Upholstery taking shape!

Mom has been cranking on the upholstery as she has some other sewing to do for some clients so she wants my chairs in her past.  haha  Today, she actually has everything complete on her end and ready to give back to me to start the assembly and buttons.  I have not seen the final covers, but will get them in the morning.  Meanwhile, I had an extra day off work today as my company closed while we gear up for new work coming in so I had the day to get some errands done.  Click on the photo below to scroll through the gallery.

Some pics of my mom fitting the newly cut foam, batting and her muslin to the board and chair.  Everything fit great!  Next she was working on the piping and assembly of the top. 

Piping pinned to the seat top.  The bottom piping will be stapled onto the board under the seat.

Piping pinned to the seat top.  The bottom piping will be stapled onto the board under the seat.

My mother is a highly skilled sewer, quilter and pattern maker.  Although this is probably an entry level project, I do feel that the piping and button details on this chair do make this project more advanced than a simple chair covering like most I have done to date.  I am glad my mother was willing to help out.  I cannot say what this would have cost if I had to pay an upholsterer to do it.  Not cheap.  Rest assured, I plan on compensating her for her time when the chairs sell.

My mother is a highly skilled sewer, quilter and pattern maker.  Although this is probably an entry level project, I do feel that the piping and button details on this chair do make this project more advanced than a simple chair covering like most I have done to date.  I am glad my mother was willing to help out.  I cannot say what this would have cost if I had to pay an upholsterer to do it.  Not cheap.  Rest assured, I plan on compensating her for her time when the chairs sell.

What the piping will look like all sewn in place!!

What the piping will look like all sewn in place!!

Meanwhile, I went on a mission for buttons.  Stopped to visit my upholsterer, who was out when I got there.  The other employee there spoke no English.  I used my very rusty Spanish and within minutes we were talking the universal language of upholstery.  She had a sample button made.  By the time Albert (Alberto) came back to the shop, he merely needed to provide me with cost, take my money and tell me when I can come back and get them!  In 3 hours, I was back.  He even gave me an extra button....so I got 27 for $53.  He used my fabric, provided the buttons and the labor to create them.  Figure I'd let you in on that price.  Buttons add not only more materials to an upholstery job, they also add LOTS of time.  I am going to be spending a lot of time installing these buttons, but I feel like I need to stay true to the design of the chair and any modifications would surely take away from that.  Even the piping, was important to me. 

A few shots from the upholstery shop.  Not a large or fancy place.  Albert does nice work and is quick to accommodate.  He speaks great English.  I am happy to support his business and he has been truly an asset to my projects. 

I just spoke to mom and the seats are ready to assemble.  So I will bring them home tomorrow and start tacking and stapling everything together.  I was also able to pick up a very large needle today for the button work.  I am looking forward to them coming together!  My weeknight schedule right now is crazy with my kids swim team stuff and I do have a day job, so will see when I can get through the remaining items.  I will have some more pics soon!  The chairs are still available for reserve, please message or email me if you are interested in holding them! 

Malissa

Foam cutting.

My father helped out with cutting the seat foam.  Upholstery project underway!

My father helped out with cutting the seat foam.  Upholstery project underway!

I was surprised when I arrived to pick my kids up at my parents that my father got involved in my project.  He got the foam cut out for the seat cushions.  I did good on sizing the piece and had barely any left.  The foam was not cheap and I did buy the heavier duty version.  I did promise Mom I would sand off the hard bits of original foam on the boards so this weekend I will get the random orbital out and clean them off. 

Life is funny sometimes.  I don't normally check out the book sections in the thrifts because quite frankly, I get overwhelmed by the unorganized display of old novels and kids books.  It just so happens, I found myself digging through book bins at the Goodwill Outlet some time ago and was able to excavate most of a set of various sewing and project books from the 70's.  Then I found a 1970's upholstery course book.  I bought them.  So here I sit, ready to peruse the book and preview of what I am up against.  Piping 101 followed by buttons and tufting.  Hopefully we can get some progress done in the coming week!  Meanwhile, I have been adding lots of smalls to the shop, so please check it out. The Brody chairs I had are on the bus making their way to Texas and I prepared a shipping quote on the Paul McCobb chairs.  They are not currently on hold, though so if there is any chance you'd like them, speak up!  I am available throughout the weekend including Friday and Monday for any deliveries or meet ups in eastern/central PA, NJ.  Please send me an email if you'd like to arrange something!  Enjoy your 4th of July holiday!

Dunbar Discovery Day!

The kids enjoying the fine chairs on the 6th floor of the Van Pelt Library at UPENN.  Beautiful space!

The kids enjoying the fine chairs on the 6th floor of the Van Pelt Library at UPENN.  Beautiful space!

Here with William Penn on UPENN campus. 

Here with William Penn on UPENN campus. 

Finally, I was able to peruse both of the books I originally ordered from storage a week ago.  After the snag of UPENN having lost the book that I was positive I would be able to find my chairs, I found the only other copy within a reasonable drive, was also in Philadelphia at the Phila Art Museum Library.  Learning my lesson on the lost book, I called ahead.  Was told that yes, indeed the book was in their possession, but a staff member had it checked out.  The awesome gentleman at the desk promised to notify me when it would be available and I told him I would be in the city Friday.  Thursday I got the email it was on the shelf waiting for me, so away we went! 

Genevieve and Trent skipped swim team practice so we could get a jump start on the drive and we had some backups to deal with on the Schuylkill Expressway, but we arrived by 10am, found street parking and walked 4 or so city blocks to the Van Pelt Library.  We checked in as guests at the front desk, headed to Circulation and was given the first book, The Dunbar Book of Contemporary Furniture (Hockaday).  Much of this looked familiar, to the newer and most reasonably priced book I already own.  I do believe they reprinted the text in the new book.  I do enjoy this book because of the specs in the back.  It even tells you yardage for upholstery, which I find very useful if you need to work on a piece.  Alas, as I already knew, this book (published in 1956) was not going to contain my twins.  It’s ok, because I only requested it because I was going there for the other and thought I’d still follow through even after I found out the Dunbar Book of Modern Furniture was no more. 

The Van Pelt Library is a gorgeous space.  Trent (9), decided he wants to go to college at UPENN after the campus visit.  I assured him he should start a gofundme now to start saving as there is no way that is in our budget!   J  On recommendation of the front desk clerk, we rode the elevator to the 6th floor for a fabulous view of campus.  There were some exhibits up there, mostly of medical equipment, a Shakespeare Library room, and what appeared to be banquet space for weddings and such.  After, we headed back to the car. 

The residential area surrounding the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is super adorable and offers free parking up to 4 hours!

The residential area surrounding the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is super adorable and offers free parking up to 4 hours!

A short drive later, we were scanning the residential streets behind the Phila Art Museum for parking.  The library clerk had told me there are usually parking on the side streets and I was hoping to avoid a parking garage.  The first street I picked had a few open spots and I quick asked a resident if it was ok I park there.  She said, yep, you can park for up to 4 hours without a permit.  SCORE!  We then walked into the museum, checked in, was issued a visitor pass and up we went to the 2nd Floor Library. 

I did not hear angels singing when I felt the book in my hands, but I’m sure I had a huge smile plastered across my face!  I waited until we found seating in a lounge space before I opened it up.  It is hard cover and the binding had some issues, but my first impression was….wow, there isn’t a lot of pages in this thing!  I spent the next half hour or so reviewing the pages, snapping photos and enjoying the catalog.  

Here it is!  This hard to find book is selling for $700 currently on First Dibs!  Glad there was a copy regionally available for viewing!  It was worth the trip!

Here it is!  This hard to find book is selling for $700 currently on First Dibs!  Glad there was a copy regionally available for viewing!  It was worth the trip!

Some things I found out.  My chairs are No. 4580, with the arm chairs being No. 4581. They are described as:  Side Chairs, cane backs, buttoned foam rubber seats.  The write up on the page says:  ‘In modern furniture, various materials are often strikingly combined in a single piece. The chairs on this page, for example, use woven cane panels in the backs. ‘  The page prior says ‘The furniture on these pages is from the Dunbar Continental Series, named in honor of Berne, Indiana, which recently celebrated it’s hundredth birthday….’  Nothing on the next pages about the line name, so don’t want to assume it carried over to the following pages.  Also, this book was published in 1952.  Which dates my chairs around the late 40's-early 50's.

Here they are!  Check out the awesome table they were shown with!  It's totally angular and not at all what I was expecting these more traditional looking chairs to be shown with!  Also glad this pic shows the cane being lighter as I did not want to stain the new cane.  I think it looks great 2 toned!

Here they are!  Check out the awesome table they were shown with!  It's totally angular and not at all what I was expecting these more traditional looking chairs to be shown with!  Also glad this pic shows the cane being lighter as I did not want to stain the new cane.  I think it looks great 2 toned!

Other interesting facts.  Dunbar used mainly mahogany and walnut as it’s ‘standard exposed woods’.  Other woods and laminates or veneers were used in case work, tables and desks as well.  All furnishings were hand made with the utmost care and the factory operated as more of a custom style workshop.  Some components were machined, but drawers and door fronts were fitted by hand for a precision fit.  The finishing procedures were mostly hand work as opposed to spraying and machines.  Their skilled finishers were able to produce this after many steps and coats.  Some pieces were in finishing for up to 2 weeks to attain the final finish. 

According to the dedication, this book was donated by the Dunbar Company!  Very happy they did this or this book would be out of reach for the average mid century lover! 

According to the dedication, this book was donated by the Dunbar Company!  Very happy they did this or this book would be out of reach for the average mid century lover! 

I must say, I am even more in love with these chairs after reading all of this.  Working for a high end custom millwork shop, I can also relate to the hand finishing as some of our work is done to the old standards depending on what is required for the job.  I am so happy to be able to make these chairs comfortable and pretty again!  They truly are a wonderful piece of mid century design history and Edward Wormley’s adaptation of a classic design really makes for a stunning piece to feature in your home.  I hope to get started on the upholstery shortly, so please check back for updates!  If you would like one or both chairs to be held for you, please email me at malissa@madmodworldvintage.com.  The listing is in the shop, so please click on the shop link to review. 

One final note!  There is an INCREDIBLE Scandinavian Design exhibit at the Perleman Annex of the Phila Art Museum right now.  I am not sure how long it is there, but as I asked about paying admission to see, the desk clerk informed me that since I had a visitor's pass, I was able to explore the museum!  I do sort of feel guilty, so I promise to make a donation to the museum in the future!  Lots of Hans Wegner chairs and Arne Vodder.  Definitely worth checking out if you are in the area!  So neat to see the Papa Bear and Wish Bone chairs in person!  This chair whore wanted to touch them, but alas, not proper museum etiquette!   Click on the photo below to scroll through some shots of the exhibits.  Lots of Hans Wegner pieces, Arne Vodder and more.  The kids found a Minecraft station, appropriately designed by in Sweden.  The first photo, is local, Philly artists (husband/wife) who create cool and colorful visuals with rattan papa san chairs!