Avoiding the Bad Chair

Ok, no need to search for my obituary. I'm still breathing and living with a sound mind that constantly reminds me that it has been 3-ish months since my last post. So, let's get back on track and let me share a little diddy... Each night at dinner it was a gamble: who was going to get a "bad" chair. It all started when our 10 year-old niece (who lives with us) began asking, "Jeni, did you get a good chair tonight?...cool! I did, too!" Now, I am sure something seems a bit off when the excitement at dinner is not what's being served, but rather if you won the chair lotto. I have to admit our b.c. dining set needed some t.l.c. Some of the chairs were firm and some would give you a free fall effect. Some were squeaky and some made a popping sound. I wasn't at all naïve to the fact that our chairs had enough layers of old padding and fabric that you could probably peel back the floral, plaid and tweed layers and watch the history of decor unfold right before your very eyes. Bachelor Brandon had terrific taste in buying the antique set, but he wasn't big into DIY reupholstering.

Old medallion

After we were married in 2005, I, too added another layer to the pile. And like many others, my eye for design has completely changed during the past decade. (Enter browns, reds, golds...)

Old chair

It was time. It was past time. I couldn't take it anymore! So, late one night while the house was quiet, I decided to gut one of the chairs just to see what on earth was being so "bad." Yeah, please, go ahead. Take a look and see...

First cut

Even Pixie was a little concerned.


I finally went to bed. The poor chair sat like this on the back porch, shamefully, for months. I was overwhelmed. Fabric options, whether or not we could ditch the bipolar springs and replace with a wood board...Yada-Yada. Sometimes things are like that and a break is needed before jumping into something rash, especially fabric options. And then we obligated ourselves to host a very special event in our home. And it was time. It was past time...again. Back to the grind. So, while B did this:


I did this:

Top medallion

And then we both did this:


And ended up with this.

full desk view

I'm so happy with the results and it livened up our dining room immensely!

window Shoulder

Desk seat view Crackle arm  

I think the defined edges of the new padding offers such a crisp look to the fabric, plus, with the boards, instead of springs, no more "bad" chair. (*see disclaimer below) And don't get me started on the crackly goodness on the captain's chair. Milk paint is pleasantly unpredictable. Next, we will be painting the base of our table and buffet, with an attempt to restore the surface tops au naturel. Pray for me. At the rate I'm going on our own pieces, I'm hoping to get this done by 2014. *Disclaimer: no springs were harmed during this renovation. The antique springs were carefully transported to our studio where they were sold to loving homes that planned to repurpose them into greater things other than being sat upon.

Many Blessings,


Jeni Bowen, LPC


  • Sues Noble

    Oh Jeni – I love you so much and I’m SO proud of you! Who would have thought I would be so blessed just because I gave a homesick college girl a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh, and Claire did give you marital advice.


  • Jeni Bowen

    Thank you, Cindy! Pixie is a hoot and I’m quite surprised I get anything accomplished when she’s around. :) Love her to pieces!

  • Cindy Smith

    The chairs turned out great. I love the colors. Pixie is a cutie also. :)

  • Jeni Bowen

    Hi Kathleen! Yep, dust it off and get going. :) I can motivate OTHERS all day, every day! Haha! About the springs, I think we have one, maybe two left, so let me know if you need ’em. Thanks!!

  • Kathleen

    Inspiration! I have two Parson chairs awaiting their makeovers that I’ve conveniently put “Out of sight, out of mind.” Time to dust off the staple gun! And darn…I was just wondering if those old chair springs were still about. I’ve got to get up to Tuscaloosa and RESTORING PIECE more often!

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