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When the Cow Came Home

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It's no secret that I have a soft spot for "hopeless cases". As a physical therapist, I was drawn most to patients who had been told by someone or the other that "they couldn't" or "they wouldn't" or "they shouldn't".
Those bullies who said "you can't" "you won't", "there's no hope", etc...those guys are like Biff. You remember Biff, right? Back to the Future....remember that dude?
Anyways, I happened upon this "hopeless case" kicked curbside a couple of years ago.
Time: 10 Hours Cost: $70 Difficulty: Medium
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
Of course it couldn't stay there. I took it into the rehab wing (AKA the garage) at the Heathered Nest. Admittedly, it was in bad shape. Rusted frame...
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
Rotten wood...
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
Still, I knew that someday, this little baby could shine again.
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
But then, my husband....we'll call him "Biff" in this story. Biff got home. He sees my new patient and says to me "Hey, what are you thinking McFly?" "You think you can fix this piece of junk up?" "Why you gotta be so gullible McFly?"
I seethed. I waited for inspiration to strike. After two years, it finally did.
I live in the country, and happen to have kind of a thing for cowhide. I had wanted one of these sleek, modern looking cowhide and chrome chairs for years. You know those kind of chairs?
Like this one...
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
the lovely Maison Jansen Style Chrome and Cowhide Chair for $2800. No, I did not just forget a decimal between the 28 and the 00. That's really a TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLAR chair. And trust me when I tell you there are PLENTY more examples of these kind of chairs at these eye popping prices...we're talking serious "cash cows"!
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
So, hey diddle-diddle, I knew that unless those cows could actually jump over a moon, there's no way "budget-conscious-Biff" would allow one of these bovine beauties to cross the threshold of our home.
Heavy on inspiration, and light on funding, the rehabilitation of my curb-side-chair began.
Above is a catalog shot of an Ikea cowhide rug. Instead of paying full sticker price, I snagged one from craigslist for $70. Don't worry, I scoped it out, and the sellers were very clean-type folks, and this rug was almost new. Yes, I get it if you'd be totally skeeved about re-upholstering with a used rug...I kind of am, too, now that I'm reading that back. BUT, you can have these professionally cleaned. And, in my penny-pinching mind, even though a new rug from IKEA is reasonably priced (as far as cowhide goes), it will still run you $200. So I opted (as usual) to be as thrifty as possible. What's great though is that no matter which rug I would have chosen, new or used, there is SO MUCH MATERIAL leftover for more projects!!!
There are several tutorials on the blog for how I accomplished this transformation. On a scale of 0-10, if 0 is napping on a beach in Hawaii, and 10 is climbing Everest, this project was about a 3.6.
For now, I'll just show you how it turned out, after taking the bull by the horns, as they say. It's my big "take that" moment to that ol' Bully, Biff.
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
I don't know if you'd ever have guessed this beauty had been put out to pasture, once upon a time.
** If you want the scoop on how to upholster with a rug or cowhide, HEAD HERE. **
While I no longer treat living, breathing patients, a good redemption story is still something I live for.
  • upcycled metal cow skin armchair, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
Don't tell me something isn't worth saving, or fixing. Anything, and anyone, can be rehabilitated, if given the chance.
You can quote me on that.
For now, I'll sit here in my cowhide and chrome glory, relishing in my victory. I'll count the money I saved, savor the "told you so" moment I had with "Biff", and smile at the dignity I've restored to this little bull of a chair who is now fit for any china shop. It's been a good day here at the Heathered Nest Center for Rehabilitative and Re-Uphosterative Medicine.
Come see us on the blog, or on social media in these spots:
On pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heathernest
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heathered_nest
**Please note, all references to the aforementioned "Biff" were made purely in jest. Anyone who knows my sweet as pie husband...since we're speaking of cows here, would call "Bull-s$%^" on this character assassination, as he is truly the nicest guy around, and puts up with my malarkey on a constant, most agonizing basis.

To see more: http://www.heatherednest.com/2015/01/when-cow-came-home.html

Got a question about this project?

  • Cindy
    Cindy Canada

    Thanks!

  • Heathered Nest
    Heathered Nest Garrett Park, MD

    For the many people who have asked "how did you clean up the chrome?" I've posted on the blog about it...http://www.heatherednest.com/2015/02/we-must...
    There is also a Hometalk post under the same title... @Lynn Robinson McIntyre , @Karen Giacherio

  • Vicki Philp
    Vicki Philp Australia

    That is something else! Absolutely love it! Has Bif-O eaten his words!

  • Cheryl
    Cheryl Buhl, ID

    In love! Obsessed!

  • Dee
    Dee Canada

    I too love the chair AND your writing style. I suggest short stories/anecdotes (as above) compiled into a book 'Life at the Heathered Nest'. I'd love a copy!!
    I have a couple chairs with potential, and horse hides from when my dad was a child

    • Heathered Nest
      Heathered Nest Garrett Park, MD

      @Dee I love that idea for the horse hides. It's so important that our family relics have ways to stay in our homes in places we can see them, use them and continue to cherish them. And thanks for your kind words...very appreciated :)

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