Given as I am to flights of fancy, I often think, while eating dinner with my family at our dining room table, of the generations of family members who sat around this same table telling stories, sharing sorrows, dreaming dreams.
The dining room table and chairs were built in the 1880s, commissioned by my Great-Grandfather, a businessman of Scottish descent who wanted a substantial table befitting his life as a storekeeper and father.
Sometime in the 1950s or 60s my grandfather or aunt had the chairs recovered and now it is time to do so again.
In fact, the necessity of doing this expensive undertaking this fall was created in the last few weeks when Barry's chair began to literally fall apart out from under him.
When you have a family heirloom you feel a greater responsibility to maintain it and keep it in good working order than you would if it was just something you'd purchased yourself at a local shop.
So off we went to the local upholsterer for a quote and stack of fabric swatches almost as tall as me. Each chair will be taken apart, re-glued and re-upholstered, hopefully to serve the next generations as well for the next 50 years before someone else has to do the same thing (I hope they will!)
The decision about fabric was torturous - mostly for Barry mind you - and I went through many iterations before placing my order yesterday. The trick for me was that whatever I chose had to be elegant enough to be worthy of the chairs, not trendy but also not stuffy, and l had to love it, since I expect to sit in it for another 40 years or so. (what? you don't plan to live to be 90+, too?)
So what did I choose?
Well the two captains chairs will be covered in this indigo and ivory print called Camilla from Barrow Fabrics.
The side chairs will be covered in this sapphire blue fabric called Isaiah (also from Barrow)
The small piece of fabric on the back of the side chair will be covered in this fabric, which echoes the fabric on the captain chairs but is actually the pattern turned inside out.
The chairs will go in for the face lift in September. We are doing 6 of the 9 chairs this fall and will do the remaining 3 next year. It is an expensive (and unexpected) undertaking, but we are excited and think it will be lovely in the end.
|The three fabrics together|
The upholsterer told me that upholstery is a dying art; when he began in the business, there were 15 trades persons in the local area. Now there are only two upholsterers in the Fredericton region. People throw out their couches and chairs now rather than recover them.
This makes me sad, actually. While we were visiting his shop there was the most gorgeous and ornate antique couch being redone in a fantastically gorgeous and decadent-looking white faux-leather. I started thinking of several pieces of furniture I could get re-upholstered to raise them up into something special.
But it is an expensive undertaking and I well understand why someone couldn't do it. Re-upholstering these dining room chairs is likely as expensive as buying a brand new dining room set. But I have yet to see a dining room table and chair as handsome as mine, or with the providence it carries for me, so that was never an option.
How about you? Do you have pieces upholstered? Stay tuned for the fall for the big unveiling!
Have a great day and stay safe out there!