Saturday, February 22, 2014

the chair saga continued….

The sofa arrived and joined the funky set of chairs in the gallery, extending a new warmth and style to the room.  Makes for the perfect spot to take in the music, read a book, or catch up on some conversation with a friend. 
Every detail was tended to by Ricardo, my meticulous upholsterer, from the fabric to the buttons.  Even under the cushions you'll find fabric covered buttons lining the linen seating platform.

So remember the sad state of affairs regarding this caned set - a chair, rocker, and sofa?  Well I took the leap and purchased the set, with plans to strip and recane them, then refinish the wood.  Meanwhile, I went on the hunt for fabrics, narrowing the field to some colorful tapestries, textured velvets, fringe and braid in shades of magenta, ochre, and kiwi.

That task complete, I sat down with my dear friend MarCelia, my sketches and swatches in hand, to discuss the best way to bring my mid-century, Parisian vision together for these pieces.  She lent her expertise and knowledge regarding the construction of quality seating, and together we articulated a plan.

We both agreed the cushions would have to be of spring and down construction - not simply foam.  Despite the increased cost, the difference would be noticeable, and the cushions sturdy and comfy.  With a woven web of canvas to support them, the seating would envelope you like a setting in a Proust novel.

Between the two of us and Ricardo, we scoured the internet for reasonably priced spring forms and bags of down.  

Stacks of spring forms await, knitted together in groups.  Three will fit side by side for the sofa's bench cushion, with one each for the chair and the rocker.  They'll be surrounded by 1" foam, then wrapped top and bottom with a pillow of down, so they can be flipped to either side.

A trip back to the refinishers, and I find the wood stripped and sanded down, exposing mahogany wood and detailing that was barely noticeable before.  I spent some time with Gary experimenting with finishes and settled on a black mahogany, hand-rubbed stain.

The stain takes deeply to the back side of the caning, but leaves the inside with a bit of radiant gold showing through.  Perfect, I thought, with the fabric selections I had decided upon.  A satin-finish clear coat will finish the three pieces, and they'll be ready for the upholster.  

I picked up the fabric detailing samples from Ricardo, eager to see how the detailing would look on the cushions, and how they would go with the stained wood.  The Parisian carpet bag, shabby chic look I was after was evident, and with a few minor changes, gave my approval to go ahead.

"the down and feather envelope is a messy process :)" said Ricardo in a text this afternoon, "I look like a big turkey."   This I'd like to see!

The completed sofa, mid-century Parisian, carpet-bagger style
Tafetta rucking across the band adds texture, color, and a bit of a surprise

Coordinating sofa and chair
Rocker is trimmed gold fringe, with a band of checkered velveteen
The chair in striped velveteen with a pleated band in a contrasting stripe