Design

Restored Cane Chair- Beauty in Imperfection

April 9, 2020

I'm Joey, the creator & founder of Beach House for Six. I believe your home should be beautiful, approachable & a true reflection of your family. 

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He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.

Exodus 35:35

This past year when deciding to start this blog and feel as if I didn’t know if I had the right talent I read this truth. Oh, how it encouraged me to set sail and trust not in myself but in my God-given gifts and let him write the story. Isn’t it a beautiful thought to know that you were given talents to create? I have often lacked confidence in my ability to create, especially when it comes to home design but as I trust these talents and am willing to learn through creativity I am amazed at what happens. I am able to create things and look at it thinking “Wow, I made that!”

Disclosure: This post has affiliate links wherever highlighted text is. There is no extra cost to you and I only make commission if you purchase.

Beauty in Imperfection

One of the books on my shelf that has inspired me to embrace this truth more has been “Restoration House”. She quotes

We run the risk of damaging our hard-won creative spirits when we lean too much on others and choose not to trust God, ourselves, and our own creative gifts.

Kennesha Buycks

Yes, I hear this loud. One of the things I have really tried to encourage my readers is to trust your own creativity and design spaces that speak your own story, that restore your soul. Being a closet perfectionist I have had to learn and embrace that imperfection is beautiful. This has been through different ways other than design. I don’t have the perfect body, I am not the perfect mom, friend, or wife. Striving for these things is exhausting. Instead, I have learned to pray and ask God to give me his eyes to see myself as I am. He answered and I imperfectly have learned how to embrace all my curves and scuffs on my walls.

When I bring in an old piece to my house it’s imperfect yet some people pay thousands of dollars for vintage relics. Why? Like we have concluded, I believe there is beauty in imperfection. As truth be told, we are beautifully and wonderfully made, imperfections and all. When someone walks into my home I want imperfection because it allows for relationship, transparency, and love to exist. I don’t believe this can be achieved when we copy and paste design, we are left with beautiful spaces that can feel empty. Not always… but generally if you feel this way step back and ask yourself what you could add that would make that beautiful space more personal. Allow yourself to make mistakes, laugh at yourself, and learn through creativity!

My $10 Desk Chair

I really did repurpose this chair for $10. Using what I had I didn’t spend a dime over the cost of the chair. I’m getting there to tell you how!

When looking for a new office desk chair I knew that to really finish the space it needed to be vintage. Everything about the space has a modern mood so adding in our own personal touch to the wall would be important and of course something vintage. I love adding a vintage piece to a space. It transforms it from sterile to communicating home. Vintage always has a story behind it and sparks my interest. Where did it come from? Who sat in it? How old is it? It’s so fun to find a new vintage piece that really resonates with you visually or sparks curiosity.

I wanted to get this project done quickly as I have been watching my daughter sit here doing 8-10 hours of school in this dinky, non-sturdy, low, and uncomfortable office chair. She is a trooper, with no complaints.

Still finishing trim on this space

Marketplace

This is probably my favorite “go-to” when it comes to finding really great vintage pieces at a good price. It’s available on Facebook and is a kind-of Craigslist for Facebook. What I like about it is I can usually view people’s profiles and know who I am buying from. In addition, I generally buy from people locally and someone I know is friends with them on Facebook. It makes for a much safer and friendlier buying experience. I will often send my after pics to my seller and they appreciate the new use of the item in my home.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to come across this solid wood Cane chair. He was asking $30 but I was able to get it for $10 as I made two purchases from him. It’s okay to offer a lower price, just be fair. The cane was in perfect condition and it already had rollers for my wood floor. I may switch them out to felt but for now, the height of the chair works and I think they are kinda funky.

Stripping old off

The first step in tackling this chair was to remove the old cushion and see the condition of my pad. The chair had a bit of an odor so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to re-use the foam. The fabric was definitely in bad shape and it was dated. Most vintage pieces will require new fabric so factor that into your cost unless you have something at home. I’ll get to that in a bit.

You can use a screwdriver and a pair of pliers for this. Use the screwdriver to get up under the staples and fabric lifting it out and the pliers to pull out any staples, nails, or the like until you have a clean piece of wood.

Sanding tutorial and supplies

Now that I had my chair stripped and all the staples out I was ready to start sanding. I used a disc sander for the larger and flatter sections of the chair with a 120 grit pad. The stain came off rather easily. Usually, old chairs can be gummy and in that case, I recommend using a solvent to remove the gummy stuff as you go so your sanding disc doesn’t get ruined quickly.

With the majority of the sanding complete now is time to get to those hard to get places your sander can’t. This was so fun for me to discover a new favorite sanding tool that is so crazy simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before. Being a former manicurist I have packages of nail files. My fingers were really taking a beating from the sandpaper and the progress began to slow. I decided to get my electric nail drill out and see how it worked. The results were amazing, gentle on my furniture, and fast!!

I used the drill in the crevices where sandpaper or a nail file wouldn’t go. You can purchase a Dremel and accomplish the same thing. Then using both the rough and smooth side of the nail file to get the remaining areas the sander won’t go without damaging your furniture. I have linked the drills and nail file I recommend.

Sanding the cane

I have actually never sanded cane so I was unsure about this step. It is an old chair so I was really reluctant to get into a mess with a stripper. For many projects, I will strip first and save myself a lot of time. The stripper I recommend is linked here and I am working on uploading a full tutorial on that. But for this project, I decided to go easy on the old cane and try sanding. It came out beautifully and brought out just enough brightness to match the rest of the chair without compromising the cane. I used standard 100 sandpaper for this. I recommend this multipack and you will have extra grits for tougher projects and fine sanding.

Replacing the cover

Now that my chair is sanded I am ready to tackle the cover. This is not as hard as it looks with some practice you will get it down quickly. I determined that I would not be re-using the batting or the cover. They both were in bad shape and had an odor I didn’t want to get into my new fabric. The foam was still usable and had been protected with batting so with the cost of foam being high I opted to reuse this. Here is some foam linked if you need new foam but hopefully you can keep the cost down by reusing the one you have.

I reused the foam only. It was yellow but kept cost down and had no odor

I didn’t want to spend money on fabric either. I have so many blankets, pillows, I just knew I could resource something for the cover. Look around your home you may be surprised what you find. I remembered I had some old hospital blankets. They are thick cotton, super stain resistant, and white.

I had my daughter use the old cord and sew me a new cord that would be placed and glued later. If you cannot sew I have seen some tutorials with glue. Make sure it is stain resistant and non-yellowing.

I needed new batting as the old foam was a bit worn down and I wanted some extra cushion for the seat. As well I wanted a buffer between my nice white fabric and the old yellow foam. I had some inserts from an old pillow. I usually take out the cheap inserts when pillow shopping and replace them with fuller feather ones. I saved the old inserts for projects just as this. I grabbed a larger insert and used it in place of batting.

you can see I am kneeling on top and if you look closely you can see the pillow insert becoming my batting. I cut it to fit pulling out excess stuffing.

Set on the ground your fabric cut with about 3-4 inches room so you can pull and staple it. Then place the pillow insert with the foam evenly on top and the wood fitted in place on top of that. Make sure it all fits. Put your body weight on the wood so as to smash down the filing as much as possible and cut the pillow insert to fit the shape, pulling any stuffing out that may be hanging over.

Once everything is cut and lined up you are ready to get a power stapler and begin wrapping the cover. Make sure you keep your weight on to smash it down tight. Once you are done and they seat inflates it will be really tight.

Begin by putting a staple in the top, bottom, and each side. That way it is stretched evenly. Do not work your way in a circle especially if you are working with a stripe or pattern, it will be crooked.

This is the last step to finish the corner. Do all your sides first leaving the corners for the end.

Work from the top just 2 inches short of the corner, then the sides just short of the corner. The corners are done last but folding and stapling around the corner making sure to push out any creases.

Your pad is now covered! Last is to glue the piping back on and screwing the pad back onto the chair.

ready to glue piping on. make sure it is far enough forward so you will see it when the chair is attached.

You have done it! I realize this is a lot of info and if you need better video don’t hesitate to comment and reach out. I will do my best to get you the help you need.

Share your $10 chair with me… I can’t wait to see.

Much love,

Joey

For more DIY inspiration see my newest build of the IKEA Hack Shiplap Built-In!

Disclosure. This blog post contains affiliate links and I do make a small commission at no cost to you when you purchase.

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