How we gave our chair a second life

The house I grew up in was almost entirely furnished with hand-me-down or thrifted and up-cycled furniture. What I used to think was a house lacking in style, was actually a house full of stories and a timeless charm. The set of drawers and matching bed frame in my bedroom? Oh that used to be in my Aunts bedroom when she was a little girl. The ceiling in the kitchen? Salvaged from the bakery. My dad made almost all of the frames in the entire house…all of which framed his own photographs or some of our kid artwork. My sister reupholstered an accent chair she picked up at a thrift store. I love this. Well...I don’t always love the way it looks, but its a lifestyle choice to make the most of what you have or alter into something that works for you and that is what I aim for. Plus, it has economical and environmental benefits as well. And last but not least, they just really don’t make things like they used to.

But some things are still made with heirloom quality. Specifically, this chair from Joybird. We got it a couple of years ago and I adore it. It’s sturdy, solid wood, a beautiful design and basically the chair of my dreams. Which is why I was furious to find the arms with tons of little puppy teethmarks. As just stated, this chair is amazing and 100% worth salvaging, so here we are with our first big furniture rehab.


We started with sanding off the existing stain. I’m not going to lie, this first step took over a week of working on it for an hour or two each night. And it was not fun. But during this process, I fell in love with this chair over and over again. I can’t say enough about the craftsmanship and care that must have gone into making it.


The next step was picking out new fabric. There is nothing wrong with the green, but with such a simple design of the covers I figured why not do a complete update of the chair. That and I wasn’t loving against the sea salt color in our bedroom. So I went to JoAnns and picked out this fabric, and commissioned my sister, Natalie, to make me some covers. She is a sewing wizard and said these were super easy for her to make. I might take advantage of her skills in the future and get another set or two of covers made and I’ll never get tired of this chair. It’s a pretty affordable and simple way to change things up on a whim.


After all the hard work that we put into repairing and refreshing this chair, I love it so much more than I did before. And we can feel good about giving it a second life and have a fun little story to tell about it.

Grace van Meurer