Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Reupholster

Even semi-regular visitors around here know that Geoff and I like old stuff.  And by old stuff I mean antiques.  We have a lot of them around the house.  (To be fair we have a reasonable amount of old rocks too, but most of them are set into jewelry.)  Some of the antiques we own come to us in rough shape.  Some of it we’re good at restoring ourselves, but sometimes we need to involve a professional.  Note that you’ll never see an antique piece of furniture painted “shabby chic” or with chalkboard paint in our home.  NEVER.

But, you will see furniture with good bones get reupholstered.  Reupholstery is part of restoration, sometimes the fabric on a piece isn’t original or is but is too badly damaged to salvage.  That’s where a really good upholsterer comes in.

I had read about a place in Peabody that had a really good upholsterer on site.  I had filed it back in the back of my mind as one of those things to take care of “someday” which usually turns out to be the 12th of Never.  Then Amanda emailed a bunch of us a photo of a settee that she’d had redone and, it turned out, she’d had it done at this place in Peabody.  And it was stunning.

It turns out that when you move is when you get confronted by the furniture that you’ve been hiding under blankets because you’ll get around to getting it redone someday.  Moving day was in August and in the new place I was confronted with two Eastlake chairs that just desperately needed new upholstery.  Here are before pictures.

This is the front view of the "little chair".
This is the front view of the “little chair”.
This is the back view of the "little chair".
This is the back view of the “little chair”.

As you can see, the fabric was incredibly sun bleached, the velvet was almost threadbare, and the springs were more or less shot.  To look at and stick in a corner and not sit on it was OK.  To actually use, unless you were a cat or dog, not so much.

This is the front view of the "big chair" or "the throne".
This is the front view of the “big chair” or “the throne”.
This is the back view of the "big chair" or "the throne".
This is the back view of the “big chair” or “the throne”.

I’m pretty sure this is the original fabric on the chair.  It’s in the original condition in which I purchased it.  You can see in the photos that the springs and the strapping are literally falling out the bottom of the chair.  This one desperately needed help.  You could only sit on this one if you were a cat.  A small cat.

Geoff and I took both of these to Antique Classics in Peabody, MA.  There I met Jim and Pablo.  Jim is the owner and manager of the massive store that is a full floor of the converted mill building.  Jim restores and refinished antiques and gets them into the hands of people like me and Geoff.  Pablo is the master upholsterer who can literally do anything.  They’re both really nice guys, they are both really talented, and they have fair prices.  As someone who’s worked in the antiques business, I can tell you that those are all extremely rare qualities.

They turned around our chairs in less than a week.  Geoff and I dropped them off on a Sunday.  We got a price quote the same day and a quote on the length of fabric needed on the following Tuesday.  The following Saturday I dropped off my fabric choices.  I should note that they have fabric there but that I have an unholy stash of fabric I’ve acquired over the years so I went through it and chose two different upholstery fabrics I had that I liked.  The Thursday after we dropped off the fabric, the chairs were ready.  Really.

Want to see the finished products?  Who are we kidding, of course you do.  Here they are.

Front view of the newly done "little chair".
Front view of the newly done “little chair”.
Back view of the newly done "little chair".
Back view of the newly done “little chair”.

Pretty amazing, right?  Check out the next one.

Front view of the "big chair" or "the throne".
Front view of the “big chair” or “the throne”.
Back view of the "big chair" or "the throne".
Back view of the “big chair” or “the throne”.

Jim had been telling us that we should joke with Pablo that we hated them when we got upstairs to see them but even I couldn’t pull that off.  The transformation was just too amazing.

If you’re in New England and you need something done, I encourage you to stop by Antique Classics.  Or, if you just need a cool piece of furniture, Jim will set you up.  They have a huge selection and, like I said, Jim’s a nice guy.

This is, by the way, a totally uncompensated endorsement.  Good work and good quality should get a rave review.  If you go, tell them I sent you just because I’m happy with the work they did.


5 thoughts on “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Reupholster”

    1. Thanks! I always try to give a shout out to people who do a good job, especially local and small businesses. I’ll have more work for Jim and Pablo in the future, but I have to save up some more money first.

  1. I can’t believe how well they turned out. The fabric is perfect and goes with everything in your house. Good Job!

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