The first was holding down the corner in a perfectly preserved 1950s ranch in Stephenville, Texas, owned by an elderly couple who believed in having the type of formal living room where no living was allowed.
A sweet, broke college football player took his girlfriend to an estate sale at this house so they could purchase furniture on the cheap for his bachelor pad. They picked out two mid century sofas, a pool table and more for his house, but she called dibs on this chair for herself. It was just like a chair she had seen on the cover of her favorite magazine, Domino.
The chair was well loved and well used, owning new corners in her two apartments. It made the trip to her first house, when she married that football player and put down roots.
She loved that chair, but another member of the house loved it even more.
The dog hair started to ruin the upholstery, and she flipped the cushion over to hide the dirt and dander. She spotted a label underneath with a name that she recognized: Milo Baughman. It turned out this $5 chair was actually an original piece by one of the best know mid century furniture designers!
The second chair had no such lineage, but it was beloved nonetheless. Found for $50 at the flea market in Canton, Texas, she gave you a bear hug every time you sat down.
The upholstery was a rusty brown that had seen better days, but she still got a lot of use. The shape was unique, and the pedestal base was perfect for rocking back and forth. What she lacked in style, she made up in comfort.
This summer, the time had come to finally show these chairs some love. The turning point came when I reached out to one of my favorite bloggers, Grace Mitchell from A Storied Style, via Facebook. She's an interior designer who is also based in the Dallas area who finds the coolest treasures at estate sales. I figured she must have a great upholstery guy, so I reached out to her to see if she would share her resources with me. Sure enough, she gave me the name of an upholsterer named Gabriel who had fair prices and was willing to work his magic on my precious vintage chairs.
First, my Baughman was covered in an outdoor (yet still soft to the touch) fabric for maximum durability - Richloom Solarium Outdoor Forsythe Peacock from Fabric.com. I never tire of the color teal, honestly. It works with all of my decor and is husband- and child-friendly. I just love it!
She has found new life in the twins' nursery, right at home with the bright, happy colors.
I bought 8 yards of fabric for just under $8/yard, so that was $64. The cost for the new upholstery was $300. Giving a Milo Baughman chair a fresh start in our favorite room in the house? Priceless!
The husband has claimed the bear hug chair as his own, so he requested a masculine fabric. I bought six yards of this fabric at the Round Top flea market for $10/yard last year with this particular project in mind, so it was nice to finally use it.
We hoped we could keep the leather backing and just replace the fabric part. Luckily Gabriel was skilled enough to pull that off for us. I think the combination of the warm leather and grey fabric looks pretty sharp.
The fabric cost $60 and the upholstery labor was $200. I think $310 is pretty great for a special chair like this, especially when a similar option sells for $1850 at Restoration Hardware.
When Gabriel opened it up, the chair was made of wood, metal and styrofoam, which is a combination he had never seen before. It's one of a kind, for sure. He beefed up the padding to make it even more comfortable. The best part? It is perfect for rocking babies!
Just for fun, here are the before and afters.