One Fair Chair

By Kate Riley August 12, 2009

I have a thing for French style chairs with pretty legs.  I am drawn to any piece with traditional lines, and love to revamp something and give it modern flair. I really needed an extra chair in my new home office for a co-worker or a visitor.  So when I spotted one on the floor of the local thrift store for $15, I quickly grabbed it with the intention of repainting and recovering the seat.

Here’s a glimpse of the Before and After:

Transforming A Thrift Store Chair:

Remove seat cushion and existing fabric.  This seat was very well constructed so I needed both a screwdriver and pliers to remove the fabric.


I sanded the existing paint job to remove debris, varnish, and some chipping paint.  Next, give the chair a coat of primer then two coats of spray paint. I chose (again) ‘Heirloom White’ by RustOleum.

I liked how the original chair had some hand painted elements highlighting the detail.  I repeated the same effect with a small artist’s paintbrush, but with a more modern silver color.



I bought one yard of a textured aqua velvet Christopher Lowell fabric at Joann’s for 40% off with a coupon.  Yippee, $15 dollars for gorgeous velvet!  I made a pattern with my original fabric, and then stitched a strip of fabric to the pattern to form a new cover.



The pen was one with disappearing ink but stays visible for a few hours, long enough to sew along the lines.

I used my original foam, which was in great condition and lacked any odors.  I stapled the new cushion cover to the underside of my seat base, then reattach my new seat cushion to chair.


Isn’t she a fair little chair?

And a lovely addition to my office, currently under remodel, pics coming soon!



  1. I'm so sorry I can't offer any special wisdom on the label.
    But the chair looks lovely, and I'm excited to see the final reveal of your office!

  2. Hi – It looks so great!! Question – how hard did you have to sand? I have a similar chair and want to repaint it as well. Thanks!

  3. I recently redid a chair from the Goodwill w/similar "bones" to your chair. These kinds of re-do's make such a difference from the original "before" and give a great sense of accomplishment. Yours is a lovely "after".

  4. You've got me wanting my OWN paint supply cabinet and permanent painting station set up in my garage :)

    Beautiful redo.

  5. The new chair is just fabulous. I havn't revamped a chair yet, but I have one that really needs it. You are giving me the courage to do it. Hugs, Marty

  6. Very pretty! I like how in the after it looks like it mimics your paneled wall behind the chair {the grooves in the chair}. It's a nice size too because it gives you an extra seat, but doesn't take up a lot of room visually. Nicely done!

  7. Kate, I looked at my Drexel Heritage end tables and a I bergere chair and ottoman I own, the hallmarks have both names. Sorry I can't help you out.

    You certainly took that chair from sad to stylish. I love your makeovers. Your tutorials and photos are always full of detail and helpful hints. Thanks for another fabulous post!


  8. Great job! That chair looks fabulous now, and I love the fabric you selected.

  9. I love that chair. The style and lines and even the original finish look very similiar to a dining set I recently purchased from Craiglist (shown on my blog). My set is also marked Heritage, although my label looks different than yours and it IS the Heritage furniture line that makes up Drexel Heritage. You can read about how the two companies merged below. One of my armchairs still had the "Under Penalty of Law" tag with a statute year of 1929 on it and at the bottom there were two checkboxes – one for Drexel and one for Heritage (which was checked).
    By the way, I was inspired by your Cinderalla chair revamp to find an older dining room set and refinish it. Thank you.

  10. i love it! i wish i can find chairs like that to transform… i am hunting for one this weekend! wish me luck!

  11. Fab-u-lous! I love the little details you painted on. To sew a new cushion like that, I'd definitely have to have my sewing friend give me another lesson. I am clueless when it comes to patterns…even making my own.

    Thanks for the shout out! :)

  12. Annette – you are a super sleuth ! Thanks so much for the link, and filling in the missing gap in my information. You're awesome !


  13. wow beautiful chair! i am having a few vintage chairs redone at the moment, from repainting to reupholstery and it is so exciting!
    who knew renovating chairs could bring so much happiness to a girl :)

  14. I love chairs… I think I may have a chair fetish! They always catch my eye at thrift stores. I bought 3 last week, my car was so full, that I had to pass on one that was marked $5.00, but was 50% off that day. :( Now I wish I had crammed it in somehow!
    You did a great job, and it looks so great in your office!

  15. You make me want to go scour thrift stores for ugly 70's fabric covered chairs! It's beautiful!

  16. My buffet it the kitchen is old Drexel Heritage and if I can get someone to help me drag it away from the wall I will see if the label is similar.

    I love the chair transformation! Either no one in my area gives decent stuff to the Goodwill or I get there at the wrong time. I can NEVER find anything there! Lucky you with the great score!

  17. Lovely job with transforming this chair into something beautiful again. I just picked up a beautiful old chair the other day that is destined for my guest room, hopefully I will have a reveal coming up soon!

  18. Oh, I'm green with envy over your chair find! I love chairs too & really think I must be on the lookout for some to change out in my house. I need more room. :)

  19. It is gorgeous! You are so inspirational! So am I missing it, do I need to coat everything I spray paint to protect it? I am new to it and I have only spray painted 4 tables in the past month, so fill me in.

  20. wow! looks great! i'm hoping to do something similar to a craigslist item, thanks for the instructions!

  21. Do you use MinWax Wipe-On Poly? My can says not to use over paint and I'm afraid to try.

  22. I am working on a chair with notched inside corners and wondered how the heck I was going to do them. Me + sewing=disaster…I think I'm in trouble!

  23. I haven't remodeled a chair yet but thanks to you I have my eyes peeled for a treasure in disguise to try my hand on. You site and work is inspiring!

  24. Hey Kate! The chair looks beautiful, and so does your new office. You are amazing…as always. I wanted to let oyu know that OSH is having a sale on Rust-oleum American Accents spray paint this weekend. 3 cans for $9 incase you need to stock up! Have a great weekend!

  25. So pretty! I've only recently found your blog and I'm hooked! We are moving in a few weeks and I'm planning a whole house makeover! :) I have to say you have the BEST Goodwill…I never find anything in mine!

  26. Gosh – this is gorgeous – makes me want to go out and do the same thing – BEAUTIFUL!

  27. There are two chairs in my living room, one bought for $2 and the other for $5, which were very similar, though bought at different times. I treated them both the same and now they look like sitting sisters. Yours looks wonderful!

  28. Hi Kate,

    The Heritage label could be that of Henredon Furniture. Henredon is a fine furniture brand that incorporate pieces from Barbara Berry, Dorothy Draper (like your recent chest find), Ralph Lauren, and so on. You can find Henredon stores often connected with Drexel. I thought about this chair because I have a Henredon coffee table that has the same legs and gold accents and it says Henredon Haritage. So yes you have another FINE piece of furniture!

  29. I just picked a couple of chairs from our local thrift stor.I can’t wait to do some work on them.Thanks you for your inspiration.Great job with all that you ahev done thus far!

  30. Sewing is a skill I wish I had and need to learn. I’m in love with cane back chairs and glad to see you bringing one back to life.

  31. Love your chair AND the end result!!
    Well, I am fairly new at painting chairs, etc. so, I have a question for you. I found a $10 Century chair at my fav thrift store and I, too, will like to re-do it. I like the cushions-they are of that ‘French Gold’ color from yesteryear. The chair has a seat cushion similar to your chair, yet removable, only to reveal a more ‘permanent’ one. The chair also has a cushion back. Both have piping trim on the cushions. My question is: how would I remove the back cushion, if I wanted to paint this chair or change out the cushions? Any advice would be awsome!! Thanks!!

  32. I think welting in the seams would have been an easy and lovely addition. Beautiful colors!

  33. I love the transformation! I have at least 3 chairs that I have intended for many months to re-do. I too got a swell deal on some amazing fabric from Joannes, too bad it’s still in the bag…I will be getting to one of these chairs sooner than later now! Thank you for this inspiration!

  34. I love your projects. I’m an absolute beginer when it comes to furnture with fabrics. You’ve given me confidence to try it myself. Thank you for the step by step details and pictures. Much better than I’ve found on even television and magazine sites specializing in do it yourself projects.

  35. Looks like it’s a Drexel Heritage piece! Here in NC we do have a Drexel Heritage plant #33 (which is also on your label) in Morganton, NC. I’d say that was one really great find!! :)

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*