Tag Archives: Charlie’s House

A Chair Makeover


Years ago, before we were married, I somehow wound up with this cool mid-century looking upholstered side chair. It had super clean lines, tapered wooden legs, and a gold/yellow striped fabric covering. The fabric was not my favorite, but the chair was great and very sturdy.

It moved to Yuma with me after we got married, and spent time in various places and various homes of ours before coming to the grey house. At some point, one of the cats decided to use it as a scratching post, and from there on out, it was down hill. The arms were completely torn up from where our precious cats sharpened their claws. Of course if we were around to see/hear them to do this, we’d yell “NO!” or get up quickly to scare them away. It’s all those hours AWAY from the house that they just apparently did whatever they wanted to the poor chair. It looked sad.

Now I’m all for DIY’ing what you can, but not on something like this. I wanted the chair to be reupholstered, and knew the best thing to do would be to have it done professionally.

We knew of a small thrift shop on 7th Avenue called Charlie’s House.  When we had gone in before, the darling man behind the counter was busily cutting fabric, tufting and meticulously reupholstering chairs, couches, benches… whatever you could think of.  He did some of the best work that I have ever seen on furniture. We talked to Charlie, told him about the chair, and listened to several of his stories of growing up, and how he learned to reupholster furniture. Charlie is a true treasure. Someone that when you meet, you feel as though you’ve known them all your life. It doesn’t hurt that he bakes fresh snickerdoodles and pops popcorn for the patrons who come into his store. So cute it makes my eyes watery!

We knew we needed to pick out an amazing fabric, and also one that was somewhat resistant to cats clawing at it. We were going to do our best to protect it using the sticky tape made for this kind of thing, a blanket over it, or whatever, but come on. It’s a chair and if you have to have it constantly covered, then what’s the point of putting money into fixing it?

Our dear friends Dwayne and Patrick were coming into town, and I knew I wanted their help with choosing the right fabric.  They own the house next door to ours and we became fast friends with Dwayne while he lived there. Patrick’s job kept him in Las Vegas in those first few years, so we kept Dwayne company, laughing in the front yard, watching him mow our lawn on Saturdays (no joke! BEST neighbor!), and gossipping about the neighborhood. Dwayne had been diagnosed with leukemia and it was so important to me that he had a hand in choosing the fabric for the chair.

Off to the upholstery shop we went. We looked at hundreds of fabrics but Dwayne quickly confirmed that the light mint fabric was his favorite and “so classy”. I agreed.

The yards of fabric and the chair were dropped at Charlie’s House shortly thereafter, and we waited for the call. When the call came in, with the help of friends and their hatchback, we were able to pick up the chair. And it was stunning.


The fabric took on almost a silvery hue when stretched across the chair. The pattern on the fabric seems almost as if it was done back in the 50’s or 60’s – very appropriate, yet also current. Charlie also created a lumbar pillow for the chair, which is his “signature” when reupholstering. He stained the legs a deep brown color, which perfectly offsets the lightness of the chair fabric. We were SO happy with the results, and Charlie also gave us some good details on the chair. When he pulled off the yellow/gold striped fabric, there were 3 other fabrics underneath! The very bottom fabric was a terrible brown and orange floral pattern, and the other two were just as bad. And this whole time we had thought the fabric on the outside was original! Many people have probably loved this chair over the years and now because of all of the meaning it carries with it, we will love it for many years too.

If you have a sturdy and wonderful piece of furniture that needs some help, I highly recommend getting it professionally reupholstered. And if you’re in the Phoenix area, pay Charlie a visit.

It is worth every penny!

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