I've been really excited about taking on re-upholstering this chair for awhile now. Chris picked it up a couple of months ago, but it's been at the bottom of the pile. Now that I'm a full-timer, I started on this chair this first week at my "new job". It is a Saarinen Executive Chair. For a little history on the designer, Earo Saarinen, click here. But for a quick recap, he's the creative mind behind the infamous womb chair, tulip table and chair, plus renowned as "Shaping the Future".
Back to my chair:
This chair was incredibly dirty & smelly! I wouldn't be surprised if there was actual urine in this chair, gloves were a must! I actually thought these photos don't show enough of the grime, they make the chair look good!
one) First I started by striping the chair of its fabric. This chair was assembled with nails and each nail must be removed. All of this was done outside as the process was incredibly disgusting! Re-upholstering is usually anything but glamorous! ;)
two) As I started seeing what was underneath, I wasn't too surprised. The old foam had harden and turned to mush. With a scraper, the old foam was removed to show the fiberglass shell.
three) Here is the top of the chair with an original number layered inside of the fiberglass. It was interesting to find this.
four) After carefully cutting all of the pieces, I decided it was best to follow the sage advice of many books to make paper patterns. This helped tremendously! In fact, I'm saving them in case (Chris says when), we find one again.
five) Pinned patterns to new bright red wool to cut! Side note about fabric: Finding the right fabric is always very difficult. Many times there is multiple trips to Fabric Depot. In this case, I spent hours at Fabric Depot, Jo-Ann's (bought fabric, but wasn't thrilled with it when I arrived home), Fabric World (NEVER go here, it's in North Portland and it a complete waste of a drive), the Whole 9 Yards (great shop, but not enough options unless you want to special order and wait 3-4 weeks), and finally Mill End Fabrics. Last time I went to Mill End, I thought I'd never return, I really didn't like the selection four months ago. This time, LOVED IT! So, so, so many fabrics that I'd love to use in my pieces. Plus I learned they just ordered over 100 of new bolts, many that are textured solids (my personal fave!). Plus they honor Fabric Depot's coupons! I'll definitely be making the drive to Mill End more often!
Here is the after! I'm super pleased with how it came out! I knew this chair would be a challenge and it was! All of the curves = bumpy fabric! It's not perfect, but pretty close! I couldn't be more pleased!
Many of the seams had to be hand stitched with a blind stitch. Lots of love went into this chair, but well worth it! It will soon be for sale on etsy, (I'll update this post with a link when it's live), or you could buy the current version from Design Within Reach (or out of reach depending on who's talking) for lots of money! ;)