Sunday, March 11, 2012

Zebra. Is. Good?

It is time for me to tell you one of my favorite stories.  This story began with an idea.....

"I really want a zebra chair" my dear friend Halli said to me one day.  "I think that would really complete my living room".

I was skeptical (zebra??  really?? hmmm....), but as I am not a girl who backs down from a challenge I said "ok, what kind of chair are we looking for".

"I don't know, but I'll know it when I see it" she answered.  

And so began our epic journey of zebra chair hunting.  We hunted everywhere, salvation armies to antique stores.  We even looked at new chairs at furniture stores, we considered chairs from every era in the history of chairmaking until finally...

One fine day at the Thrift and Dollar in Aurora IL we discovered this lost, abandoned, and hideously ugly speckled wood and gold crushed velvet hunk of a chair.

A few things about this chair stood out through the disgusting hideousness that encompasses many 1970s era items.  First, it was perfectly sturdy, no structural problems at all.  I was impressed with the general shape, it had presence but was not overbearing.  I also really liked the X details in the arms.  Finally, I was pretty sure that the chair was walnut and thus would have good staining potential.

Now, the Thrift and Dollar is not always true to its name and sometimes I find it to be slightly overpriced (lets be serious this was an ugly chair).  So my friend Halli had to do a little talking (luckily she is a frequent buyer and has made some friends) and we managed to walk away with the chair for $25.

A few weeks before the fateful trip to thrift and dollar I had discovered a remnant of perfect zebra fabric at The Needle Shop in Chicago

The fabric is by Alexander Henry and can be purchased here if you are interested.  

Before the "fun with zebra fabric" could begin, I had to strip the chair down to nothing.  The horrible speckled finish on the solid walnut frame was absolutely depressing.  In order acheive the final look I mixed two minwax stains (Walnut and Ebony) before rubbing on a few coats.  The walnut wood of the chair took the stain very well and the color is perfect with the fabric.

We decided to scratch the deeply button tufted seat back in favor of a more modern softly tufted design.

The end product is proof that two wrongs:
1. decorating with zebra.
2. crushed velvet anything
Truly can make a right!!

This chair is everything a zebra chair should be! timeless, classic, and gorgeous.

See more of my work at Mansion House Road on Etsy. 

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