I don’t get many Craigslist scores where I live partly because we live in a more rural area and partly because I’m frugal and looking for a good deal. Well let me tell you, this little couch was the jackpot and was the best price–free! I found it on Craigslist from a woman who used to be an antique dealer and was downsizing (I won’t mention the 2 hours of driving and packing it up in the rain and getting home (bless Ryan’s heart, he’s the best)). I also scored the blue reproduction couch we have as well for $150 buckaroos! We went through her entire home shopping for things she no longer had room for. We walked by this couch and asked her about it and she said, “Oh, that, since it is stained I was just going to give it away”. Ryan and I looked at each other and said, “we’ll take it!” at the same time!
I have a little experience with upholstery see my tufted ottoman and antique couch rebuild but I have by no means mastered upholstery. Therefore, I do not want to spend a fortune on a piece in order to rip it apart and try to recover it; so this is the perfect project for me to learn but not be financially heavily invested in.
I am going to make this a multi-post project and I want to be as detailed as possible to give someone else the courage to tackle a project like this as well!
However, I’m already failing because I forgot to take a picture of this thing before I started ripping it apart! I just got so excited and started it ASAP (not, it’s been sitting in my basement for months)… Oh, well, let’s begin!
Good tools are key in re-upholstery! I used a tack puller I purchased off of Amazon to remover the 50 billion staples from the frame. First you take off the dust cover from the bottom (no picture but this is easy). Next, I removed the staples from the bottom back of the sofa then proceeded to pull the metal tack strip from the sides exposing the back portion of the sofa.
A helpful tip on not busting your knuckles up is sticking the tack puller under the fabric to remove the staples. This seemed to give the puller more grip hence I was less likely to slip and hit the frame.
Okay, so once I had the metal tack strip removed along the back I started my way around removing all of the staples on the back portion of the couch.
I cannot stress more to document, document, document. Take pictures of each step and LABEL all of the pieces you take off with a marker; these will be used as the pattern for cutting the new fabric.
I took this series of photos to note the folds in the back of the fabric around the arm, the number of staples they had, and the staples between each fold.
The nail-head trim, so.hard.to.remove. then there are staples under it! However, the nails are a nice finishing touch that I’m going to apply again, but wow, it really makes this process longer!
I note below that the nails were just covering the staples but the fabric was folded over just a bit as well to cover the staples.
Once I removed all of the staples and the nails I discovered that batting is what created the arms. I’m not quite sure if that’s the same way I will tackle the arms, but it’s to be determined. Pictured below is the arm without the batting and the nails to remind myself how many fabric folds are on the arms.
Next I realized that there was a cardboard tack strip under the arm roll and I removed that to finally remove the side panel piece.
I note the batting on the arm, and I went ahead and stapled it intact because it’s staying there. Also, to give this couch a more “plush feel” I’m going to add batting under the fabric on the arm panels as well as the back panel… It just “feels nicer” when you have a layer of batting between the innards and the fabric.
Here is the side removed. Compared to the settee it’s amazing how much better older (I mean really old) pieces are made…. There is cardboard in between the arms and the seat on this camelback! Although the horse hair and hay really grossed me out in the settee, there is a reason why that thing lasted so long, it was well made!
I am planning on removing the other arm the same way I did this one. I’ll post what I do with the decking as well, then onto the reupholstering!
I’m on the train to Chicago as I type so hopefully I’ll get another post up with progress late next week!