Alt headline: Ode to An Office Chair
Alt alt headline: How West Elm Stole My Heart and Crushed My Dreams in One Google Search
It’s sort of a hazard of the job that you regularly fall in love with beautiful pieces of furniture.
This particular mid-century modern Saddle office chair from West Elm (on the left) has been popping up in designer homes everywhere for the past year (I spied it most recently in an adorable office from Shift Interiors that we featured on Western Living), so I’m not the only one who’s been harbouring a crush.
I suppose I enjoy it so much because it’s in the Eames-ian mid-century modern molded form with splayed out A-line legs (in mid-tone wood no less), but the stripes give it a contemporary twist—which are so palette-perfect in white on smokey grey.
I don’t remember falling for a piece of furniture like this before (especially one that I’ve never sat on) and it’s only now that I’ve decided I’m going to buy it (price be damned, available space in apartment be damned!) that I’ve discovered it’s not for sale. The cold words “No Longer Available” sit on its page just now and mock all of us who are so very late to the party.
Whereas everything else in my East Van abode was given to me or purchased with an immediate need on a minimal budget, this was going to be my first foray into curating a space filled with objects I love that represent me personally. I’m not totally defeated yet, there’s always ebay and maybe some special designer craigslist I’ve yet to discover on the Interwebs, but the moral of the story is: if you love it, don’t hesitate, or you’ll be left writing about its tragic loss on your blog.
To modify a chair’s aesthetics, typically one’s options are limited to upholstering (a bit tedious) or accessorizing with cushions (the go-to), but it is useful to know there is a third, fantastically simple alternative demonstrated for us here by Catherine Keller.
Wrapping the back mid-rails with fabric is an ingenious way to personalize the common chair and make it fit the style of your apartment.
Fabric is inexpensive and the dexterity required is on par with third-grade braiding techniques. The wrapped backs don’t even have to match (see mismatched fabric quilting squares), where the eclectic mix of familial patterns gives the chairs a more rustic, handmade vibe.
- quilting squares, $4 each
- needle and thread
How-to: fabric chair wrap
Note: This project will take some trial and error. Test your wrapping technique before trimming your fabric.
- Find quilting squares at any fabric shop. Most stores will cut up the ends of fabric rolls into 10×10-inch squares and sell them as quilting squares. (Keller prefers this over buying a huge swatch off the roll, because it means you can have different patterns on each chair).
- Cut squares into strips about two-inches wide. Sew the ends of the strips together until you have a longer strip measuring about five inches. (Optional: Iron down the edges of fabric strips so that frayed edges don’t show when wrapped.)
- Starting at one side of the chair back, hold the end and wrap the strip of fabric around on itself. This allows you to anchor the strip at one side without having to tie a knot. Make sure you wrap the end tightly so that it doesn’t come loose.
- Continue wrapping and adjusting as needed until the entire back is covered all the way across. Then similar to how you first started, wrap the strip of fabric around and then tuck it back under itself. Make sure it’s pulled taut and that the entire wrapping holds.
- Using a pair of scissors, you can trim the excess fabric and tuck the end back underneath. This may take a few tries to get it exactly right before you cut the extra fabric.