August 13, 2014

Last summer. Like, early summer 2013. May, even. I found this abandoned armchair at an upholstery shop for $20.

Acquiring an Arm Chair from Rachel SchutlzLet’s be clear. I’d never upholstered anything in my life. But I thought a significantly complicated, full piece would be a great place to start. (Seriously, why?) Perhaps not surprisingly, I was intimidated and didn’t make much progress. It lived half taken apart in our living room for a while. Then, I put it in storage at our parents’ for most of the past year. But not it’s time for an update. And I am very motivated to get this thing finished. No more hesitating. I’m going for it.

In June (2013, one month after I bought it), I disassembled everything, taking detailed notes along the way. What I lack in general upholstery knowledge I will make up for in note-taking diligence, I thought. And I took many, many photos. Here I am apparently pointing out something I wanted me to be sure to remember that I don’t remember.



Then the chair was neglected for about 6 months. In January of this year (2014), I took the reigns back up. The seat had me scratching my head because it was made with springs and thick woven, seatbelt-ish material. With all the time and money for supplies I was spending on this thing, I had deep resolve to remove anything that could be absorbing odors. I knew I had to get rid of all of it. Replacing them would be hard and things would start to get more expensive. Instead, David’s mom suggested we just use a piece of wood upholstered rather than trying to recreate springs. Brilliant!

And once we saw what was inside, I was RELIEVED we had not tried to preserve it. This was disgusting.


Absolutely not. Kill it with fire. Or the shop-vac.

In a day we got the chair totally stripped with nay a protruding staple or scrap of stuffing remaining. At some point throughout the day I think all five of David’s family members, plus the two of us worked on it for a while.


I gave it a good wipe down with Murphy oil soap, just to confirm total cleanliness and for the fresh smell. (The above image needed to be out of my psyche forever.)


Okay, seven more months passed and now it’s August. Ha. I spread out my new material, which had to be a solid color because as an amateur I don’t need any additional obstacles like having to make sure patterns line up. Then, I used the old pieces to outline and cut all the new ones.

photo 2

Progress is happening. I’m feeling empowered. This chair is going down. Here’s a sneak peek of the “before” of the wood that we refinished and the frame with some pretty, fresh, white stuffing going on. Final reveal soon! To see everything about this place we call home, take a tour of our apartment.

photo 1 photo 3

My New Cookbook



  • Hannah

    I giggled through this whole post! Can’t wait to see the end result!

  • You’re a brave soul! I’m excited to see how it turns out! (and that one picture gives me the shivers…what is lurking in those upholstered thrift store finds?)

    • Rachel Schultz

      I know! If I’m going to mess with secondhand stuff I have to be really diligent on sanitizing/replacing.

  • Cecilia

    Nice. I like your plans for the chair. I’ve done upholster in the past. I see now how important it is to redo do the cushioning. That’s what I had chose not to replace. At the time I more interested doing to pattern right. That turned out very nice. You go girl!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Cecilia! We’re making progress.

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