Dolley Levan of tells us how they gave this vintage gem a much-needed modern update.
The find: When we came across this settee in North Carolina, we were so excited to purchase it and recover it something fabulous. We didn't have a particular fabric in mind yet because I knew we would be limited by the colors in the settee's ornate frame. It would have been easy to just re-finish the frame but we thought we would try to leave it alone and work with it to limit the expense.
The challenge: It was hard enough that the frame was really feminine, traditional, and ornate, but the colors limited us in our fabric selection. My goal was to find a material that would create a unique juxtaposition. I wanted something edgy to counterbalance the frame's traditional and feminine looks.
The fix: Luckily, we came across this salmon and charcoal velvet cut-out fabric that was the perfect match to the salmon color in the frame's floral design. I love the modern cross-stitch damask design because it made the piece feel more relevant and gave it a cool edge to it. Usually the upholsterer will need to add welting or nail heads to furniture items with a wood frame, so we decided to go with black metal nail head that had a unique gold tip on top. This gave the settee some pop and a glam touch.
It's really exciting to find a unique piece of furniture that has potential like this settee and see what a dramatic transformation fabric can make. I call it a "chair lift."
If you come across a frame you love but you're not too crazy about the fabric, consider reupholstering it to give it a new life.