An Edwardian Child’s Over-Stuffed Arm Chair with Footstool

The beginning of a new project…

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I planned on doing the upholstery on this child’s Edwardian version of an adult’s over-stuffed chair myself.

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Then, I saw that the springs needed tying.  I traded the upholstery job for selling a couple of his clocks in my shop without receiving a commission. I always ask the upholsterer if the charge would be a bit lower if I remove all the tacks. It could take all day and might take a couple of days if there are four layers of fabric like this chair.

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The chair and footstool were stuffed with straw, horsehair and cotton. The straw had completely broken down into dust. You can see in the photograph how the horsehair,  rolled in a cover of burlap rounded the hard wooden edges.

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The story of the chair’s life is in the four layers of fabric. The first black fabric was once stunning in purple and gold silk. The second layer was mohair plush, followed by a 1950’s layer of leather and some type of industrial grade woven material. The fourth layer was gold damask.

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Like the people before me, I used a classic upholstery pattern suitable for adult furniture.

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I restored the arms and feet with New Life Furniture Masque.

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The upholsterer cut a welt from a coordinating plaid upholstery fabric. If I had paid the professional upholsterer I always use to do this job, he said he would  charge 200.00 including the professional materials. That would have been a good deal, as it was, but with the price of the chair (25.00) and the fabric (20.00), the cost would have been so high that I may not have found a buyer. By trading the work for the use of some wall space in the shop,  I will make a profit.

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Before it is all sold, I want to show you some photographs of the beautiful furniture I got at an auction last autumn. I’ve sold the bed now, the dressing table, and the bench, only the chest of drawers and side chair remains. Winnebago Manufacturing of Rockford, Illinois, made bedroom furniture only, and they certainly did it well. Every drawer slides like silk and the carving and fancy veneer work is extraordinary. Winnebago Mfg. closed its doors in 1965 after surviving the WWI, the Depression and WWII. Rockford, Illinois, was a major furniture manufacturing area. Trains brought hardwood from near-by Wisconsin and Michigan.

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On a completely different subject, come take a look at a book of illustrations that I found at an auction.  Do these illustrations, by Wanda Gag affect you the way they affect me?  I’ve loved her work since I first read Millions of Cats when I was a kid.

The first illustration must have been a commissioned Christmas card. I love this. It is Christmas and dark winter nights wrapped up in Halloween paper.

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Her drawing of houseplants actually shows the movement of growth.WandaGag1

Wasn’t she wonderful?

Until next month,

Ginene

24 thoughts on “An Edwardian Child’s Over-Stuffed Arm Chair with Footstool

  1. Just can’t say enough of how beautiful the furniture and chair/footstool are. Looking at the past fabrics on the little chair really tell a story. You just can’t help but envision some fortunate little child sitting in it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful knowing to whom it belonged.

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  2. Ginene,
    Furniture today isn’t constructed as solid or detailed as in the past. The bed detail is absolutely gorgeous. I’m a sucker when it comes to good wood furniture. I’ve never heard of Miss Gag, but what you’ve shown us, her work looks almost animated.

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  3. Your store is full of loveliness. Is that original work from Wanda Gag or prints? They are breath taking. And then that little chair…what a find! And then so wonderfully and skillfully restored, ready for the next generation to enjoy! Abslolutely mesmerizing post, ove it all!!! xo Johanna

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  4. Wanda’s illustrations, though I am not au fait with it, are cute. Your inner beauty, Ginene, appears to,carry over to your creations lending a uniqueness to the pieces restored in your works, in much the same way as exquisite pictures emerge out of the artist’s canvas responding to deft strokes of the brush; the arm chair with foot stool, and other pieces of furniture are all exquisite, bearing hallmarks of an artist and business person rolled into one delightful entity.

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  5. Great post, Ginene. An already loved chair will go on to be loved many more times because of what you did. If only it could talk about all its lives. I am intrigued by Wanda Gag. Her work seems familiar, so I looked her up. Fascinating story. Thanks for bringing her to light.

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  6. Ginene, so good to hear your status in a post. What a wonderfully creative barter (I think you got the better end of the deal, shh!). the chair turned out so wonderful, and can now breathe will all those old layers and stuffing gone.
    That furniture is exquisite! “Every drawer slides like silk” – what a perfect description. And no, I had not ever seen Wanda Gag’s illustrations but they are so animated! I love your taste in finding quality, unusual things.

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  7. Ginene, these pieces are stunning!!. Omg! Let’s start with the chair.. (i felt your pain with that one -considering my latest..) You chose the perfect fabric to really highlight it’s beauty. The woodwork is perfect.. I’ve never heard of the Wood Masque..(where did you get that..) Part of the beauty of antiques is when you strip them down and see the inner – it just makes you wonder the story they have. So glad you wound up with that piece and saw to its care and restoration. It’s absolutely a great piece. and your upholsterer did a fantastic job. Now the jaw-dropping bed!! Oh my stars.. it’s simply fit for a queen…You have some really, really gorgeous pieces. I’m sure you find it hard to part with them..(I know I would)…lol.. that’s the hardest part of owning a shop.. Letting go.. lol.. My sister and I always laugh at ourselves when we quote rule #1 (from the movie Scarface) “don’t get high on your own supply” .. beautiful pieces are too addictive. LOL.. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pieces.

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  8. Ginene, I can see one big problem I would have if I were in your position: I would want to keep everything for myself! :) The chair, the illustrations, the bedroom furniture are all treasures. I would love to see a blog post on some of the items you just couldn’t let go of!

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  9. Love the Wanda Gag illustrations! The cat clawing the chair in the one with the plants looks like my little terrorist, Graycie. And the fabric choice for the little chair and footstool is perfect!

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  10. Your eye for quality is a gift and talent only the creative mind understands. The history of that chair would be so interesting to know. It turned out beautiful! I love reading your post they are amazing and informative as always. !!!

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  11. It was wonderful to see the layers and layers of the chair, Ginene, each one telling it’s own story. And in the end I can almost hear the chair sigh in relief, ready for a new home!

    I love illustrated books, I’m still drawn to children’s books in bookstores just to get lost in those wonderful pages. And the old pen and ink illustrations are my favorite. I never heard of Wanda Gag but you got me with the plants that almost looked as if they were moving! :)

    Have a great weekend, my firned!

    Jane x

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  12. Well, I’m not surprised, Ginene, to see that once again, your creative heart sought out and found a hidden treasure, patiently awaiting some TLC. Yes, it needed work,
    ( a lot of work), but you saw the potential, had the know-how, and most of all, the compassionate ache to bring it to its former glory, with some extra shine! Exquisite! The fabric is beautifully fitting for this chair, and the entire restoration is radiant.

    I am not familiar with Wanda Gag; thank you for introducing me to her imagination, so originally recorded in her intriguing art.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Poppy

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  13. It’s so interesting to see the layers inside the chair and how it was stuffed from years ago. That is truly an old chair! you did a great job making it look new again.

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  14. Such a cute little chair…..I love the fabric you chose and the contrasting welt is perfect! I would never be able to part with such a little gem!
    ~Des

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  15. I love the gorgeous wood on all the furniture you found, such beautiful quality pieces. Great idea to do a trade for the upholstery job, I love the results.

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  16. I am not familiar with Wanda Gag but she looks like another wonderful discovery that you’ve led me to. I like the feeling I get from those illustrations. Maybe I liked her books when I was little.
    It was so interesting looking at the chair from the inside out. I love how it all came out. That chair has beautiful lines. Great fabric choice and the detail of the plaid is just so perfect… So Ginene!
    The wood furniture is unbelievable. The master craftsmanship that went into them is a lost art. Your knowledge and appreciation of these things along with your elegant style and refined taste…how fitting that you are a steward of these treasures!

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