Reupholstering a Vintage Sofa

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We like to think that – as human beings – we can make our own choices.  Right?  We decide when to buy something.  We decide when not to buy something.  Right?

As I get older, I question this more and more.  Take for example this sofa.  While this sofa has a great frame and is of exceptional quality – it will undoubtedly take HOURS to reupholster.  It will require extensive yardage of expensive fabric.  The springs will need to be re-set.  The frame will need to be sanded. Box cushion covers will need to be sewn for the seat cushions.

As I started thinking about the amount of time, money and work required to give this sofa a new life – I came to the conclusion that I should pass it by.

Rational- right?  A good conclusion.  Some would say a down right good decision!

So, I did.  I left it at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and went on with my day.

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Photo: Sky Lark House

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Then, I started to think about the sofa.  How would I tackle this enormous project?  What fabrics would I use?  Don’t you think the front would look lovely upholstered in a nubby antique hemp fabric?  

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Fragments Identify- Hemp sofa

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I love this look of this antique sofa reupholstered in antique hemp and grain sacks. I also love how the frame is raw wood.  

Can you see the beautiful wood grain?

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Selling Antiques UK: Walnut sofa in french hemp

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Then, there is this sofa.  Look at that wooden frame!  It was re-upholstered using antique grain sacks.

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Selling Antiques UK: Hemp fabric on antique walnut sofa

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Look at the nubby texture of the fabric!  

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Photo: Sky Lark House

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So four hours later, I was still thinking of the sofa that I decided to pass up.  In my mind, I was deconstructing each section and figuring out how I could re-upholster it.  First, I would start with removing the old upholstery on the frame.  Then I could work on the frame. Then I would work on creating new seat cushions.  This thought process continued for some time.

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Photo: Sky Lark House

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I could visualize how the frame would look when stripped and sanded.

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Photo: Sky Lark House

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I could visualize how the back would look if re-upholstered in a contrasting fabric.  

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Remodelista- Izabella Simmons

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Perhaps I could re-upholster the back using antique ticking like the sofa shown in this photo above from Remodelista?  Wouldn’t that look fabulous?

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Photo: Sky Lark House

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I often wonder – do we own antiques or do they own us?  Five hours later, I went back to the store and walked straight to the register to buy the sofa.  It was about 15 minutes before the store  was closing for the day. The clerk looked a little confused.  “Which one do you want?  That one?  With the tapestry fabric?”  I nodded my head.  

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Photo: Sky Lark House

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And that my friends, is how I unexpectedly found my winter upholstery project.  Try as I might to walk away from it – the sofa called me back.  It asked me to take it home and give it a new life.  With all the ideas in my head, I simply couldn’t refuse.  

So please feel free to check back in over the long winter months.  I will provide updates on its transformation.  Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan and there are always unexpected challenges.  

In the mean time, I have to figure out how to get it out of the garage and downstairs into the workshop.

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