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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Look Gail, It's the Frat Chair

One of my dear bloggy friends, Gail, and I have been discussing reupholstering ever since I mentioned that I was going to tackle recovering the couch in the mancave. I tried to send her a picture of my last project but her temperamental PC wanted no part of opening my possibly virus-laden snapshot (If you look closely you might notice a few yellow leaves in the background - could be a virus) so I thought I would post it up here for everyone to judge.... I mean, enjoy.

This chair is older than I am.
I can remember when it was covered in a chocolate milk-colored prickly loop fabric. If you were alive in the 60's, middle-class America, I think you know the stuff. It must have a name. Other than itchy, leg-rash fabric.

I remember that my dad used to sit in this chair and read the paper and smoke his Pell Mells with me in his lap. Yes, I'm sure that I do make a pretty good poster child for the deranged hazards of second-hand smoke, but my dad quit the sticks when I was about 4 years old.

Over the years, the chair got moved from top billing in the living room to the basement and then to the lake cabin, where it was recovered with something that was palatable in the 80's. Then, in spite of its new look, it was kicked to the cabin family room and eventually, to the 3rd class quarters (where they put me when I visit) - the 'bunk house'. Between the life jackets and plastic table cloths.

That was about all I could take. I don't mind sleeping in a shed but to find my beloved chair there was more than I could tolerate. If you can't tell by the picture, it is a platform rocker with cool little featherish metal toes. It even has a brake on the side if you are not in the mood to rock.

Well, after I expressed my displeasure to my mother, she challenged me to take it home with me. I'm pretty sure it was a couple of beers talking and she had no idea that it would fit in the back of my trusty Subaru wagon, but as luck would have it, this was a time when I was dropping off my children in the 'Otas for their annual month-long visit with the rellies. That meant I was deadheading back to You-tah and therefore had lots of room for childhood treasures. Yay me!

And then I got home and unloaded my prize. Homer took one look at my awesome heritage and coined it 'The Frat Chair'. He didn't even want it in the house. I stubbornly placed it IN THE LIVING ROOM and started thinking about recovering it. For like 5 years, I thought. I even took some of the fabric off to have a better look at what was underneath. Dangling raw edges don't do much to dispel a moniker like Frat Chair.

Finally two years ago all the planets aligned and I was able to find extra time, money, fabric and mental fortitude simultaneously. Okay, it was not cheap or easy because the springs were broken and had to be replaced and retied and the padding and webbing were toast, but let me tell you, this chair has one sweet, SOLID hardwood frame that I'm sure will survive until the day I (hopefully) hear 'Good grief, Grandma, can I tear off the putrid fabric and recover this groovy chair'. Because groovy will be the cool word again. And she'll probably do it up in some itchy brown fabric. And I will be SO dang proud!


Queen-Size funny bone said...

very nice. I've tried a few projects and it was fun. never anything as big as a couch.

Nadine Hightower said...

I remember that chair. My great grandmother had 2....one came to live with me. and when Roy and I moved here, I let it go. So it was quite old.
My granny had a sofa with the same material!!
I think I like that fabric better than what I have now!

I love what you've done with the chair. It doesn't deserve to be in a mancave.

Mary Moore said...

Wow, you're very talented! Great job!

That chair is identical to one my dad had that I recently inherited. It is in dire need of re-upholstering...which I couldn't do if my life depended on it.

Lots of memories in that chair.

jill said...

it's beautiful! great job!

lakeviewer said...

You declared your independence through this chair. Good for you.

Deedee said...

Looks great - love the fabric-sorta retro looking, yet fresh!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Professional quality!

Sheri and George said...

I think we used to have a chair similar to that when I was a child also. Looks great! You are one talented lady my friend!!
Can't wait to see the couch.
I do remember the nubby, itchy fabric you talk about (I am that old) and don't know it's true name either.

Laoch of Chicago said...

One must admire your tenacity

Suldog said...

Oh, God help us, that hideous fabric from the 60's! I used to wear shorts a lot more often than I do these days, and couches/chairs with that fabric were the absolute bane of my existence. The fabric shown here, on the other hand, is almost exactly the same as that on my paternal grandparents sofa, which was one of my favorite places to hang out. Nice!

Domestic Goddess said...

I remember that fabric. I spent many a sick day on the most comfy couch known to man that was covered with it...until my maternal unit had it recovered in some whack job material. *sigh*

Noanie said...

Damn Jane! You are one talented lady - but we knew that already. Great job on the chair.

Loved your synopsis of the Prez's speech the other night.

I'm so at a loss for words lately - school and work have taken me over and stolen my good humor - that and the jackasses I've dated. Oh well.

gail said...

It looks fantastic, J! Thanks so much for sharing the picture and the story behind the chair.

I'm about to fall over over with exhaustion (still the mil health issue).

Great weekend to you, g

Debbie said...

What a nice piece of furniture and history for you to have!

Small Footprints said...

Beautiful job! Frat Chair is lovely! And ... it's a wonderful example of re-using! You are not only "handy" ... you are "green".

Small Footprints

Anonymous said...

Fabulous! You did a great job on the reupholstering. Do you have a regular ol' staplegun, or one of those spiffy air-powered staple/nail guns? Can you tell I covet one of those? {sigh}

Seriously, very nice work.

TwiBitch said...

WOW! Great job on the chair Jane! I too, remember having at least one or two of those chairs with that scratchy, itchy fabric. At one point I could have told you what it was called, but not now. Too many years have passed.

Totally proud of your upholstery job though! It looks great! And certainly deserves to be the center of attention.

I've always loved platform rockers. So comfortable yet firm on the butt side. Makes it easier for old farts like me to get up out of them without hiring a crane!

You did good!