Poang (an obviously inferior chair according to Soren) and he asked me where his other chair was. I repeated my usual line about another family needing it so the man came and got it so he could use it for his baby and he just broke down and said "I NEED my other chair, Mamma" over and over. Once I realized how much he missed his chair, I realized that it had been a pretty major part of his entire life and starting to think about how much I've sat there with him over the last two years. The hours spent rocking and the many more hours spent nursing him quietly in the night. Then I thought about how I would sit there after work when I was super pregnant and just trying to will myself to make it though the last weeks until I got to meet my little boy. Yeah, I pretty much lost it. So Soren and I sat there crying for a while. It was a sad moment. But the chair is gone and I'm glad another baby gets to use it. Hopefully Soren will get over it soon since I'm not sure my emotions can handle him asking for it all day long. In the meantime, we pretty much can't say "chair" without him asking about his "other chair."

Okay, back to the good stuff. I needed to do this chair on the cheap. (Ideally to still come out ahead after buying materials by selling the glider.) So instead of being really impulsive and buying the first fabric I saw that I liked no matter the price (which is what I did for my orange chair and regretted the moment I swiped my credit card) I held out and faithfully checked the remnant section of our local discount fabric store SewFisticated a couple times a week. (Awesome name, right? We also have a SewLow nearby.) I finally stumbled across some fabric that I loved that was only $1.99 a yard. For those who don't frequent fabric stores and don't understand how good of a deal that is, just know that I spent ten times that much (and bought twice the yardage) for my orange chair. So yeah, this was a steal. Especially for fabric that was exactly what I was looking for: a muted green with a geometric pattern.

After a quick sand and stain on the legs, I got to work. I was shocked how much easier this chair was than my orange one and as I took it apart I understood more and more how overly ambitious I had been (without really realizing it) for doing that chair with no upholstery knowledge other than seeing my parents upholster a couch when I was about ten. So this chair was a breeze compared to that one. It took me much longer to get the old fabric off and staples out than to put the new fabric on.

Really disturbing and gag-inducing side note: When I was taking apart the chair, I was disgusted to find a TON of finger and toe nail clippings shoved into the arm of the chair. I seriously almost threw up in my mouth. I know it is a risk you take when you pick up a chair off the sidewalk, but come on. That's gross.

Anyway, I LOVE how it turned out and really, really love that I did it with zero sewing since that's where I struggled with my orange chair. It was basically like wrapping a present with fabric and staples. Piece of cake.

So to sum up:

Chair: Free (other than the emotional distress caused by the nail clippings)
Fabric: $8
Having a project to keep me from going nuts: Priceless


Monica Kate Fish said...

you are such a stud!! I love this chair, I have wanted to do this to a few sidewalk finds and I have yet to get the guts to try

Bonnie said...

Your chair looks amazing! Even better in person. Hopefully you sold your glider for more than $8 and came out ahead :)

Linda Perkes said...

That is a nice looking chair! Well done! I'll look forward to seeing it in person.
It's about time for us to recover that couch again -- for the third time. Or maybe instead we should get a new one : )

Misty said...

the chair is amazing.
I think you might like a website- if you have not already heard of it.
It has tons of do it yourself tips to all sorts of finds!

Marian said...

Slow in reading this but am so impressed by the chair. But you impress me all the time! Soren's reaction to selling his chair is to tender. Squeeze him for me.

Jed said...

TOTALLY impressed. The chair looks awesome.