the chair that didn’t need a makeover…

by | Mar 19, 2016 | All Things Home, Before and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Tutorials, upholstery | 51 comments

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…but ended up getting one anyway.

It took me months to get the nerve to rip the beautiful Pierre Deux fabric off of this chair…

I loved the colors, the pattern and the upholstery was done very well.  There were a couple problems with it – it didn’t work with my Farmhouse White theme for the Lucketts Spring Market and the fabric was faded at the back and a little dingy.  You don’t really notice it in the pictures, but it looked tired.

It was still hard for me to rip it off, so I had Kriste start on it while I worked on something else.

When I started putting the chair back together again, with pieces cut from an antique hemp sheet and ticking, I was at peace with the decision.

The chair is still its pretty, Frenchy self, but it feels fresher; less fussy.

I finished it off with the same braided jute trim I’ve been using on everything lately!  It saves me from sewing double-welting, which is awesome, and it fits perfectly with the theme.

I also decided to add a tack detail on the trim.  I like how it framed out the simple hemp fabric.

The ticking was off of an old pillow case and I had just enough for the back and arms.

The wood frame and carved detail is so pretty, so I left it as is.  I have a lot of painted pieces in the space and I like to balance that out with some warm woods.


I upholstered and trimmed the chair when I was in the studio by myself, so the next time Kriste was in, I asked if she had seen it and if she liked it.  She spoke in sentence fragments.  Something like, “I can’t.  I just.. I can’t even look at it…”

In Kriste-speak, that means she really loves it.

The studio right now is packed with furniture and finds from my recent shopping trips, craigslist finds and pieces Jeff built for me.  It’s beyond nuts, but I’m not planning another shopping trip for 2-3 weeks to give us a chance to catch up on all of the furniture, pricing, etc.

Get ready for a lot more makeovers…

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    1. Karen

      It’s perfection!

    2. Ashley Johnson

      It’s so beautiful!!!!!!!!! I love it!

    3. Argelia Brown

      You’re right, she did look a bit outdated. Now she looks like a young fresh hip chick! Well done!!!

    4. Annie B

      This chair is sooooo beautiful !!!! I was wondering, did you wipe it down with Hemp Oil to bring out the wood tones ?

    5. Ariel

      Gorgeous! That pretty little thing is going to sell so fast! I really want to try and make my own version of this. Always inspiring, Marian!

    6. Paula Scheib

      This is beautiful!

    7. Ellen Nelson

      I like what you do with everything. If I had a big scrap of that beautiful fabric from the chair, I would make it into a slipcover for a notebook and place it proudly on a bookshelf and write my life story in it. Best wishes. Ellen Nelson

    8. holly

      So so beautiful, can you list the supplier for your braided jute trim?

    9. Dianne

      It was nice before, but I love how you Marionized it! So much more soothing and easy to live with. You always make everything beautiful!

    10. Debbie Reynolds

      Oh my! I totally love that chair now! O

    11. Natalie in Ohio


    12. Laurie

      A BIG improvement!!
      Now your clock needs some color! You might want to look at some Carl Larrson drawings for color ideas……

      • Robin Leach

        The clock has some color. And it’s perfect!

        • Theresa Maher

          Love, love that clock.

    13. DiB

      5 stars!

    14. Kathleen Harris

      Marian, any idea of how many items you typically bring to Luckett’s? Maybe not counting the small items. Do you ever run out at the event? Or! is that something you worry about? Just curious?

    15. Kathleen Harris

      It’s funny, but when I first discovered you about 4-5 months ago, I got so excited because the blue n’ cream fabric you have on your walls in your bedroom and in your bath I have on the back of a chair very like this one, and on some pillows. I had seen it first in a magazine I think and had to search for it online at the time. I only bought what I could afford. The chair I had upholstered some years ago in a subtly striated blue (solid) and decided to add this fabric to the back. Now, I’m looking forward to reupholstering everything but the back in linen. Itching to get it done so that my “lady” has an update!

    16. Deanna


    17. Naomi S.

      It’s a great chair and looks SO much better with a plainer upholstery. I’m not sure I’m sold on the braided jute trim, though. To my eye it is just too rustic for such an elegant piece. My preference would be the matching cording. Or maybe a velvet cording of some type.

      It is exciting and fun to see all the new projects you are working on, though! Nice for all us followers to get to drool over them without expending any energy doing the actual work! Looking forward to seeing more.

    18. Yvonne Bradley

      I am sorry but this chair overhaul is just plain out and out ugly. It looks like it has been done by an amatuer. Jute as a braid and tacks to complete. Would not have that in my house.

      • Karen L

        What a rude comment. It is polite, if you do not care for something, to just move on. I can’t fathom a reason for typing such ugliness. You begin with “I’m sorry…” But I doubt that you are…

        • Laurinda D

          I’m with you, Karen. In the immortal words of Bambi’ s friend, Thumper “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

        • Theresa Maher

          Yes, that was a very strange thing to post. #belikethumper

      • katienearchicago

        I sometimes find it difficult to express an opposing view or opinion when so many give nothing but praise. But here goes: The tacks in particular really bother me on this chair (and on an earlier piece). Would they rust? Or catch someone’s clothing? So this chair is not for me. And my opinion is my own and worthy of expressing, as is yours.

        • marian

          It doesn’t hurt my feelings or offend me at all when someone doesn’t like a piece that I share. Not everyone is going to love my style or every piece that I do and that’s totally okay. It’s also fine for them to express that, if they choose, which is why I don’t delete “negative” comments.

          I think other readers respond, because it seems unnecessary to take the time to let someone know you think something they created is “ugly” in your eyes. (I’m referring to Yvonne’s comment.)

          I put myself and my work out there. I’m used to mixed feedback and I can take it, I’ve learned not to take comments, the good and the bad, too much to heart. I do take comments into account, though. You are my readers, after all!

          Katie, as far as the functionality of the tacks, they are tapped in far enough that it would be pretty hard for someone to catch their clothing on it, but I suppose it could happen. Yes, it’s just a style choice I made, that I personally love for the chair, but it’s okay if you don’t. 🙂

      • Alason

        I’m sorry, but what creep comment. I’m pretty sure I learned in grade school that if you cannot say something nice, maybe you should just keep your mouth shut.

    19. Dianne Ploude

      I LOVE what you do with furniture!!! :O)

    20. Jeri Lacy

      Awesome! I love it.

    21. Janet Harding

      That chair looks beautiful. Wish I lived close so I could snatch it up!

      • Stephanie

        That chair is gorgeous! Marian, I love your style! I don’t know if there’s a better place to ask this, but is the big lucketts sale in leesburg? Because I live a half hour from leesburg and would be thrilled to come!

    22. Yvonne Bradley

      A comment area is not just for fawning commentary but for critique as well. My opinion stands. The chair itself is beautiful but the rustic fabric and that jute trim are appalling.

      • Karen L

        It’s the way that you say things Yvonne. Your choice of words is ugly and it seems that you are really out to make other people feel bad. What a shame. You are obviously unhappy or you could see that other people’s creations are an art form and an expression of who they are and what they find to be beautiful and appealing to them … Art does not resonate in the same way with every person…. But the fact that you specifically take the time to type comments that are not just an opinion of a particular item not being your style but are comments that seem to be specifically hate filled seems to indicate some other motivation from you. Either you’re very a unhappy person or jealous… Life is short and there is already enough nastiness in this world… Try being kind and if you don’t care for something just move on… Your “critique” is unnecessarily mean.

        • katienearchicago

          Why do you specifically take the time to type yet another criticism of Yvonne? If she is unhappy (and I don’t think you know that she is), is your comment supposed to make her feel better???? Time for you to move on.

          • Karen

            Kindness kindness kindness. It’s so important.

            • katienearchicago


      • Mrs. Mindieta

        If the style doesn’t appeal to you then I suggest Spruce. They are in Austin Texas and have a less country more modern flare. No NEED to be negative when there are plenty of other designers more suitable to your tastes. Or design and upholster your own pieces as I myself am attempting. It’s more productive, educational, rewarding and ultimately satisfying experience.

      • Theresa Maher

        You don’t have to like it; nobody likes everything other people do. But I agree with KarenL, it’s how it is stated. katienearchicago wasn’t crazy about it but she expressed her opinion in a way that was specific to the piece, not the person who put it together. “Looks like it was put together by an amateur” is just unkind and not a critique.

    23. Rebecca M

      I’m in full agreement with Katie and Yvonne.

    24. Hyedi johnson

      Hi Marian,
      Funny that you posted this French chair today, because I had a question for you, floating around in my head for a few weeks now.
      I see on the French chair that there are Breaks at the meeting parts.
      I have a French chair in my basement that I’m working on to reupholster with the help of your tutorials. I got rid of the one layer of paint, the white paint, and then the dark stain. After I did that, it’s super clear to see all the breaks and I see the same breaks in the same places on your chair.
      I don’t mind them, I actually like it because it shows her age and how tough she is to have made it This long and still have a lot of life left in her. She’s a gem to me.
      Any thoughts on that?

      • marian

        Yes, that’s a common place for those chairs to break. If they have just come unglued, which was the case with mine, it’s an easy fix. You just glue them again. If the dowel that connects the two pieces is broken, it’s going to take more than the average DIY skills to fix it. I either wouldn’t buy those or I would bring them to a furniture repair shop.

    25. Hyedi johnson

      One more thing I forgot to add: a post on how to reenforce those spots on a chair would be so appreciated.

    26. Marlene Stephenson

      It is so much better, it needed that light color so you could see the beauty of this chair.

    27. Laura Walser

      I don’t think anyone on the post believes that everyone has to like the same thing. But there is a difference between saying that a certain style is not your taste and using words like ‘ugly’, ‘appalling’ and ‘fawning’.
      Perhaps there is a blog out there that features something more to your taste.

    28. Ellie

      BEAUTIFUL!!!! Question- what are the GORGEOUS gray toned florals in the basket? They look like dried artichokes, but I have never seen gray ones?? They are beautiful!!

      • marian

        They are called chico chokes and they were painted in that pretty pale gray! I ordered them a couple of years ago to use in my Christmas tree and I never did, so I priced them to sell at Lucketts. They have really cool texture.

    29. Marsha

      The chair looks great. I know it will quickly find a new home at the upcoming market.

    30. Denise

      The before upholstery was lovely so I get where you were coming from. Good thing You have Katie to push you past those painful moments…ha, ha! The finished chair is definitely more you and keeps with your farmhouse theme. Very nice.

      I, too, would be afraid those tack heads will rust later on. I honestly thought you were going to put piping over them, so I was a bit surprised when that was the finished look. I have never seen upholstery finished this way before, but you do have your own style and it works for you. Clearly mine hasn’t taken me as far as yours has taken you.

      You are good at giving people another way to look at things, and to step outside the traditional box. Thanks for providing a new perspective to consider. Now I know that my work doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s to be acceptable. Thanks Marian…keep being you!

    31. Lauren

      Oh I simply love it, as beautiful as it was because you have given it new life! I love how you left the wood alone. I think that’s what makes it that much better #allthehearteyes

      Lauren | Lovely Decor

    32. Connie Fowler

      I agree with the makeover on this chair. The old fabric, though expensive, was outdated. And the ending result fits your style.

    33. Michelle

      I love the redo on this beautiful chair. It is a lovely combination of refined and rustic . I think she looks just perfect ! You Marian are always an inspiration to me and you give me so many wonderful ideas for my own home. Thank you and don’t stop doing what you do, ever….

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