Crafty Project 391: Grandparents Furniture Revival

Back in October me and some of my mothers family convened at my grandparents house to do a little heavy lifting, putting some wooden garden rubbish in to a skip. Making the most of the skip we had a little clear out of the garage as well and if you have grandparents like mine you’ll know things tend to pile up. At the end of the day, I ended up salvaging a boots worth of vintage items that I couldn’t face committing to the skip, one being a cute little foot stool.

The stool belonged to my granddads granddad, so it’s got a bit of age to it, which is an understatement. I may like vintage antiques but I don’t know to much about them. This little stool was so simple, but needed some serious TLC so I thought it would be easy enough to revive.

I started out by removing the faux leather material top, pulling the tacks out to reveal a pretty nasty horse hair & cotton stuffing mix. I disposed of the toppings as I knew I wouldn’t be able to use them for anything else and left me with an intricate weave of strappings underneath. By the looking of things some of them had already been replaced with plenty of tacks littering the woodwork. This was when I took a break, leaving the stool in the hall to really think through how I wanted to go about the transformation.

Starting up again this week (upon instruction to get it out of the hallway) I need just a couple of things for the project. Some hessian strapping, carpet tacks, stuffing and fabric later & I was ready to begin again. The longest task ended up being removing the strapping tacks with a few rusty stubborn nails that required some elbow grease or another pair of strong hands. After a quick dust & hoover out all the dirt I was ready for the new strapping. Cutting them to length and then nailing them in place with my trusty short hammer (at 11:30pm, not my finest neighbourly moment).

I decided on a soft cotton wool like stuffing, rather than foam to keep it soft and slightly imperfect to finish. Then the big decision! What fabric to upholster it with: a vintage brown leather like it was originally covered in, a colourful pattern to modernise it or keep it simple in a hardy block colour. In the end I used a close knit hessian that was going to just be a base layer but ended up as the final finish. I like how it celebrates the simplicity I loved in the first place and leaves it still looking utilitarian, able to go anywhere.

I am not the best at upholstery but tried to keep it as symmetrical and neat as possible, making the fewest amount of new holes possible.

The cat attempted to assist, not being a great help but has now since claimed it for herself. The grandparents will be around for Christmas, so will get to see the new look, hope they like my attempt at preserving it. Little pieces like this blend so easily in to all sort of decor and hopefully will now last another couple of generations.