Friday, February 3, 2012

Thrifting gone wild. Spare no expense.

Yesterday was Errand Day, and one of the items on my To Do list was to find a place that could work some magic on the cool chair I found a few weeks ago at a thrift store in Greeley (

I'd done what I could with the chair. I'd removed the upholstery, which revealed a piece of plywood that had been crudely fashioned to act as the chair's seat. The plywood was topped by a thick piece of foam, covered by ugly 1970s upholstery. I found a piece of fabric, got out the staple gun, and tried all the tricks I knew before I realized this project was way past my skill set.

So Kirk and I brought the chair to a furniture refinishing place I found on google. I'd given up on thinking there was anything to be salvaged when it came to the plywood and foam.

Just like the chair, the place that's refinishing it is definitely a find.

The guy (let's call him Dave) who helped us loved my chair. And he was like a furniture detective. We all presented clues on how we thought the seat was originally crafted, and judging from the fact that all four sides feature slits in the wood and multiple holes underneath, we determined that the seat had originally been woven, not upholstered.

So we narrowed it down to a weave. Then it was time to pick a material.

Dave had a kind of a lightening-bolt moment when he told us about this lady who'd seen a handbag made of seat belt material. She liked the idea so much that she had her kitchen chairs reupholstered with the stuff, and they looked fantastic.

I was sold. I like the idea that the material we chose is so incongruous.

So the seat of the chair will be woven with 2" black seat belt webbing. The chair's going to be refinished to its natural teak luster. Dave and his people are going to reinforce the legs and do other acts of magic to make this chair look as good or better than it did when it was made in 1969.

Then it was time to do some math. Dave crunched some numbers. Restoring the chair will cost me $496.

I've done my taxes, and I'm getting a bit of a return. So I'm sinking some of my money into this little project. Sometimes, I justified, it's okay to spare no expense.

I asked Dave if he needed a deposit. He said no, the chair was my deposit. Because he said that, even in its current state, the chair is worth a whole lot more than what I'll be paying to restore it.

As we were leaving, I told Dave that I bought the chair for 8.99 at a thrift store. I think, based on his reaction, his mind was a bit blown.

And four to six weeks from now, I'll pick up my new old chair. I can't wait to sit on the seat belts.

This is probably the least thrifty thing I've done in a long time, spending hundreds of dollars on a thrift store find. But I think it will be worth every penny.