I can remember the first time I saw our dining room chairs. They were in my husband’s Grammie’s house in Merigonish, Nova Scotia. It was my first time meeting her and she was giving me a tour of her beautiful oceanfront home.
I loved that dining room set immediately. The table could extend to over 10 feet long! The chairs had harp shaped, curvy backs, and plush tufted velvet seats in a warm buttercream yellow. It looked like the sort of set that hosted important dinner parties with elegance and at the same time could easily have your entire extended family gathered around it, comfortably.
I remember complimenting her on the table and chairs that day. And, her response still makes me smile.
“I bought this set at an auction just last week,” she said. I later learned that the set had been in her family home for years and was an antique set that her and Grampie had purchased before my husband was even born.
Grammie loved to entertain. She hosted many gatherings around that table, I am certain.
She was so proud of her home and this table was an integral part of it.
Grammie was from a time when things were purchased for their quality, not their price. It was, in a lot of ways, an idyllic time. People had separate dining rooms for special occasions and holidays. Family was important, as were formalities. Traditions were a part of every day life. And, people’s homes were the backdrop to their lives.
Grammie’s dining room was carpeted, the art were originals, and the attention to the craftsmanship of the furniture was obvious.
When Grammie passed away, the set found it’s way to our Halifax home. I loved the memories that the table carried in all of its markings and patina.
But, the chairs were still my favourite.
I dreamt of updating the now worn fabric on their seats. It’s once luxurious velvet had lost its lustre. The tufted buttons were crumb collectors for our young children. And, the trim was beginning to show its age.
I took the project on and it was my first time re-upholstering a piece of furniture. I chose to update the chairs with a modern (yet classic) woven chevron fabric in mandarin (purchased from http://www.fabric.com). After a box of staples, some wood glue, a blister on my hand, and yards and yards of foam and fabric, I have a set of 6 chairs that I absolutely love. I am thrilled with how they turned out.
Here is a before and after shot –
I think Grammie Langley would be proud…