When I picked up this rocker chair from my client’s house to begin work on it, a sweet little girl was curiously laying on it in the hallway where it waited for me to pick up. She told it me it used to be hers when she was a baby (I think she is about seven now). She thought I was going to draw on it to make new fabric and thought that it should be a dog print. Hmmm. Well, I can’t draw but I can make a slipcover and it’s not quite a dog print, but it is a wild one!
My client is drawn to a neutral pallet of whites and creams, so when she decided to stretch a bit and went with an animal inspired print that had a little bit of wild influence, I was pleasantly surprised. This fabric is from Revolution Fabric, a performance fabric called Magnet in a teal color. It actually looks more like a teal tone of a gray….which you could say is a form of a neutral. It will add a fun pop of color and interest wherever she put it. It has a rub rating of 30,000 and is washable!
The lines of this wingback rocker chair remained the same, with a white piping to break up the print and show the beautiful wing arm curves. We decided to keep the bottom corded and velcro’d to the bottom of the chair. I sometimes like to use a solid color for the seat decking to make it easier to see where the placement of the slipcover goes and to break up the busy pattern. For even more versatility and when she is done rocking the newest baby, she can replace the rocker legs with regular legs that she just happens to have and the finish of the chair will not be affected. I think the cleaner simple look of a corded bottom is perfect for this fabric.
What a better way to update this solid chair that clearly still held strong emotions to this little girl. It went from a heavy linen fabric that had years of stains and most recently cat scratches and dog chews. But that is life! I think this little girl thinks the chair will go back in her room, but I think mom has plans to use it for baby #3 but with a fun updated look.
My client Jenny is in that familiar state of transition. You know, the time where your kids have all but left the nest and pursuing a life of their own but you’re too young to retire just yet. Currently in a townhome, they do envision this a temporary place until the next phase. Even then, they wanted to update and freshen it up to enjoy it themselves before any resale in the future. My sentiments exactly. Why wait until you are ready to sell before updating! Been there, done that. Do it now so you can enjoy it, keeping in mind what is timeless and sellable.
In addition to the typical repainting and kitchen updates, their furniture needed a bit of a refresh as well. They had a heavy, comfortable and still functional couch, arm chair and ottoman that fit there space just fine and they wanted to repurpose instead of buying something new at this point. The textured chenille couch was a dated gold tone and the microfiber on the arm chair and ottoman were worn smooth in spots.
The couch, arm chair and ottoman all required a bit of prep work before construction of the new slipcovers. Did you know that on attached back cushions there is a zipper on the bottom so you can remove the cushion insert? FYI, if your cushions are looking a bit flat or squishy, you can remove the inserts and refill them to give them more fluff. Check out The Slipcover Makers tutorial on how to do this yourself. With Jenny’s permission, I removed the back cushions and made templates with the old cushions to make new loose cushions. This was a first for me and I felt a little intimidated to cut off the existing cushions, but I followed some awesome instructions and all went well. The Slipcover Maker has a great tutorial on this process. I also cut off the skirt on the couch and stapled the skirts on the chair and ottoman to the bottom wood of the chair to reduce bulk so they would not interfere with the new skirts. With the newly deconstructed furniture I was ready to tackle the slipcovers.
For the armchair, Jenny chose a high performance, linen-look, washable fabric called Phoenician from Revolution Fabrics in a Toast color. It compliments the fabric she chose for her couch and the rug and other chair she has in her living room. A pair of arm covers will help extend the life of the slipcover and reduce the need to remove the entire slipcover should the arms get soiled. But lets face it, in a house without kids full time, it shouldn’t need to be cleaned often.
In addition to stapling the skirt to the wood base of the ottoman, I converted the pillow top ottoman to a solid ottoman by add a layer of batting and a muslin slip slipstitched to the piping. The end result is a clean and simple ottoman with a slipcover that can be easily removed and laundered.
Jenny chose an oatmeal colored cotton/rayon blend from Big Duck Canvas . This fabric definitely required prewashing in order to preshrink it for any future washing. It did wrinkle a bit but nothing an iron and a little spray starch or steam can work out. The back featured two zipper panels that line up with the bottom pleats to make it easier to take on and off yet still allow for a tight fit. The final result is a more casual updated sofa to give them a few more years.
I always try to learn something new from my projects. After tackling the removal of the attached back pillows, I am inspired to try this on my own gray microfiber couch and loveseat for a fresh update sometime in the near future.