Reupholster & Repair Furniture

Mac's Upholstery has been Seattle's top reupholstery shop for generations. In addition to standard upholstery projects, we also repair and restore furniture. Our skilled craftsmen repair a broken chair, repair a table or fix a damaged sofa. Give us a call if you need furniture restoration. Compare our prices and shop for fabrics.

Upholster Chairs, Sofas & Outdoor Furniture

chaise lounge

Whether you order a new chair online or pick one up at a big box store it's only a matter of time before you realize they don't make 'em like they used to. Most furniture today is manufactured from cheap fabric, flimsy foam and pressboard.

chaise lounge

These inexpensive chairs and sofas may look okay when they're brand new, but they're designed to be used for a few years then tossed. In truth, they're not worth reupholstering. You can buy another cheapo one for less than it costs to fix.

Restore Antique Furniture

A sofa that's been in the family for while or an old chair from an antique store is a different story. Back in the day, skilled artisans handmade sofas, chairs, settees and tables from solid, seasoned wood. Older furniture with sturdy frames and exposed woodwork are hard to find and expensive to replace. These pieces are worth reupholstering.

  • furniture restoration
    Repair Chair Frame
  • furniture restoration
    Reinforced Support Webbing
  • furniture restoration
    Repair Seat Springs
  • furniture restoration
    Refinish Chair Arm
  • furniture restoration
    Refinish Chair Leg
  • furniture restoration
    Restore Leather Chair

furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration

A professionally restored antique chair or sofa is usually more valuable than a brand new one. It's often stronger and has more character. What's more, repairing a vintage chair is a lot more environmentally friendly than buying a new one.

  • latex foam
    Latex Foam
  • horsehair padding
    Horsehair Padding
  • poly foam
    Polyurethane Foam
  • dacron
    Dacron® Wrapping

latex foam
horsehair padding
poly foam
dacron

Refinish & Repair Furniture

Before restoring or repairing your furniture you'll have to decide how authentic you want it to be. In many cases we can restore something using the original materials, but there are plenty of practical alternatives.

Old furniture is often padded with latex foam, cotton batting, wood shavings or horse hair. As you can see from these pictures, many of these padding options are obsolete. We recommend against latex foam, for example, because it's a lot more expensive and it crumbles to dust after a few years.

coil springs
Repair Support Coils

coil springs

Modern alternatives, such as soft polyurethane foam and fluffy dacron batting, are a better way to go. They feel better and last longer.

If zig zag springs or coils were originally used to support the seat deck, we will repair, replace and/or retie them. We will also repair and refinish wooden arms, legs, etc. You'll be impressed with the quality of our workmanship.

Select From Thousands of Upholstery Fabrics


The Latest Stain Resistant Crypton® Fabrics Now Available

You'll find thousands of upholstery fabric samples in our showrooms. Select from a range of colors and styles to match your decor. You can also pick something totally different so your reupholstered chair or sofa stands out.

Compare the latest fabrics from all the major manufacturers including: Kravet, Robert Allen, Charlotte Fabrics, Maxwell, Barrow, Sunbrella, Fabricut, and JF Fabrics.

Commercial & Office Upholstery

Our commercial upholstery team specializes in office furniture, hotel upholstery, bar seating and restaurant furnishing. Our clients include Microsoft, the MoPop Museum, the Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle Aquarium and Washington Athletic Club.


Antique Bench Seat

Here's a lovely antique bench seat in need of repair. We'd call it a settee, but it's not quite large enough.

This piece is perfect for a vestibule, den or an odd space too small for anything else. Judging by the threadbare upholstery and battered woodwork, it's roughly a century old. The bench seat has tons of character, but when it came to us it looked destined for a dumpster.

When something is this far gone, new upholstery is never enough. You have to strip it down to the bones and build it back using the parts you can salvage.

  • original settee
    Antique Bench Seat
  • original settee
    Damaged Tack Rail
  • original settee
    Burlap Webbing
  • original settee
    Repaired Spring Box
  • original settee
    Fabric & Foam Layers
  • original settee
    Repaired & Reupholstered

original settee
original settee

Except for the tack rail, the woodwork wasn't too badly damaged. We repaired the rail and legs, then touched up the woodwork with a matching stain.

The owners could've saved money by replacing the spring box with foam, but they wanted the deck rebuilt the proper way. Good old fashioned jute webbing is still the best foundation material for a standard spring box. The antique springs were in good shape, so we rebuilt the cushion with jute and the original coils. We anchored the coils using a traditional eight way tie.

We covered the springs with sheets of burlap and jute padding. Then we topped the jute with one inch of polyurethane foam and cotton batting. The lush velvet upholstery fabric takes the bench back to its original look.

Reupholster Outdoor Furniture

Back in the day, outdoor furniture cushions were upholstered in stiff, water-resistant vinyl. The old fashioned vinyl was durable, but slick and uncomfortable. What's more, it didn't age well, as you can probably see from the first two pics.

Today, there are much better alternatives for reupholstering deck furniture.

  • rattan sette
    Old Patio Sette
  • rattan sette
    Old Patio Chair

rattan sette rattan sette

You don't want to use natural fibers, such as cotton, wool or linen for outdoor furniture. Even a blended fabric containing a small amount of natural fiber can rot in an outdoor environment.

Synthetic fabric such as Sunbrella® is better for marine and outdoor applications. Sunbrella's line of upholstery fabric is a popular choice for patio furniture because it doesn't fade, repels water and resists mold and mildew. On the other hand, the solution-dyed acrylic fiber Sunbrella uses in its fabrics can be a little rough. Polyester is often a better alternative for deck furniture.

rattan setteReupholstered Patio Furniture & American Water Spaniel

In addition to being okay for outdoor use, polyester tends to be softer than acrylic. Choice is another plus. Polyester offers far more styles and color combinations.

The fabrics we used for this patio chair and settee are contemporary polyester prints. The owner also ordered matching pillows. Both the pillows and the cushions are welted. Welting is a nice way to dress up a cushion, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you like the look. Welting creates crevasses where dirt and debris collect. That can be a problem with outdoor furniture. Also, a welt usually wears down faster than the surrounding fabric; everytime somebody sits or stands their body rubs against the welt. It's something to keep in mind if your cushions are used a lot.

Patio Furniture Covers

Pacific Northwest homeowners often leave their patio furniture outside year round. But, even in a mild climate such as ours, the elements take their toll on fabric and foam. Deck cushions are exposed to everything from intense summer heat to an occasional blizzard. Because of this, we recommend upholstering your patio furniture in UV & mildew resistant materials, such as Sunbrella®. If that's not possible, it's a good idea to cover your outdoor cushions when they're not in use.

  • patio covers
    Patio Chaise
  • patio covers
    Cover for Patio Chaise
  • patio covers
    Full Length Zipper

patio covers
patio covers
patio covers

Custom made furniture covers are an excellent way to protect your investment. We recently fabricated a set of custom covers for a home owner's patio furniture, including this outdoor chaise.

Subrella's solution dyed acrylic is an excellent choice for furniture covers. In addition to being UV and mildew resistant, it's water-repellent. Another popular outdoor fabric is an acrylic coated polyester manufactured by Top Gun®. It doesn't breath as well as Sunbrella, but Top Gun is waterproof, not just water repellent.

We fabricated these covers using Top Gun's Sea Gull Gray acrylic coated polyester. The easy on, easy off zipper in back is a nice touch.

Mid Century Contour Chaise

Today's chaise lounge traces its roots all the way back to 16th Century France. The reclining contour chaise is a clever, mid-century modern twist on the concept.

Most of these old timers are equipped with a manual, spring or electrical mechanism which allows a user to rock or adjust the reclining position. This feature is similiar to a modern gravity chair; both are designed to create the sensation of zero gravity by evenly distributing your body's weight.

  • reupholster chaise longe
    Contour Chaise Before Reupholstery
  • reupholster chaise longe
    Contour Chaise After Reupholstery (Dog Not Included)

reupholster chaise longe
reupholster chaise longe

This reclining chaise was on its last legs when it came to us. Fortunately, the sturdy wooden frame and zig-zag springs were in good shape, so we stripped it down to the bones and went to work.

  • reupholster chaise longe
    Contour Chair Before Reupholstery
  • reupholster chaise longe
    1970s Era Vinyl
  • reupholster chaise longe
    Contour Chair During Reupholstery

reupholster chaise longe
reupholster chaise longe
reupholster chaise longe

We replaced the cotton cushions with modern polyurethane foam and a layer of Dacron® padding to soften the edges and give it a little extra body.

The chaise was originally covered in a stiff 1970s era vinyl. The pattern and color might have been popular fifty years ago, but times have changed. The owner had no desire to replicate the look of the vintage vinyl. Instead of replacing it with a state-of-the-art vinyl or artificial leather, the owner decided to go all in with genuine burgundy leather.

Leather is usually sold by the hide. Since hides are expensive, it's important to order the correct amount. You don't want to come up short, at the same time you don't want expensive leather left over. This is a large chair with lots of detail, so the project required two full hides.

The customer was pleased with the reupholstered contour chaise. His dog (top right) gave it two paws up.

Custom Office Booth

High-end apartments and Class A office towers often feature handsome built-in furnishings like this booth we recently completed for a local leasing office. Upholstering commercial furniture like this is different than reupholstering a wingback chair or living room sofa. Home furniture is built to be simple, inviting and comfortable. Office furniture is often the opposite; style can be more important than comfort.

  • office booth upholstery
    Booth Frame Before Upholstery
  • office booth upholstery
    Upholstered Office Booth

office booth upholstery
office booth upholstery

Comfort is largely determined by the density of the cushion foam. We use the cushiest foam -- HR33 & HR45 -- for home furniture. Office furniture usually requires a stiffer foam, something called HR55. A Dacron wrap (below left) softens the look and feel, but the seat is still stiff compared to something you'd find in a living room.

  • office booth upholstery
    Foam Padding & Dacron
  • office booth upholstery
    Custom Vinyl Cover
  • office booth upholstery
    Perfect Fit Cushions
  • office booth upholstery
    Shaping The Fabric
  • office booth upholstery
    Building Seat Backs
  • office booth upholstery
    Upholstered Office Booth

office booth upholstery
office booth upholstery
office booth upholstery
office booth upholstery
office booth upholstery
office booth upholstery

After cutting and wrapping the stiffer foam, we fabricate the covers using a durable, tawny colored vinyl. Choosing the correct vinyl is important. Some expensive vinyls, such as Ultraleather®, look and feel like rich leather. Unfortunately, many high-end vinyls are stretchy. Cushions made from Ultraleather® may look good at first, but they can warp and lose shape over time. These cushions were fabricated from a slightly rigid vinyl that looks good and wears well.

Another difference between home and commercial upholstery: commercial projects often require concave cushions. Keeping the fabric cover in place is tricky when the foam is cupped. Buttons are one way to hold the fabric in place. This booth required a smooth face, so instead of buttons we shaped the fabric to fit the curve.

Reupholstering a Wingback Chair

It's difficult to part with a favorite chair even when it's on life support, like this one. Often times you discover that repairing and reupholstering can be more expensive than buying a brand new one from Ikea or some other discount furniture outlet.

But, if you like the chair and it's well built, it makes sense to repair and reupholster.

This fifty year old wingback is a great example of something worth saving. The frame was manufactured with solid wood and the spring box is still in good shape. Beyond that, there isn't much worth salvaging.

  • reupholster wing back chair
    Old Wingback Chair
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Removing Back Rest
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Old Webbing
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Repaired Spring Box
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Newly Upholstered Back
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Reupholstered Wingback Chair

reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair

When a well built chair is this far gone, the first thing we do is strip it down to "the bones". That means removing all the old upholstery, padding and fasteners used when it was manufactured. We're left with the wooden frame, webbing and spring box. The burlap webbing was still in pretty good shape, but just to be on the safe side we reinforce it with new webbing.

Next, we straighten and retie the coils. The finished spring box may look like an over caffeinated cat's cradle (above), but the cords are actually aligned in a specific pattern to keep each support coil locked in place. We cover the repaired spring box with deck fabric, then pad the arms and shoulders with sheet foam and Dacron®. The foam and Dacron replaces cotton batting used when the chair was built.

We use medium soft HR45 foam for the seat cushion and back rest. Then we wrap the cushions and chair in a durable tweed upholstery fabric accented with a stylish welt. As you can see in the final pic, the old wingback looks brand new.

Reupholster Stickley Morris Chair

stickley morris chairYou may have seen one of these in a living room or den. It's called a Morris chair. Most consider it the forerunner of the modern recliner; sort of a Flintstones version of the La-Z-Boy®.

stickley morris chair

The first one was built way back in the 1860s when an English carpenter dreamt up a chair with an adjustable, reclining back. To adjust the back, you simply lifted the arms and pushed back to lock the chair into a reclining position. The chair also featured plush cushions for the back and seat, which weren't common at the time. It was revolutionary by Victorian standards, and people loved it.

By the early 1900s Gustav Stickley began manufacturing an American varient of the Morris chair. The Stickley Morris chair is a simplified version of the original, with a rectilinear shape, flat angled arms and thick cushions. Most have reclining backs.

  • stickley morris chair
    Original Stickley Morris Chair
  • stickley morris chair
    Original Stickley Morris Chair
  • stickley morris chair
    Reupholstered Stickley Morris Chair
  • stickley morris chair
    Reupholstered Stickley Morris Chair

stickley morris chair
stickley morris chair
stickley morris chair
stickley morris chair

This one's been used as a combination reading chair / cat bed. The original upholstery wasn't too bad, but the bottom cushion was shot, so it made sense to reupholster the whole thing, including the stool.

compare with and without DacronUnder normal circumstances, we'd recommend replacing the cushion with a medium density polyurethane foam such as HR33 or HR45. In this instance the owners selected something quite a bit stiffer, three inch HR55.

Before reupholstering a chair, we typically wrap the foam in Dacron® to "plump" the cushion. This gives it a slightly softer feel without sacrificing support. You can see and feel the difference. As always, we use the finest quality upholstery fabric and foam. This restored Stickley Morris chair should be good for another fifty years.

Restore Old Sofa

When a customer asks us to repair or restore an old sofa they'll often take the opportunity to update the upholstery. Even if it's an antique there are plenty of ways to give the couch a fresh look by changing the upholstery pattern or color.

The owner of this sofa preferred a different approach. He didn't want a new look. He wanted his old sofa to look like the original.

  • restore green couch
    Old Sofa Before Repair
  • restore green couch
    Sofa After Restoration

restore green couch
restore green couch

As you can see, the sofa needed new padding, cushions and fabric, but most of our attention was focused on what you can't see — the damaged spring box under the cushions.

  • restore green couch
    Torn & Damaged Spring Box
  • restore green couch
    Retied Support Coils
  • restore green couch
    Leveling Sofa Deck
  • restore green couch
    Rebuilding Sofa Spring Box
  • restore green couch
    Durable Burlap Cover
  • restore green couch
    Reupholsered Couch

restore green couch
restore green couch
restore green couch
restore green couch
restore green couch
restore green couch

We began by reinforcing the frame and webbing underneath the sofa. Then we went to work on the spring box. Fortunately, the steel coils were good enough to reuse. It took some time to clean, straighten and retie the coils so they would properly absorb and distribute weight. With the coils aligned, we leveled the deck and covered it with thick, durable burlap.

While the original upholstery fabric was not available, we found a nearly identical microfiber with the same color and nap. The fabric didn't have much "give" so fitting the upholstery took a little longer than expected.

Check out the final pic; hard to believe it's the same sofa.

Rebuild Restaurant Booth

Restaurant booths take a ton of abuse, especially in popular neighborhoods like Wallingford near the University District. This booth bench is from Kate's Pub on 45th. Kate tells us the previous pub owner was sort of a cheapskate. Instead of upholstering the benches with something durable, he used cut-rate vinyl. In fact, we found a spot were the crappy vinyl was stapled over a layer of older material which was held in place with a piece of petrified chewing gum!

  • Rebuild Restaurant Booth
    Old Booth Stripped to Frame
  • Rebuild Restaurant Booth
    Jury-Rigged Suspension
  • Rebuild Restaurant Booth
    Rebuilt Suspension w/ Burlap Backing
  • Rebuild Restaurant Booth
    New Padding Wrapped in Dacron®
  • Rebuild Restaurant Booth
    New Vinyl Cover
  • Rebuild Restaurant Booth
    Rebuilt Restaurant Bench

Rebuild Restaurant Booth
Rebuild Restaurant Booth
Rebuild Restaurant Booth
Rebuild Restaurant Booth
Rebuild Restaurant Booth
Rebuild Restaurant Booth

After stripping it down to the bones, we discovered the booth was in worse shape than we thought. Most of the zig-zag supports were broken or rusted. Instead of repairing the suspension, the previous owner had jury-rigged the zig-zag supports. We had to replace most of them, then retie the entire suspension. During that process, we added a burlap barrier to protect the interior of the bench.

With the suspension repaired, we installed brand new polyurethane foam and Dacron® padding. Instead of cut-rate vinyl, we covered the bench with blue marine grade vinyl guaranteed to last a lot longer than the cheap stuff.

When it left the shop, the old booth looked and felt brand new. Check it out next time you're at Kate's.

MoPop Minecraft® Exhibit

minecraft logoMinecraft® has been a big hit with gamers for more than a decade. In fact, at ten years old, the computer game is already ancient by Internet standards; not quite that old if you're counting in dog years.

Seattle's MoPop Museum and the folks who designed the game are curating a special exhibit to celebrate Minecraft's tenth anniversary. These are pics of a bench we built for the exhibit. It's a replica of a "bed" block used in the game.

  • minecraft exhibit
  • minecraft exhibit

minecraft exhibit
minecraft exhibit

What's a bed block you ask? According the Minecraft, "A bed is a block that allows a player to sleep and to reset their spawn point to within a few blocks of the bed. If the bed is obstructed, the player spawns at the default world spawning location." Get it? Neither do we. But, based on the game's popularity, a lot of people know all about the bed block.

Now, they'll get a chance to sit on one instead of just clicking it.

Custom Booth for Apartment Lounge

Thanks in large part to Amazon and other high-tech outfits, Seattle's population is growing like crazy. Fancy new apartments are popping-up all over the place; a lot of them with less than 800 square feet of floor space. Constrained living areas may help keep rents down, but they can also turn tenants into sardines.

To compensate for smaller sized units, some apartments now provide additional amenities such as fancy activity rooms.

  • aparrtment lounge furniture
    Lounge Booth Frame
  • aparrtment lounge furniture
    Kerf Cut Corners
  • aparrtment lounge furniture
    Booth Seat Pad
  • aparrtment lounge furniture
    Back Rest
  • aparrtment lounge furniture
    Pad & Back Joined
  • aparrtment lounge furniture
    Apartment Lounge Booth

aparrtment lounge furniture
aparrtment lounge furniture
aparrtment lounge furniture
aparrtment lounge furniture
aparrtment lounge furniture
aparrtment lounge furniture

We fabricated and upholstered these bar style booths for a new highrise apartment in Northgate. They're built to fit seamlessly into a small "speak easy style" lounge for young adults. With tough marine grade vinyl and sturdy polyurethane foam, these custom booths not only look good, they're built to last.

Upholster Dining Room Chairs

Before recovering a seat cushion we're careful to ask how the chair is going to be used. Knowing its purpose helps us reupholster a seat the right way. The seat deck on a dining room chair, for example, should be rigid with a little bit of give. Vice versa for an easy chair.

  • dining chair seat
    Old Seat Cover
  • dining chair seat
    Donut Hole Frame
  • dining chair seat
    New Burlap Webbing

dining chair seat
dining chair seat
dining chair seat

The seat deck on this dining room chair was way too squishy. We discovered why after taking the cushion apart. As you can see from the second pic (above), the frame was little more than a donut hole; no wonder the cushion had too much give.

  • dining chair seat
    Base Padding
  • dining chair seat
    Polyurethane Foam Cushion
  • dining chair seat
    New Seat Cover

dining chair seat
dining chair seat
dining chair seat

Before building a new cushion we rebuilt the frame using burlap cloth and jute strapping. Jute is perfect for a chair deck; it's a strong, natural fabric with just the right amount of give. Once the deck frame was rebuilt we went to work on the cushion itself.

We used a couple of different foams for padding, then a plump Dacron® wrap to add a little extra body. As you can see by comparing the first and last pic, the upholstery fabric closely matched the original. A welt around the bottom provided the final touch.

Nichols & Stone Antique Dining Chairs

Nichols & Stone is a venerable New England furniture manufacturer. The company traces its roots all the way back to 1762 Massachusetts. This dining table chair was probably manufactured in the early 1900s. It's been reupholstered a number of times the old fashioned way using jute padding, copper tacks, cotton fabrics and leather.

Even a chair manufactured with solid wood doesn't last forever. The seat deck on this chair finally splintered and collapsed.

  • antique dining chairs
    Nichols & Stone
  • antique dining chairs
    Antique Dining Chair
  • antique dining chairs
    Old Upholstery
  • antique dining chairs
    Original Upholstery
  • antique dining chairs
    Jute & Cotton Padding
  • antique dining chairs
    Damaged Seat Deck
  • antique dining chairs
    Burlap Webbing
  • antique dining chairs
    New Upholstery
  • antique dining chairs
    Repaired Antique Seat

antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs
antique dining chairs

Sitting on a chair with a wooden bottom is like sitting on a stadium bench. So, instead of switching out the damaged wood, we upgraded the bottom to flexible burlap webbing. Webbing is a lot more comfortable than wood.

We had to toss the tattered cotton batting; it couldn't be salvaged. We replaced the old padding with soft, state-of-the-art polyurethane foam.

With the seat deck rebuilt and padding upgraded, we reupholstered the cushion with a floral fabric similar to the original material. When we were finished, the chair was the spitting image of the original and a lot more inviting.

Repair Club Chair

Here's an overstuffed club chair with matching ottoman. When the owner dropped it off, the chair frame and back support were in good shape, but the padding needed some attention.

A single layer of Dacron® did the trick. With the padding back to normal, we turned our attention to the upholstery.

  • reupholster wing back chair
    Original Club Chair
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Repair Club Chair
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Turkish Corner
  • reupholster wing back chair
    Reupholster Club Chair

reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair
reupholster wing back chair

The customer wanted to replace the old flower print upholstery with something completely different. She selected a solid color fabric called "Knock on Wood" from Avant Garde. It's manufactured from polyester and boasts a very high durability rating of 100,000 double rubs.

We upholstered it in the original style, with simple Turkish corners (pleats) and no welting. The chair was manufactured decades ago, but with upgraded upholstery and additional padding, it almost looks contemporary.

Repair Channel Back Chair

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when this channel back chair was made. The padding was horsehair and cotton batting, so you can bet it's at least 70 years old. The frame is manufactured from sturdy hardwood held together with dowels — another clue this chair is an old timer.

  • channel back chair repair
    Before Repair
  • channel back chair repair
    Original Horsehair Padding
  • channel back chair repair
    Dowels
  • channel back chair repair
    Chair Stripped to Frame
  • channel back chair repair
    Burlap Webbing Support
  • channel back chair repair
    Repairing Deck and Springs
  • channel back chair repair
    Dacron and Fabric
  • channel back chair repair
    Overstuffed Seat Cusion
  • channel back chair repair
    Scalloped Edge

channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair
channel back chair repair

The chair was in bad shape when the owner dropped it off. The frame wobbled and the upholstery was torn and faded.

The first thing we did was strip it all the way down to the frame. Then we repaired the deck and spring box. Burlap webbing is still the best material for most chair bottoms. In addition to being a natural material, burlap is tough and flexible. The support coils were still in good shape. All we had to do was clean and retie them.

The owner wanted to recreate the overstuffed feel, so instead of polyurethane foam and dacron we used old fashioned cotton batting to pad the cushion. The cushion edge was also scalloped to fit into the channel back slots. The loose padding doesn't retain its shape the way foam does, but it's got that luxurious, overstuffed feel the owner wanted.

Repair Louis XIV Chair

The classic Louis XIV chair is heavy and thronelike with upholstered high backs and 'H' or 'Y' shaped stretchers underneath. Armrests typically extend to the front edge of the seat with straight and upright seat backs.

This one came to us with its original upholstery and antique excelsior padding. The tattered upholstery made it look like something from the Addams Family. The owner wanted it to look more welcoming.

  • louis 14th chair upholstery
    Before Repair
  • louis 14th chair upholstery
    During Repair
  • louis 14th chair upholstery
    After Repair

louis 14th chair upholstery
louis 14th chair upholstery
louis 14th chair upholstery

The chair frame was solid, but the spring box and back needed repair. After the rebuild, we fabricated new cushions and recovered the chair in a bright, silky print. As you can see, the upholstery "softened" the chair's heavy, austere woodwork just as the owner wanted.


Mid-Century Swan Chairs

The Swan Chair is among the most distinctive Danish designs to emerge from the Mid-Century Modern movement. Unlike some creations from that era, this chair possesses an enduring appeal. Sixty years after the original one was built, Swan Chairs and Swan Sofas are still in production.

These two are nicely made knockoffs.

  • reupholstered swan chairs
    Reupholstered Swan Chairs
  • reupholstered swan chairs
    Wool Fabric
  • reupholstered swan chairs
    Hand stitching

reupholstered swan chairs
reupholstered swan chairs
reupholstered swan chairs

The chairs were in bad shape when they arrived. Before fabricating a new cover, we had to rebuild the padding.

swan chair in house

swan chair in house
Looks Great in Customer's Home!
A foam rebuild is usually pretty straightforward. Most cushions are square; all you have to do is cut a new square of polyurethane foam and switch it out. A foam rebuild for this sort of chair is much more complicated. Rounded edges and odd angles are defining characteristics of the swan chair, so you can't just cut a square of foam and slap it on. Repadding a swan chair requires shaping the foam by hand.

Upholstering a swan chair can be just as challenging. The owner selected a rich wool for the new cover. She also wanted the cover sewn in the original manner. Since the primary surface is concave we had to glue the wool directly to the foam then hand stitch the whole thing. Hand stitching the unusually shaped corners required extra fabric and extra attention.

We made sure the finished product was faithful to the original design.

United Club Airport Lounge Seats

United Airlines LogoLike most major carriers, United Airlines provides its passengers with a special waiting lounge in busy airports. SeaTac is America's 9th busiest airport, so the United Airlines Club Lounge in Seattle gets plenty of use. With all that passenger traffic, the chairs in its SeaTac lounge were looking pretty ragged. They needed to be reupholstered, but it had to be done without inconveniencing airline customers.

  • united airlines lounge chairs
    Lounge Chairs Before New Upholstery
  • united airlines lounge chairs
    Lots of Wear!
  • united airlines lounge chairs
    Handcrafted Vinyl Covers
  • united airlines lounge chairs
    Installing New Covers
  • united airlines lounge chairs
    Lounge Chair After New Upholstery
  • united airlines lounge chairs
    Before & After Comparison

united airlines lounge chairs
united airlines lounge chairs
united airlines lounge chairs
united airlines lounge chairs
united airlines lounge chairs
united airlines lounge chairs

After consulting with United Airlines we came up with a plan. Mac's would strip and reupholster eight chairs each week until all the chairs were finished. A set of newly upholstered chairs would be rotated into United Airlines' SeaTac Club Lounge every week. Based on those production numbers, the project would take a month and a half to complete.

Instead of cloth, we recommended a high end commercial grade Symphony® brand vinyl. The vinyl would be easier to maintain, last longer and look better until it was time to do it all over again in a few years.


Repair Diner Stool

The bolt down café stool evokes memories of a bygone era when roadside diners were popular, a jukebox was cutted edge technology and lunch at a Woolworth’s counter cost 25¢. You still see these old stools every once in a while. A customer recently asked us to repair and reupholster half a dozen in traditional red.

  • repaired diner stool
    Recovered Diner Stool
  • repaired diner stool
    Repaired Diner Stool

repaired diner stool
repaired diner stool

The vinyl fabric they used in the fifties and sixties to upholster diner stools was stiff and not very durable. As a consequence, many of the them were covered in leather.

green stool
green stool

green stool green stoolToday's high-end vinyls have evolved to the point where they're pretty much indistinguishable from leather. The marine grade vinyls we used to cover these stools — Olympus American Beauity & American Spirit Forest Green — boast extraordinary durability. They're rated for one million double rubs; strong enough and soft enough for motorcycle seats and heavy duty commercial marine upholstery. They're also less expensive and usually more supple than full grain leather. Best of all, they look great on old fashioned café stools.

Reupholster Wingback Chair

In almost every case, we recommend upgrading a chair's padding during the reupholstery process. We do this for a couple of reasons. New foam is far more comfortable than antique horsehair padding. Also, old padding can collapse and turn moldy.

Despite our suggestion, the owner of this wingback chair wanted to keep the old horsehair padding and cotton batting.

  • repholster chair
    Before Repair
  • repholster chair
    Before Reupholstery
  • repholster chair
    Being Upholstered
  • repholster chair
    After Reupholstery
  • repholster chair
    Matching Buttons
  • repholster chair
    Detailed Welting

repholster chair
repholster chair
repholster chair
repholster chair
repholster chair
repholster chair

It's challenging to properly reupholster somebody's old chair when the padding is lumpy, especially if the upholstery fabric they select doesn't have much elasticity. Given the circumstances, we did the next best thing. With the owner's approval, we wrapped the seat cushion, back cushion and arms in sheets of cushy Dacron. Dacron batting not only adds body to fill in the lumps, it provides a little extra padding.

The inexpensive Dacron sheets did the trick. They smoothed the rough edges allowing us to give new life to a dusty old wingback chair.

Restore Craftsman Rocker

Here's a beautiful craftsman style rocking chair we recently restored. We're not sure how old the chair is. The padding material inside — old fashioned horsehair, straw and cotton batting — suggests it was manufactured in the early twentieth century.

The chair frame was in excellent shape, but the old leather was desiccated, torn and rotted. The padding material also needed attention; it was old and moldy. We could've reused some of the original stuffing, but we strongly discourage that. In addition to being a little on the nasty side, the old stuff is never as comfortable and versatile as today's polyurethane foams.

  • restored crafctsman rocking chair
    Damaged Leather Chair Seat
  • restored crafctsman rocking chair
    Restored Rocking Chair
  • restored crafctsman rocking chair
    Replace Leather on Chair

restored crafctsman rocking chair
restored crafctsman rocking chair
restored crafctsman rocking chair

Many of today's vinyls are nearly indistinguishable from leather, but the owner wanted to keep the chair authentic. Since leather is a natural material every hide is slightly different. On rare occasions a brand or scar on the leather will get in the way. The hide we used for this project had all the desirable characteristics: a smooth, consistent pattern with an even stain.

Upholstery nails serve a duel purpose on this rocking chair. In addition to holding the cushions in place, they're design elements. Since the original nails are discarded when the chair is stripped, we had to find about 150 3/8 inch brass head nails. Setting the nails is time consuming, but as you can see it was more than worth the effort.

A Softer Look & Feel

Leather upholstery is generally more durable than cloth. It also looks great. But, if you want your furniture soft and inviting, leather may not be the best choice. When this chair was brought in for seat repair and furniture refinishing, the customer wondered if we could replace the leather with something warmer.

  • reupholster chair
    Before New Upholstery
  • reupholster chair
    After New Upholstery

reupholster chair
reupholster chair

This repair required resetting the support coils under the seat deck, replacing the old foam and refinishing the wood. After that work was complete, we turned our attention to the upholstery.

Changing from leather to fabric can dramatically alter the characteristics of a chair like this. When covered in leather, it's ideal for an office. In velvet (Flanders Sliver from Latimer Alexander), not so much. The difference is easy to see in the before and after pics. This is exactly what the customer was after; something less formal, cozy and stylishly understated.

Rebuild Furniture Webbing

Flip over an arm chair or drawing room settee and you'll usually find upholstery webbing. This semi-elastic material supports the furniture's spring box or foam rubber padding. Upholstery webbing hasn't changed much over the years. The industry standard remains the same as it was back in the 1800s — tough burlap strapping.

  • furniture webbing
    Sofa Webbing
  • furniture webbing
    Three Layers of Webbing

furniture webbing
furniture webbing

Here's a sofa with the original webbing (1) plus a second layer of webbing (2) added later. During the reupholstery process we'll often add a brand new layer of webbing (3) even if the other layer(s) look good. While this may not be necessary, fresh webbing steadies the base and provides an additional layer of support. It's the sort of detail that makes us Seattle's top upholstery shop!

Restore Wing Back Chairs

Often times when you strip away the tattered upholstery of a vintage chair you find a hidden gem. These 20th century treasures were concealed under jute, horsehair padding and sun-bleached upholstery. The owner didn't even know about the decorative woodwork on the shoulders and arms until we stripped the chair.

The handholds on these wingback chairs appear to have been added long after the chairs were built. They're also a different style than the original. Because the styles don't match, the owner had a decision to make.

  • wing back chair restoration
    Old Velvet Fabric
  • wing back chair restoration
    Jute & Burlap Edge Roll
  • wing back chair restoration
    Misaligned Back Support
  • wing back chair restoration
    Splintered Shoulder
  • wing back chair restoration
    Different Style Handhold
  • wing back chair restoration
    Dacron Replaces Burlap
  • wing back chair restoration
    After Padding Replaced
  • wing back chair restoration
    New Upholstery Fabric
  • wing back chair restoration
    Restored Wing Chairs

wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration
wing back chair restoration

Rather than restoring the whole kit and kaboodle, the owner chose to repair the original woodwork – the legs and shoulders – and cover the parts that were added later. In short, she wanted the chairs restored to their early 20th century spendor.

The restoration posed some technical challenges. Fastening the new upholstery was tricky in places and the jute edge rolls along the front had to be rebuilt. By the time we were finished, the two chairs looked the way they were supposed to look. And thanks to modern Dacron and polyurethane foam they were quite a bit more comfortable.

Restore Claw Feet Furniture

Some call them "Claw Feet", others prefer "Paw Feet". Either way, this style of furniture -- with ornamental animal feet carved into the leg bottoms -- were most popular during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and North America. They're often found on "Queen Anne," "Chippendale," "Victorian," or "American Empire" furniture.

This set of antique furniture -- two chairs and a settee -- features lion paws. The owner brought them in for new upholstery, but they were in such bad shape we had to do some serious restoration work first.

The first two rows show the antique chairs before, during and after restoration. The final two pics show the settee before and after restoration.

  • furniture restoration
    Original Chair
  • furniture restoration
    Reinforcing Frame
  • furniture restoration
    Restored Chair
  • furniture restoration
    Original Chair
  • furniture restoration
    Stripping Chair
  • furniture restoration
    Restored Chair

furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration
furniture restoration

Based on the materials used to build this furniture set, we estimate it's nearly a century old. After stripping off the old cover, padding and burlap we went to work on the damaged frames. We glued together cracked sections and added support blocks in critical places (red arrows in first row).

The old fashioned coil springs were still in good shape, so we cleaned and retied them. Then we touched up the woodwork, replaced the cotton padding with foam and covered the cushions in a durable blue fabric. This is another example of why you should think twice before junking old furniture.

Early 20th Century Furniture

Reupholstering old chairs can be expensive; it's often cheaper to buy a brand new one. On the other hand, well made antiques such as these early 20th century chairs are gems. When properly restored they become more valuable. The owner was willing to spend the money and she wanted the job done right, so she called us.

  • 19th Century Chair rebuild
    Rebuilding Chair Deck
  • 19th Century Chair rebuild
    Restored Chair
  • 19th Century Chair rebuild
    Reupholstered Chair

19th Century Chair rebuild
19th Century Chair rebuild
19th Century Chair rebuild

If you ever question the authenticity of an antique, take a look at the padding. Most old furniture cushions are padded with some combination of horsehair, straw or wood shavings. In rare cases you'll find latex, an organic foam manufactured from rubber tree sap.

19th Century Chair rebuild

Straw was the original padding material in these. The owner wisely chose to upgrade to modern polyurethane. After rebuilding the cushions we upholstered the chairs and bench with a fabric like the old one then added decorative tacks similar to the originals.

 

Masking Flaws in Antique Settee

There's a fine line between a valuable antique with "character" and a damaged old couch destined for the junkyard. This lovely 19th Century settee is a diamond in the rough. Careful restoration and attention to detail transforms it from junk into a jewel.

  • settee before new upholstery
    Antique Settee Before New Upholstery
  • settee after new upholstery
    Antique Settee After New Upholstery

settee before new upholstery
settee after new upholstery

While our designers are careful not to sacrifice an antique's "character", the restoration process often requires repair. For example, this settee's seat cushion is shot. The horsehair padding is salvageable, but the old latex foam has deteriorated into dust.

We toss the old latex and replace it with custom cut polyurethane foam.

  • reattaching broken leg
    Reattaching Broken Leg
  • gap below headboard
    Gap Below Headboard
  • attaching welt
    Custom Headboard Welt
  • welting to fit the gap
    Welt Fills The Gap

reattaching broken leg
gap below headboard
attaching welt
welting to fit the gap

Repairing and reattaching the settee's broken leg is trickier. The leg snapped off years ago, leaving shards of the old dowel stuck inside both the frame and leg. After removing what's left of the old dowel, we anchor the leg with a new dowel, wood glue and putty.

As often happens, the old wood is warped in places. When we attach the headboard, a crooked gap appears between the headboard and seat back. Our designers solve this problem by attaching a welt to the base of the headboard. The fabric welt nicely fills the gap. It's a small thing, but attention to detail can be the difference between something you save and something you eventually toss.