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  • one man's trash: the alley chair makeover

    A couple years ago, I stumbled upon my favorite piece of furniture. Erik and I were meeting up for a beer after work- he was walking from work and I was walking down from our apartment. As I left our apartment and started down the alley (my shortcut!) I noticed an old chair by a dumpster. This was a fairly common sight- we live in a neighborhood of apartment dwellers which means people moving away and new people moving in throughout the year. Usually the furniture left behind by people is better left for the garbage man but this chair was different. I was running late to meet up with Erik (also a common occurence..) so I continued on my way. I made it to the end of the alley when I turned around to look at the chair again. I knew that it wouldn't be there when we returned. Beneath the scuffs and the old fabric cushion, was something special. The lines of the chair made it so unique. I knew with a little love, this chair could be a really amazing piece. I rushed back up the alley, threw the tattered cushion into the dumpster and carried the wood chair up three flights of narrow stairs to our apartment. I quickly wiped it down, took a few photos (to show Erik why I was running exceptionally late this time) and then rushed out the door.

    A couple years later and a lot of hard work (mostly Erik's hard work...the poor guy had no idea I was dragging him into this project!) the chair looks amazing. Erik refinished it and, of course, I needed to make a new cushion for it. I wonder what the old owner would think?

    The day I found it in the alley (pardon the photo quality- these are the photos I took with my phone):

    My wonderful husband, sanding his heart out:

    And the chair now:

    And one more, with one of my pillows...because every chair is better will a pretty pillow:

    I could go into a little soap box speech about why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover or how an ugly duckling can become a beautiful swan but I'll save that for another day. I will say this though- if you find something at a second hand or antique store (or in the alley...) and it has good bones and you are not afraid of a little work (or know someone who isn't afraid of hard work, whether a friend or skilled tradesman), don't hesitate to pick it up. These are the pieces that add interest and personality to our homes. They have stories behind them that you will want to share!