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banker’s chair makeover

July 14, 2010

(alternately titled: holy crap! I finally finished this project!)

A while ago, like 2 years-ish, we were living in Minneapolis, scraping wallpaper off the walls of what was going to be our office, and I was scouring craigslist for the *perfect* bankers chair & desk.  And this is what I found:

Not quite, *perfect*, but for $15, I decided it was close enough to at least try to do something with.  And then the chair sat in the basement for a good 4 months while I decided whether to paint or stain it.

In the end, I figured I’d strip & restain it.  After all, if I didn’t like it, it would be easier to paint over stain than it would be to strip the paint and stain the chair.

I took apart the entire chair, removed the stain from the wood, then re-stained and polyurethaned the chair (and, yes, that is polyurethane in verb form right there.).  The metal bits were boiled in water and baking soda, soaked in vinegar, scrubbed with a wire brush, and then paint black.  (More on how I did this is here).

And then… she sat like that for over a year.  No seat.  Just hanging out in our office.  The original caned seat was totally broken beyond repair… even if I did know how to cane, which I don’t.

The movers moved her seatless (and then looked at me like I was a little nuts for wanting a seatless chair in the office).

Instead of trying to re-cane the seat, I got Jason to cut out a piece of wood that would fit in the insert where the seat was.  Awesomely, we happened to have a sturdy board that was the right thickness just hanging out in the house.  I also already had batting left over from a baby quilt that I made.  I ordered a print from Joel Dewberry (PS LOVE his fabrics) from for like $4/yard on super-clearance.

I covered the board in batting, then covered it in my fabric.  And the end result rocks my socks off.  Seriously.

I love it so much.  And, I think the best part of the whole deal might be that the cost for the chair was $19 – $15 for the chair, $4 for the fabric, and I had everything else (stain, etc) left over from other projects.  I can’t believe I waited nearly 2 years to finish her!

I’m linking up to the CSI Project’s Yard Sale Challenge, Just a Girl’s Show & Share Day, The Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday Party, and the Penny Pinching Party.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2010 1:11 pm

    What a beautiful chair. Awesome transformation. Thanks for sharing.

  2. July 14, 2010 2:13 pm

    Wow! The chair turned out amazing! I remember when you started the project…I can’t believe that was 2 years ago!

  3. July 14, 2010 2:26 pm

    I’ve always loved banks chairs aka teachers chairs – they are so classic. You turned an old chair and gave it new life. I looks amazing, I love that you added fabric to the seat instead of re-caning it! I’ve always thought cane seats were uncomfortable. I really really love your update! wow!

  4. July 14, 2010 2:54 pm

    This chair is beautiful! You did a fantastic job, and I LOVE that fabric!

  5. July 14, 2010 3:05 pm

    Wow, that is a beautiful transformation! Awesome work!

  6. July 14, 2010 5:51 pm

    That’s just gorgeous, you did a fantastic job, and I love your side tutorial on the metal parts.

  7. Debbie permalink
    July 14, 2010 6:59 pm

    I love the fabric! What a big improvement on the chair. You can certainly be proud of that result!
    They do sell pieces of caning (for those of us who can’t do it) but I like the fabric better.
    My parents were great at caning chairs; I wish I had payed attention back then!

  8. Tricia Heliker permalink
    July 14, 2010 8:52 pm

    Some projects have their day and that might be a few years off. It turned out great. Love the fabric and the color of the chair. Works great together. Awesome job.

  9. mom permalink
    July 14, 2010 9:15 pm

    Wow, it’s done! Is it as comfy as it looks?

    • July 16, 2010 10:53 pm

      It is pretty comfy… then again, I haven’t gotten to sit in it much because I’m still working on the matching desk (more on that later…).

  10. July 14, 2010 10:08 pm

    This is awesome! I’m insanely jealous. I really wanna find a chair like this, but I don’t know that I have the patience to strip and sand it. Plus I’ve never seen one in my CL lurking. But the stain is perfect.

  11. July 15, 2010 8:30 am

    Ohhh! I want one of these SOOO bad! I love how it turned out! Looks great!

  12. July 15, 2010 9:22 am

    It looks great. You did a wonderful job; I think it was worth the wait.

  13. July 15, 2010 11:27 am

    Incredible! You SAVED that chair! And it turned out like a brand new chair! LOVE the color of that stain. Wonderful job!!

  14. July 15, 2010 12:18 pm

    What a great job! Awesome price too.

  15. July 15, 2010 3:06 pm

    Great makeover! I love banker’s chairs and that Joel Dewberry fabric is cute.

  16. July 15, 2010 8:50 pm

    Wow, that’s impressive!

  17. July 18, 2010 12:49 pm

    The chair is beautiful and I love that fabric! Some projects are just worth waiting a couple of years for!

  18. July 18, 2010 2:16 pm

    That is gorgeous! I have access to (means my mom has an extra) a banker’s chair. Now I may have to get busy making it look as great as yours.

  19. July 18, 2010 3:02 pm

    Love this!!! Came here via JAG and will be back to look at other posts!!!

  20. July 18, 2010 4:15 pm

    That is amazing – I’m off to look up Banker’s Chair (I never knew that was what they were called) on Craigslist!

  21. Ronda permalink
    July 18, 2010 6:51 pm

    Wow love that chair, thanks for sharing. I have one only it’s tuffed. Makes me want to get mine done.

  22. July 18, 2010 7:53 pm

    Amazing transformation!!! You definitely have more patience than me! 🙂

  23. Rob Major permalink
    August 30, 2011 2:23 pm

    Sorry, I found them, they look fantastic.

  24. November 7, 2012 11:09 pm

    Incredible job. I have a banker’s chair just like this one which I want to restore… The idea of taking it apart like that is giving me a headache. Well done!

  25. January 18, 2013 11:31 am

    This looks fantastic; I`m gonna pain mine!!!


  26. July 10, 2013 5:51 pm

    Gorgeous chair. I’m on the hunt for a Bankers Chair myself.


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