"Make Do and Mend"
I grew up in England with parents who were born just before World War II. For their entire childhood and as a young married couple they lived in a world where "make do and mend" was an everyday mantra and way of life. In our current world of plenty, we have to a great extent forgotten how to repair or remake the items round us, or indeed no longer see the value in doing so.
Part of the reason I started finding furniture to re.design was my attempt to stem the flow of furniture headed for landfill and to give it a second lease on life. Older pieces are generally better constructed, with better materials and interesting designs.
In addition, I try to use reclaimed and up-cycled (but new) fabrics from Modern Fabrics (www.modern-fabrics.com) or SCRAP here in San Francisco. As a result I end up having immense fun pairing the stripped down frame with the fabrics & yardage I have
available to me.
This mid century chair "Don" (as in Draper for all of you Mad Men fans) has lovely lines, but has had a hard life! Once stripped down to the frame you can see that Don is still in great shape. The legs had been chewed by a very large dog, (ouch!) so after filling and sanding I decided to paint them rather than staining.
The arms needed tightening up, but apart from that it was a straightforward rebuild from the burlap outwards - new foam, cotton batting, muslin, top fabric & single welt.
Yes, that is an oyster knife on the seat, and no, that is not a standard upholstery tool. I happen to be very allergic to oysters so I re.purposed the knife to help remove stubborn staples when my staple lifter wasn't up to the job!
As I mentioned, using re.claimed fabrics means I work with limited yardage in any given design or color. In this instance I used a cool retro weave for the inside back, seat and arms of the chair, and a contrast smoky soft turquoise velvet for the outside back.
Don came with me to my very first Treasure Island Craft & Flea Market last Spring and, as his namesake did, attracted a lot of attention. He was snapped up by a lovely couple (not mad at all!) as a sturdy but comfortable office chair for him.
(Apologies for the extra pieces in the photos - early days in my photo taking!)