Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Creating A Custom Chair: Part 1, Design Plan

Chair for Charity Auction
Photo: P. MacLeod

The Independent Animal Rescue (IAR), a non-profit, no-kill animal rescue group here in Durham, holds it's 14th annual Painted Chair and More benefit auction on July 30 this year. If you know me, you know that the IAR is a group that is close to my heart. I have participated in this event every year, and this is the chair that I am going to transform into a functional, custom piece of art for this year's auction. I'm going to chronicle the process here. Please follow along!

I found the chair at a local Goodwill for $9.99. It's very sturdy, with dark wood and the V-shaped detail on the back piece is the same on the back side. My first thought was that I can take the upholstery off of the V-shaped areas and create a mosaic in that space. The recession should make the space easy to work on and create a smooth transition to the wood with no uneven or sharp mosaic edges.

Today I went to The Scrap Exchange, an amazing reuse center here in Durham, to look for material that I can use to replace the seat upholstery. I hadn't settled on a color scheme or design direction yet, but on the drive over to the Scrap, I felt inspired by the spring blooms of daffodils, forsythias, red bud and tulip trees, and my favorite--wisteria. So when I walked into the Scrap, I went right to the cloth section looking for spring colors. Here's what I found:

Material for Chair
Photo: P. MacLeod

I plan to use the flower print material for the seat and create a hammock underneath the seat with the mauve fine-ribbed corduroy. I think the hammock would be a nice napping spot for a kitty or a small dog. It could also be used for stashing magazines or papers. 

To create the hammock, I plan to drill hangers in the upper corners of the legs and create loops with the cord for hanging. It will be removable, so if someone doesn't want it or wants to wash it, they can take it off.

I felt good about my colors and materials, and in my mind, I'm seeing the chair painted in a lighter color. So I know plenty of sanding is in my future. As I'm checking out all of the other neat things, I run across a pair of chairs that are just too good to be true.

Old Chair
Photo: P. MacLeod

One was $7.00 and the other, which has a broken leg, was $5.00. I bought both of them. I guess I'm going to be learning a lot about upholstery. Here's the underside:

Underside of Chair
Photo: P. MacLeod

They will have to wait until I get the spring chair done!

Next: Prepping the chair. Work begins!

May all of your scores run true--

About my involvement with IAR:

We adopted one of our cats from IAR, I've taught workshops as fundraisers for them, and I also volunteer on Tuesday mornings to feed and clean the cubbies for the available cats and kittens that Pet Co generously allows IAR to present to the public. I'm constantly looking for the perfect dog to adopt from IAR.

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