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There's only one thought we had when we saw this vintage chair and it was: "Yikes!" See how it went from beyond hope to beautifully restored...and brush up on your reupholstery skills in the process.

vintage-chairpracticalowl, flickr

From the profusion of unbound wool stuffing and a finish that can only be described as lackluster, it didn't surprise us to learn that the glory days of this vintage chair occurred over a century ago. (In fact, the chair dates from the Victorian era.) But as usual in these Curbspotting makeovers, good bones trump even the most serious-looking flaws. The chair's high-quality wood frame, beautiful carved details and graceful silhouette made it a worthy project.

The main issue was the seat...or lack thereof. While this makeover was done by a professional restorer, you can tackle this reupholstery project yourself using the brilliant upholstery overview at ModHomeEc. An overview: You'll completely remove the seat, add new cushioning (usually with foam) and then re-cover the new seat with fabric. A word to the wise: Before I even think about picking up a chair for a possible makeover, I always check its underside to see if it's held to the frame with screws, which makes it easy to remove the seat.

Next up is the chair frame. Here, the lack of shine throughout the piece tells us that the original finish is long gone. (Wax, oil and shellac/lacquer/varnish are the traditional sealers used for wood pieces.) You can either paint the frame a new color or attempt to restore the wood yourself. I tend to select more informal pieces that lend themselves nicely to a new paint job, but if you'd like an incredibly good primer on how to restore wood, I highly recommend this article from TLC's How Stuff Works.

Want to see more incredible before-and-after makeovers from our Curbspotting series? Check out...
Curbspotting: Midcentury Chair
Curbspotting: Dresser Makeover
Curbspotting: Vintage Lamps

And to see a wood refinishing project in action, watch this...


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