Garden magic

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Restoring an Edwardian Bergere sofa

Bergere restoration1

Our recent auction buy was this antique, possibly Edwardian Bergere sofa. It has woven rattan sides and back. The base is upholstered and there are four cushions. Actually it is very comfortable, however the base needs support. As you can see by the photo, once stripped of it’s velvet cover and padding what is remaining isn’t very good. Believe it or not, ripping off the velvet cover and padding took me three hours (with a few coffee breaks) in Maria’s workshop.

I’ve now got to do a plan for the size of cushions, measure the base and calculate the metres of fabric required. Then I’ve got the wonderful job of finding a cosy, dog friendly fabric which will be hard wearing and look good of course next to the wool plaid armchair I’m also reupholstering (see the last post).

Cosy evening after more stripping

Chair revealed

Buttons removed

When I’m stripping this chair of its layers of history, I feel that I’m intruding on its previous owners life. I found a vintage hairpin tucked away and a piece of crumpled faded newspaper with part of an old advert on it. You know how it is when you sit beside the fire with your legs curled up. You have a cup of tea in one hand and newspaper or book in the other. The creases down the sides of the chair are great to stash your book mark or to forget about a sweet wrapper, your afternoon treat. This chair probably belonged to a woman and I’m going to transform it into a chair for my husband. It will send him back to the Scottish highlands, to the heather moors and moody skies.

This is the beautiful 100% wool plaid wowen in a mill in Southern Scotland,  in Dumfries and Galloway. I will be covering the back of the chair and the arms with this gorgeous soft snuggly fabric next week.

Scottish plaid fabric

cosy cottage fire

And my reward at the end of the day was curling up on the sofa with the dogs, sipping Rose wine and watching the flickering flames form images dancing in my mind to emerge in my poetry the next day or my novel…getting close to Novel writing month again!

Stripping my upcycled armchair

chair ready for stripping

It’s the nice to be beyond electrics and heating installation in the cottage. The kitchen’s installed and ‘country’ and cosy. I often sit at the window with my coffee, reading and writing my blog posts while the villagers go about their day, walking, riding bikes, or on horseback passing by. I love being here.

Hubby and I have been having great fun buying furniture to upcycle and make useful and decorative for our cottage. We picked up the above chair for £5.00, a real bargain. It had a wobbly leg and looked quite plain but I could see hubby sitting beside the fire in it, so we bid for it and here it is.

I decided to learn how to do upholstery from a Master upholsterer called Maria who works from her workshop at home and lets total novices like me learn the basics and also has experienced students repairing and reupholstering beautiful antique chairs. It’s a real challenge for me, however I’m determined to have a lovely comfy fireside armchair, uphostered in tartan wool.

On the first day I had to remove all the staples from the chair and the old fabric.

poor chair reveiled

My hands became very sore as I pulled out the staples. However,  it was worth it. As I ripped away the old fabric, the chair revealed itself. There were manufacturer’s labels which told us that the chair was made in Derbyshire,  in 2004. So the chair was very modern and according to Maria, good quality and probably manufactured by the reputable furniture company, Wesley Barrell. A good start then!

Tough work!

Eventually after many sore hours I had completed the stripping of the back of the chair. Maria thinks that the foam could be saved but more will be revealed next time. I am beginning an addictive new skill, saving chairs and becoming a bit of a chair detective. I wonder why this chair was abandoned,   because of its wobbly leg? Its forlorn upholstery fabric. I am going to enjoy rescuing and restoring it. Until next time. 🙂