I’ve been reupholstering some furniture over the past several days. One piece is a simple Eastlake chair. Commonly these things have coffin-tucks and buttons on the back, but in removing the old layers, I found nothing to suggest this particular chair ever had them. It appears to have begun its functional life in the funereal red velvet beloved of perennially grieving aunts, or the kind of people who schlepped pictures of their dead infants as cartes de visites at informal gatherings.
I did my best to preserve the spirit of the original, short of spritzing it with a little embalming fluid. I happen to have a couple of dozen yards of this heavily patterned (Burgundy? Cabernet? Sangiovese?) jacquard that we picked up at a fire sale: not enough to cover the walls in Madame Moitessier’s pouting room, but certainly enough to crank out a dozen or so highbacks for the big table at her old man’s hunting lodge.

I left the crusty patination of the exposed wood as is, not merely because the chemicals required to remove it will turn you into a Fox News viewer overnight, but because I’m beginning to adopt dark, mold, and ruin as an intrinsic part of my aesthetic. And it’s just for the damn studio, anyway.
This chair used to have a thickly upholstered back, again with the buttons and pleats, and a shirred skirt around the edge of the seat. My wife and I reuphosltered it several years ago, whereupon my orange tabby, Spud, promptly pissed a non-removable gamey brown splotch on the seashell weave of its ivory fabric.

It was just as well. It was not a chair that one sat in so much as walked by and mutter “What was it about the Victorians that made them think of misery as an aphrodisiac?”
An unmitigated torture device of a chair.
I stripped it back to the bones, and routed and replaced the back with a scrap of rattan from a roll I purchased several years ago with the object of making one of those pseudo-Egyptian style recamiers from scratch. I backed off on that project because I was fearful my ass would just go through that sumbitch like someone’s big ass going through a sheet of rattan. And if I didn’t destroy it, some hapless house guest would’ve, and sued me for the psychological damages they incurred for the sickening guilt they felt over busting “that goddamn stupid wicker thing” into kindling.
(I’ll post another shot of this one after I get the edge banding and decorative tacks around the base.)

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