Before and After – The Tale of Two Roundback Chairs

Good Morning!

Today I’m featuring a long overdue before and after on a project that completed almost a year ago now.  I was waiting until I could take a photo of finished project in the clients house and they have been doing renovations.  But now I can share! The project was a pair of beautifully shaped round-back chairs. I posted about the project along the way so you can see some of the progress photos here and here.

Any upholsterer would agree that when you get a piece with a rounded back it’s bittersweet.  They are so gorgeous once complete, but a b*tch to reupholster, especially with a patterned fabric.

This is that the chairs looked like before…..

And here is what they look like now!

I’m all for pink but these chairs are 1000 times better is this amazeballs fabric, don’t you think?

Love them, and happy to finally get this project posted.  In the next few weeks I should have two or three more more projects to share with you.

Have a lovely day!


To Re-Upholster or Not?

Good morning!

I’ve had a lot of people ask me whether they should reupholster a piece of furniture or buy new, so I thought I would give you some food for thought on the topic. There are a few questions you should ask yourself when you are deciding whether to reupholster a piece of furniture…

1) Do you love the piece of furniture?

Vitra Heart Cone Chair by Verner Panton via

If you are going to invest in re-upholstering a piece it has to be because you really want to keep that piece.  Whatever reason that is; it’s comfy, it was given to you by a close relative or friend, you love the shape, or it just speaks to you in some way. Or maybe you have an amazing vision of what you want it to become. Regardless, you gotta love it.

2) Does the quality of the piece warrant re-upholstering?

via Blondie from Spaghetti Western Style

Let me start by saying, I love IKEA.  I have bought many things from there in my day and will likely continue to do so.  However, spending the money to re-upholster one of their chairs or sofas (or any other low-cost, lower quality piece of furniture ) may not be your best choice. To start, if you are happy with something that is uber affordable but perhaps not a long-term investment, for the price of re-upholstery, you likely could buy a brand new sofa. The frame quality would not be as high as it would be with older, better built furniture, so investing in a piece of lesser quality would not be the best value.  Unless you answered yes to the question above and you love the piece far too much to get rid of it, I would opt to have lesser quality pieces slip-covered instead.  On the flip side, because it is getting harder and harder to find long-lasting, well made furniture, if you already have a piece with a high quality frame (perhaps an antique) then it makes perfect sense to invest in re-upholstering it.

3) Do you want something truly custom?

photo via Karen from Sew Many Ways

Re-upholstery gives you the rare opportunity to create something unique and specific to you or to your space.  You can choose fabrics, wood finishes, paint colours, trims and even how soft or hard you want it to be when you park your tush on it.  It’s the ultimate in custom furniture.  Also, if you have an interesting piece of furniture that you would have a hard time finding retail in stores, re-upholstery makes it possible to reinvent that piece to suit you.

Photo via

4) Do you like the idea of recycling and reusing?

Making old new again, its my favorite part of upholstery. (Wrapping my head around the same concept with my own aging face is more of  challenge, but I digress.) I truly love the idea that furniture can breathe new life with the right effort and care. And reusing/recycling furniture can help keep pieces from ending up in the landfill. However, don’t go calling David Suzuki yet, re-upholstering existing pieces doesn’t necessarily mean you are being “eco-friendly” or “green”.  Depending on the stuffing, fabric, or finishing being used you may not be totally green. It’s a complicated topic but if you want a little more information, I wrote a post last spring about eco upholstery fabrics (which you can find here). And also check out this piece written by Jo Alcorn of Whitewash and Co on Verdigris Vie.

5) Are you prepared to spend potentially as much you would to buy new?

People tend to assume that having an existing piece and re-upholstering will be cheaper than buying new.  Sometimes this is true, for things like dining chairs or small chairs with very little fabric to be replaced.  However, in many cases you will spend as much as if you were buying new, and maybe even more.  Some factors that will affect the price of your re-upholstery project are:

  • Fabric choice: upholstery weight fabrics can be anywhere from $15 to $250 per yard. Your choice will significantly affect the cost.
  • The size: if you have a large piece that needs a lot of fabric you are going to spend more on both fabric and labour. You can find information on shopping for upholstery fabric from a previous post here.
  • The condition: if the stuffing, springs, and cushions all need to be replaced, new materials will have to included in the cost to be replaced.  Also if parts need to be refinished or painted that will increase costs as well.
  • The details: if there is a lot of detailed work on the piece that you want maintained such as tufting, buttons or complicated piping that will affect the labour cost.

I hope this information helps people with the decision making process.  These are just guidelines, but ultimately, you have to weigh what is important to you. I will say that you should get quotes from various upholsterers before making the decision.  If you have any other questions about re-upholstery or would like a quote on a piece you are considering taking that route, don’t hesitate to email me (

Have a great day!

Fun Upholstery

Good morning lovelies.  For the last few days, I’ve spent every free moment I’ve had searching for a light fixture for my bedroom redo…I was originally planning on posting about it today, but to be honest, if I see another light fixture right now I think I’ll crawl into a little ball on the floor and rock back and forth…so maybe later in the week.  So instead, today I’m back on a topic close to my heart….upholstery. I’ve rounded up some examples of fun upholstery pieces to share with you this morning. Hope they inspire you to update an old piece of furniture yourself!

 What a pretty fabric on this chair and a great shape to boot (from Spruce Upholstery in Austin) via

Another fun fabric choice via

Cute little update to an average office chair….oh, and did I mention this fabric is from IKEA? Super fun and super cheap for upholstery weight fabric. via

Another gem by Spruce…via

A great reupholstery job…gotta love tufting…via

Great idea for fabric!  via

OK, this might be my east coast roots coming through...via

Gorgeous headboard by Staci Edwards at Switch Studio…..via

  Everyone loves an Eames chair, but it’s even better updated with this chevron pattern…via

And this last lovely chaise was completed by Andrea at Re:style Studio. And, if you are interested in completing your own re-upholstery project, sign up for a BYOP (bring your own piece) upholstery weekend at Re:style!  Yours truly will be instructing and I would love to see you there.  If there is enough interest we will be opening up another weekend before the holidays (think Christmas gifts??).



Getting to know Re:Style Studio

Good Morning!  Today I’m very excited to be featuring Re:style Studio, a workshop and event space offering upholstery classes, decor seminars and DIY parties in the west end of Toronto at the Branding Factory.

The studio was founded by the lovely Andrea Ford, a stylist and market editor with a love of re-upholstering and re-styling furniture.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, when I first started to learn how to upholster, finding classes/courses in the Toronto area wasn’t easy, and there weren’t any that were approaching upholstery in a fresh and modern way. So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Re:style Studio! Andrea launched the studio in December 2010, and VOILA, she has filled a huge void by offering modern upholstery and restyling classes, plus she now has a great space to do her own re-upholstery projects in! Needless to say this studio is right up my alley, and so when I contacted Andrea to find out more about how Re:style came to be, I was thrilled to hear she was looking for someone to help teach some of the upholstery classes and workshops.  We are still sorting out details such as which courses I will be helping with, but I will definitely be spending more time over at Re:style in the coming month and I am pretty excited about that! Stay tuned!

As part of today’s post I asked Andrea to participate in a mini Q and A to get a little more insight into Re:style, and she kindly obliged….

Q: What do you like the best about upholstery?

A: It feels like forensic design. I love that I can strip a piece down and learn something new about construction with every layer. I also find stripping very cathartic and therapeutic. Rebuilding a piece gives me a chance to give it new life and restructure it. Transforming is my favourite part.

Q: What do you like the best about teaching upholstery?

A: The thing I love about teaching upholstery is how satisfied people are at the end of the courses to have either created a headboard or ottoman from scratch that looks like they bought it at a boutique, or totally transformed a piece of furniture by refinishing and reupholstering it.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece you have completed? And why is your fave?

A: The black and white settee is my favourite and has become a bit of a signature. I have a design degree in fashion so that settee is a perfect example of how I take my garment skills such as draping and apply it to the curves of the couch. I knew the stripes would be a challenge but also pay off on the look of the final product.

Now, I was lucky enough to visit the studio a few weeks ago, and let me tell you it is gorgeous.  A sleek, modern, black and white space, perfect for both a crafty workshop or a cocktail party! Did I mention that the space can be rented for events?  Trust me, this space is totally event worthy – here are some pics to give you an idea….

What did I tell you?  Great space.  Now a little on the classes! Upholstery classes offered include the Head of the Bed DIY Headboard class, Put up you Feet DIY Ottoman class, the weekend BYOP Re-Upholstery Workshop (Bring your own Piece) and well as the Learn to Restyle class. Class sizes are small enough so that you can get the one-on-one help you need and you get to complete your projects in a great atmosphere. More detailed descriptions of these classes, as well as other offerings, can be found here and the fall schedule is up on the Re:style Studio website! Here are some pics showing finished projects and before and afters from the classes…..

All Photos via Andrea Ford and Re:style Studio

There are still spaces left for the BYOP Re-upholstery workshop this Saturday and Sunday (Sept 10 and 11), so if you have a piece that you want to transform into something fabulous in just 2 short days contact Re:style right away to get booked in! I will be at the studio this weekend during the BYOP workshop working on a new project, so I hope to see you there or in future classes!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s feature and many thanks to Andrea for taking the time to give us a little insight into Re:Style Studio!  Have a great day!

Tale of Two Roundback Chairs – Part 2

So I spent most of the weekend trying to finish up these lovely round back chairs I am re-upholstering for friends of mine.  I’m on a deadline because I’m going on vacation next weekend for a week AND my friends are expecting a new baby any day now, and I would really like to get at least one, if not both, back to them before the little he or she arrives!  Here are some pics of what they are looking like now, compared to the photo from Part I of this series.  I think there may only be 3 parts to this series as I getting close to the final before and after post!  The shape of this chair proved to be a challenge but the result will be sooo worth it.

Arm roll

tipped on it’s side for easy access

Oh the layers of fabric…fun to see the history of the chair….and speaking of history….

I also found these in the chair when I took them apart….obviously the card is the upholsterer who worked on this chair at some point.  But the lady is a mystery.  But it’s not a mystery she was not happy about getting her picture taken…

isn’t the contrasting piping so pretty?

Have a great Monday!

XO, Linds

A Tale of Two Round Back Chairs – Part I

Hello all,

I’ve spent much of this weekend working on my latest upholstery project.  I’m reupholstering 2 round-back chairs for my friends, and I’m very excited about it!  They bought the pair for $150 at the Elegant Garage Sale, which was a real bargain as the chairs are in great shape, albeit in need a a serious upgrade and modernization.  And I adore the fabric they choose, and when I love the fabric it makes whole process so much nicer.  Here’s a little update on the progress to date,  in photos….


This is one of the 2 chairs (they are the same).  I got a little ahead of myself with the deconstructing before I remembered to do my “before” photo, but picture a skirt around the bottom.

This hot mess is what the skirt was helping to cover up.



the curve around the  the back…


98% stripped to the bare bones


The legs were a bit rough and didn’t match my friends new hardwood floors, so I sanded them down…

…and performed a quick re-finishing/staining job.


Tools and supplies: jute webbing and a web stretcher.

Crisp new webbing!


I love the fabric, a light grey with green, yellow, and brown accents.  An my favorite part is that we are doing a contrasting piping in the yellow fabric you see on the right!  I have seen this done on lots of pieces, by have never done it on any of the pieces I have reupholstered.  I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out.

Today I get to start working on the stuffing and fabric on one of the chairs, which is the part where the piece really starts to come together, can’t wait.

Happy Sunday All!

Shopping for Upholstery Fabric

When deciding if you are going to re-upholster a piece of furniture, fabric is a big consideration.   And although I just love fabric shopping, the racks of fabric samples can be daunting especially if you don’t know what you need.  There are few things to consider when you are looking for upholstery fabric.  One the the most important things to do is to figure out how much fabric you need to buy, because that will be a big factor in the total cost.  Most fabrics come in 54″ widths and are purchased by the yard or by the meter.  Some upholstery fabrics are “double wide” (108″), giving you double the fabric per yard, but there is ususally less selection of double wide fabrics to choose from.  Here is a yardage chart that can be used to estimate how much you will need for certain piece of furniture.  They are just estimates but it is a good guideline to use.  That being said, it is always a good idea to talk to your upholsterer once you have the choices narrowed down to a few fabrics, just to confirm how much you will need.

If you are reupholstering a couch and it has a pattern you definately want to look at at using railroaded fabric.  Railroaded means the pattern goes side to side of the roll instead of up the roll.  In order to be able to use one piece of fabric across the back of a sofa or couch (without having a visbile sewing line), you would have to use railroaded fabric.  Here is a little picture demonstrating the difference.

Another factor to consider is wearbility/durability.  Fabrics with a high thread count (#of threads per sq inch) tend to be thicker and more durable.  Or choose a fabric with 20,000 rub count or higher.  Good fabric stores will have a section of upholstery weight fabrics or have staff that will be able to tell if it can be used for the piece you have in mind. 

Happy Shopping!

Upholstery in the English Countryside

Hello! Happy Monday and Happy Election Day fellow Canadians! I hope you all excercised your priviledge and right to vote today!

With so much press coming in from the UK around the recent royal wedding, I decided it was a good time to discuss the upholstery courses I took last year in the UK.  Upholstery courses are few and far between in Canada, but in the UK they are fairly common.  This makes sense when you think about it.   The volume of antique furniture is the UK is much greater than here in Canada.  The older the furniture, the more value it holds, and so people are more likely to have these pieces restored/re-upholstered rather than buying something new. Therefore, there is a bigger need for trained upholsters, and so upholstery classes/courses are much more common.  There is a full curiculum of upholstery training developed by the thier accreditiation body, the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers.   Getting through the full accreditation would take months to complete, and alas, my available time was limited.  I completed two one-week courses instead. 

In the spirit of seeing more of jolly old England, I took a one week course from two different upholsterers/schools.  The first was at Kendal Upholstery located just outside of the Town of Kendal in the Lake District.  The town was lovely, and I learned alot.  I only completed part of a chair in the week but it was great practice.  And I met some great people while I was there as well.  Here are some photos of Kendal.

Entrance to the workshop in Kendal Upholstery

Progress on my chair on my last day

 The second week was at Tresithick Upholstery & Restoration, the Barn Workshop which was on the beautiful Trewithen Estate near Truro in Cornwall. Again, the setting was lovely.  Early spring in Cornwall is beautiful.  At Thesithick, my focus was to learn tufting!  I love, love, love tufted pieces, so I really wanted to learn to do it myself.  Here are some photos of Tresithick: 

My morning walk to the workshop through the Threwithen Estate property.


My Tufts!

 I had great experiences during both weeks, and I would recommend both as great places to take a course or to do a full accreditation.