Upholstered Bench

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Paging through magazines today, I stopped and looked at a beautiful upholstered bench in Traditional Home.  If you know me, I never throw away my design magazines.  I may tear a few pages, earmark some more, but it is so incredibly hard for me to throw away magazines.  I wonder if you do the same.?  I wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder by any means, because I know where they all are and where I can go for inspiration.  My husband, on the other hand, probably has a different thought about my magazine (hoarding) stash.
As I was looking at Traditional Home, dated May 2007, on the front cover there is an upholstered bench in front of a beautiful, stone fireplace.  It reminded me that I have an upholstered bench that I needed to share with you.  This was another “fun” one, 
and I am thrilled with the results.
Spiral legs on tables, chairs, or benches scream “beauty” to me.  I always think about the craftsmanship going into a piece and it makes me appreciate it that much more.
When I first saw this piece, I thought, the obvious placement would be at the end of a bed… but what about using it as a coffee table in front of a vintage sofa, or two upholstered chairs? Another idea would be in front of a fireplace or create bench seating on either side of the fireplace with two flanking benches.  What about seating next to the dining room table?  The list goes on… upholstered benches have versatility and that creates a lifelong, unique, 
and useful item.  
Here is a glimpse of the finished product…
Let me show you where we began…

Originally, this bench was not bad.  The only problem… 
The leather was stained and I wanted to achieve a French, cottage look.  
 Paint and new fabric were in order.
I am in love with the greys I see out there these days, 
so I wanted to create a color of my own.  
 I mixed a couple of colors I had left over from previous projects – 
chocolate brown with a light grey. 
 Luckily, the mix was exactly what I was going for.
I am really into layering paint.  I love texture and it really is achieved with 
layer upon layer.
My first coat was a basic white…
Second Coat… Custom Grey
Below you can see the distressing with a hint of white peeking through.  
 It creates depth and that is what I was going for.


Shopping in Atlanta I found this alphabet, French scroll, fabric.   
This is a unique and new fabric to me.  
 It would be “perfect” as it is neutral… to be used in any décor.
My husband, bless his heart, took every, single, upholstery tack out of the seat.   
This was a tedious job.  He claims he doesn’t have much patience, 
but he showed a tremendous amount of patience with this piece.  
 There had to be well over 100 tacks!
Once he had all of the tacks removed, I asked him if he would 
straighten them out so we could reuse them. 
(Look closely… you can see some bent tacks).
 I really liked the color and wanted to keep the vintage look here.  
He was able to straighten them and save the “look”.  Thank you! Thank you, Joe!
Next, I had to “cut” the fabric.  
 This is always the most feared time I have with fabric. 
 I kept telling myself, have faith… measure twice… cut once.
Leaving enough fabric around the perimeter, I cut the fabric leaving about an inch, 
enough to tuck under and tack. 
It was imperative that I lined the fabric up well… 
I wanted to make sure the scroll was not crooked. 
Next, I pinned the fabric wrong side facing up on each side before I braved the cut!
See where the triangle forms… 
I needed to cut a vertical line and stitch the pieces together.  
 I am glad I made that cut… 
Cutting the triangle an inch from the pins would give me enough room 
to create a perfect fit when sewn together.
After stitching all four corners, right side up, 
the fabric was placed on top of the bench to make sure there was a perfect fit.   
Once that was complete, it was time to hammer in the upholstery tacks.
This is a tedious process too.  
 I could have purchased the strips of tacks, 
but it doesn’t give the look I was going for. 
 I try to think of all of the craftsmen out there building furniture.   
They use their two hands to create those one of a kind pieces, 
and that is what I was going to do too.  (I mean, Joe).
Here is where the fabric is folded under and the tacks inserted, one by one.  
 Then hammered one by one.
To create this…
I have a finer appreciation for upholstery tacks now.  
 I look at the craftsmanship.  
  Upholstery tacks when hammered by hand, one by one, are not perfect… 
take a look at fine furniture, its close, but not perfect. 
 I love that. 
 It really makes one think about the person making it, 
what time and effort went into that piece.  



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  1. Angie- It turned out beautifully. I absolutely love it. I am the same way with fabric sometimes- terrified to make that first cut and the more expensive the fabric the scarier it is! xo Diana

    1. Thanks Diana! I am glad to hear I am not the only one that has to overcome the “cutting fabric fear”! Ha! Confession… I have had expensive fabric for window treatments for over 4 years… do you think I will cut them? Nope, I can’t do it! Hopefully they won’t be out of style by the time I decide to cut. 🙂

  2. Love the before and after of this bench!

    I do quite a bit of re-upholstery and you are right, nails are hard to get “perfect”, but in the case of hand crafted, imperfect is perfection! I don’t think people realize how much goes into re-upholstering and are a bit shocked at my quotes for pieces, especially with tedious jobs such as nail heads. But you get what you pay for with me, quality re-claimed PERFECT furniture! 🙂

    1. Thanks Joy! You are right… imperfect is perfect. I will remember that as I tend to be a wee bit of a perfectionist! 🙂

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