Every Thing Old (Can Be) New Again

Who doesn’t have a favorite piece of furniture they’ve lived with for decades and that currently is looking pretty shabby—and not chic?

And in this era of tight money and worries about where the next paycheck is coming from, the notion of just going out to buy a big ticket item like a sofa or dining room sideboard just isn’t on these days.

The Old Couch

But life never remains static, and the homes we live in—whether owned or leased–continually need maintenance, some refurbishment, and a little pizzazz, if only to cheer us up a bit.

Case in point:

These chairs have been part of our lives in six different houses. Men like them because they’re roomy; women like them because they feel surrounded by comfort. The chairs’ last resting place was in front of a huge picture window that got both direct sun and reflections off water. But “Houston, we have a problem.”

When the chairs were last transported to a new abode, the upholstery literally disintegrated in the mover’s hands.

Worn Out Fabric

Even so, we lived with them in this state for nearly a year while we recovered from the cost of our latest “rightsized” move to a 1000 sq. ft. cottage-by-the-sea with a small guest house/office nearby.

The first estimates I got for slipcovers from friends who used decorators were nearly $1000 a piece! Then I went to a discount fabric store and found the fabric I wanted at $8.95 a yard (reduced from $24.95 a yard), which came to $179, since I needed 20 yards for the two chairs.

After I’d paid for the fabric at the checkout, I noticed a bulletin board where business cards left by several “home sewers” who did slipcovers were thumb tacked in hopes that prospective customers would pick them up. A couple of slipcover makers had websites that showed their past commissions.

This was how I found Hester Michael, whose work was impeccable (she also designs and makes costumes for Renaissance Faire fanatics). She produced two perfect slipcovers in about two weeks’ time using the old ones as patterns.

Our Great New Slipcovers

And the bill? $250 per chair in time and labor! She was happy, we were happy, and our nest had a brand-new look.

Thanks to a little research on my part–and shopping for the yardage myself–we love the shot-in-the-arm these favorite old chairs now give our cozy, “rightsized” living room.

And it didn’t break the bank.

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