Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mastercraft of Omaha, 1962 Armchair

Club or lounge chairs like this from a long gone American factory are plentiful now on Craigslist and various free market websites. They usually don't go for very much money because they need restoration, and most of the time they look like they haven't a prayer of renewal. But if one takes a good look at the reproductions today, comparing spring systems, leg attachment, padding materials - cotton vs. cheaply made petrol foam - you will be hard pressed to find a better piece of furniture to purchase spending $1500 to $2000.00 - and this often without fabric cost considered, that would be extra!

This fantastic Mastercraft of Omaha (frame stamped October, 1962) was losing it's original frise fabric - that scratchy olefin/poly sculpted fabric much like Sculpta-rug carpets that appeared in ranch homes across America, even up thru the 70's. It had been a family piece that the owner was sentimental about and at first I thought the thin cotton/poly woven was going to be a difficult choice. I usually prefer to see this era frame in something with a little more textured bulk - a fabric so weighted it wraps the hard angles of midcentury frames nicely, softens them, especially with a thick naturally slubbed fiber, dense velvet, mohair or chenille. But after months of looking at fabric, this paisley jacquard woven was really the only fabric my client liked, so we used it. To my surprise, it's made this chair more elegant and once placed in the home (a newer modest split level construct in Vadnais Heights MN), it did not scream "retro". She's able to enjoy her memories of this chair she's known since childhood (especially after seeing the lost toys found inside) while having a custom addition to a very grown up and contemporary living room, sans allergens from old dust-mitey fabric - which is my biggest complaint against bringing in vintage furniture - they bear the dust of the ages inside that no amount of vacuuming can get to!

This chair has a built in cone spring system in seat and inside back, that if the edgewire isn't bent or distorted and the heavy gauge steel isn't rusted and broken (from having been misused as a stepping stool, trampoline or left out in all kinds of weather as porch furniture - this one hadn't)- it's nearly indestructable.

The burlap spring cover deteriorates though, and we'll replace that so that the reapplication of padding for the deck under the cushion will be firm and not fall through.

Lost toys found inside...

It's satisfying to upholster these large angled plates, although the deck and apron require some special patterning of the original piece.

Inside arms with that big flat planed surface on top get a new layer of thin foam and cotton.


Bauhaus USA and Lee Sofa

This was a Bauhaus USA sofa purchased in the early 90's from local department store at the time - Dayton's, today is Macy's. The chenille was badly raveled and tore easily at welt cording and any where near edges hadn't held up well at all, which is the case in a lot of chenille's that aren't backed with an acylic coat or woven tightly enough to withstand lots of wear. The owner found a beautiful paisley-esque floral jacquard, a double weave that would withstand everyday sitting and cats sleeping - chenille is a fur magnet! Not a lot of pictures in-progress, but a few to show how nice a fabric like this can look on a sofa...

This next one was a newer Lee Industries sofa that was purchased new with an offending floral chenille fabric - Offensive to the owners, that is. They had local designer Susan Brown do the master bedroom where this sofa would end up wearing a new Pollack fabric.

...proving sofa's don't have to be antiques or completely dilapidated to get reupholstered - even newer ones can be in need of a makeover.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

1993 Overstuffed Sofa, Chair and Ottoman

Westwood Industries of Tupelo Mississippi manufactured this set, dated 9-15-93. Almost 16 years to the month later, the owners are renewing it as a gift to the next generation - newly wedded and with their first home. The hardwood frame solid as a rock and higher density foam still resilient. Sinuous spring squeaking issue resolved (see following post), fresh dacron layer to plump corners and a thickly woven, acrylic backed chenille damask cover - this comfortable set is ready for another 15...

Definitely time to reupholster.

The rouching detail at front of arms and on the upper side at top of back was made by sewing a strip of elastic to the facing, while the welt cording holds the bias of the larger plate at a certain length and stability. This way, the facing or boxing or flap or whateveryoucallit eases in, like a dress sleeve, gathering up nicely to be secured down in smaller tucks rather than large deep pleats. Even though the new fabric has more bulk than the original cotton print for this, it still looks nice for this design.

Pleats to fit the overstuffed-ness are carefully matched at inside-back as I pattern off the sofa instead of the old pieces - they are too tattered to try to template from, or even get an accurate measure. I'll have to get pictures of the happy ending of this project at a later date from the new owners. We were in such a rush to deliver on moving day that I didn't get pictures in the new setting!

From Start To Finish

Here's a post from a while back that had lost it's image links.  Someone was asking about Cogswell chairs just yesterday, so...