The Gathering Room Transformation: Part 1. My Favorite Chair

I’ve loved flipping back through pictures when I sit down to write these stories for you about the early days of Plume as we prepare for this new chapter and expansion.   Here’s another picture taken by my friend Lana from Art & Soul Photography just a few days before my opening day.  (I’m chuckling at the juice box sitting on the edge of the table up there.  Do you see it?  Right next to my favorite chair.) 

I was so proud of my little shop that day but honestly when I look at this picture, taken about a year before we opened the wall up between Unit A & B, I’m a little bit humbled.  We’ve come a long way.  I had no idea what she would become then…if I would make it past the 6-month lease I signed.  I loved her then…but well, she’s grown so much and so have I.   And I’m even prouder now.

Speaking of coming a long way…

This is my current baby room before it became the baby room.  Here’s my chair again lumped in with a bunch of the other things I was keeping after I had “cleaned out” most of Patty’s things.    In the right hand corner you can also see those Colonial Busts that I put on the main table in the picture above.   I had a price tag on them for a couple years (but secretly didn’t really want to sell them) and now they’re in my bedroom at home and they make me happy.    They also make my hubby happy and I constantly have to remove his hats off of them.

Now…let’s get back to that chair.

I had a price tag on her for years.  And she’s been moved on and off the sales floor and into storage a few times.  I really did want to keep her but the colors didn’t work for me at home.  I thought at one point I would use her in my office at the shop but there didn’t end up being space.  She went back out onto the sales floor again.  I think I’ve had her in every room of the shop.  No takers.  I’m not sure if the price was too high or what (another secret plan for me to keep her).   

I’m thankful for this pic that was taken last year for an article I was featured in from Columbia Home.   And thankful that,  whatever the reason, she never sold.   I think she was just always destined to stay here where I found her.  When we started working on the floor plan for the new Gathering Room I knew she would finally have her forever home.

My friend Jana from Studio J Home helped me with space planning in the new Gathering Room to find a spot for it.   You may or may not know that we rent our Gathering Room for private events and are excited about having a larger space to offer.  If you want more info on that…read here.

Jana also does custom slipcovers.   Before I met Jana my experience with slipcovers was not good.  Always tucking and retucking and un-rumpling.     But Jana’s slipcovers are much tailored and custom.  Each cushion is actually individually covered and honestly you cannot tell it’s not upholstery.

Let’s take a closer look at the before.   I’ve always been drawn to pretty vintage florals.  I love the mauve and blue in this one.   Mauve is so popular right now.  You can’t really see it in this fabric until you get really close in…it really just reads as a lot of brown and gold, but I could always see the subtle blue and mauve in there…the colors just never worked for me anywhere I wanted to use it.

Sometimes on a custom slipcover it’s necessary to rip off some of the original fabric, but it was important to me that this chair remain intact.  I wanted to be able to take her back to her original look some day if I ever needed to.   So instead of just covering the current cushions, Jana actually made me 2 new custom cushions for the seat and back, and then instead of ripping the skirt off, she tucked it up under the chair and stitched in in place.   The end result with the new fabric is so ADORABLE.  I love it even more now.  (But there is a part of me who misses the chair she used to be.  Yes, I’m a sentimental sapp.  It’s why I love the nostalgia of vintage so much!!)

Here she is.

Since the old skirt is tucked up underneath we now get to see some “leg” and the colors of this fabric I chose go perfectly with “Jenny” my vintage daybed that she’s sitting next too.   Jana also added more thickness to the seat cushion making it more comfy to sit in.   I chose another vintage inspired floral that ha a bit more modern twist and went with my color pallet in the Gathering Room.   (My secret for finding great fabrics?  I shop in the apparel fabric aisles.  I’m sorry but typical home decor fabrics bore me to tears!)

Here’s another side by side shot…

If you have a chair that has great curves and bones but the fabric is dated or well…just plain ugly… give Jana a call.  A slipcover might be the fix you need.  I will qualify that custom slipcovers are not an inexpensive fix.   From a cost perspective it’s almost as much as a new upholstery job.  I bought seven yards of fabric (but thank you Joanns for the coupons!)  and I still haven’t seen the bill for Jana’s labor but I know what the ballpark is based on past projects.

Slipcovers are not for $5 chairs you find at a garage sale and think you’re going to do a cheap makeover.  (because honestly you can sometimes buy a whole new chair for what you will pay for a custom slipcover) . Slipcovers are for chairs with a story.  They’re for Grandma’s sofa, your aunts vintage chair.  Or a really unique piece you just can’t find anywhere else because of it’s lines and character.  Slipcovers are for pieces that you just can’t get rid (or just can’t pass up at the estate sale) but aren’t able to fully enjoy in it’s current state.   You have to be willing to invest in the piece.  But if you have the right piece, they are so worth.

I’ll be sharing more details about the transformation of our Gathering Room over the next few weeks so be sure to subscribe to the blog if you’re not already so you receive updates straight in your inbox.   (My vintage sofa is next!!)

We had GracefulWait in the shop last night so everyone got to try her out.    She’s so bight and cheerful and comfy.  Who’s going to come sit in her today?   We’re opening up at 10:00.

See you soon!