A Tale of Two Chairs

I love my new house in the mountains. I have a 180 degree view of the central valley below and I can see all the way to the gulf across the valley. Sometimes, on a clear day, I can even see sailboats in the water. I can’t complain. Or rather, I shouldn’t. But of course I do. We bought the house semi-contructed. Apparently the former owners ran out of money and they were not able to complete construction on it, so they sold the house “as is”. This was great for us because we were able to choose and purchase countertops, flooring, windows and fixtures to our taste. Unfortunately however, the floorplan was already laid out and it wasn’t exactly how I would have designed it.  There are a couple of  difficult spots that seem to me like they are wasted spaces. One such area is the little useless niche underneath the stairs. It’s not really part of the living room but it isn’t part of the hallway either. After several months of analyzing, it ocurred to me that a couple of simple chairs might fit under there nicely and I could turn it into a separate little conversation area.

The awkward little space underneath the stairs

I went to several furniture stores but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for so checked in the Latin American equivalent of Ebay: An online auction/Buy it Now site called Mercado Libre. They have a page for practically every country in Latin America. To my surprise I found exactly the two matching ittle chairs I had in mind for only about 60 dollars each. They were solid wood and in perfect condition. So I bought them.  The only thing I didn’t like was the beige upholestery. Did I ever mention that I hate beige?  These chairs needed a good dose of color.

The original beige and boring velour upholstery

As fate would have it, I had scored a 130 piece lot of designer fabrics on Ebay only one month before and so I had a box full of gorgeous fabrics just waiting to be used. Inspired by Barjis designs in Lebanon (who do the most amazing and gorgeous upholstery work on ottomans, chairs and headboards) I chose several bright fabrics from my stash and began to piece them together.

Beautiful little pieces of designer fabrics were sewn together to form a large piece that would cover the entire seat of the chair

It wasn’t as difficult as I thought. The only difficult part was trying to choose the fabrics I was going to use because each piece was more beautiful than the last. Since the fabrics were all square or rectangular, the sewing part was very easy as there were no unusual shapes or weird angles. I am somewhat sewing machine challenged, but thankfully I can sew a straight line.

Stitching the pieces together

The next step was to remove the seat from the chairs. This was achieved by just loosening two large screws. The seats simply popped out and were ready to cover with the new fabric. I decided not to remove the original upholstery and I just stapled the new fabric on top of the old one. I lay the seat face down on top of the new fabric and stapled it in place with a staple gun, pulling taut as I worked and making sure that there were no wrinkles anywhere in sight.

Staple gun. One of the best inventions ever.

Then I screwed the seat back into the chair and that was it! I kind of (secretly)  wish the new colors were brighter…I would have loved to use coral, fuchsia, turquoise and lime green for example. One can never have enough color. But I’m happy with the way they turned out. They really brighten up that little corner underneath the stairs!

Much better than before

If you want to really drool, check out my inspiration pieces at Barjis Design: http://www.flickr.com/photos/barjisdesign/


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