Vintage Drexel Rope and Tassel Arm Chair Makeover

2 Materials

If you are a patient person, it can be well worth your time to recreate something tired and old, into something fabulous and bold!
I was given a set of 4 vintage Drexel Rope and Tassel arm chairs from a friend. They were so tired and worn.
I took the seat and back off, took out a million staples then sanded, and sanded, and sanded some more! (I think my neighbors hate me)! lol
Next I used "Classic Gray" stain by Minwax and while it was wet, I lightly dragged white paint to highlight. It takes a long time to dry, but worth it for the look I was going for. I had to cut out a new seat as the old one disintegrated.
I re upholstered with a whimsical tropical fish upholstery fabric I found on line.
The back was very hard for me to do because it's hollow and there was only a little bit of wood to staple into and I had to do the front and back separately. After much frustration, this is how it turned out! (This was my first time doing hollow back chairs).
I actually received 4 chairs, and to date have finished 2. Thanks for lookin' :)

Suggested materials:

  • Plywood for new seats.  (Left over from another project.)
  • Upholstery fabric  (Ebay)

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Mickey Baron
    Mickey Baron
    on Apr 20, 2016

    Are all 4 going at the same table? If so, will you be using this same fantastic fish fabric on the other 2? LOVE your redo, it's a stunner.

    • Suzette
      on Apr 20, 2016

      Thank you Mickey! Yes they will all be the same. The other two chairs need some restoration before I can finish them, but in the mean time, I built the table I'll be using with them, and will create a post for that as well soon! :)

  • C Crow
    C Crow
    on Jun 9, 2019

    Looks great. Did you reuse the old padding under the new upholstery? If you replaced it, please share how you did that and with what. Thank you.

Join the conversation

3 of 22 comments
  • Sha4457197
    on Apr 20, 2016

    That is absolutely gorgeous!! Everything works together so beautifully! LOVE that fabric!

    • Suzette
      on Apr 20, 2016

      @Shangrila427 Thank you so much! I fell in love with the fabric as soon as I saw it! It sort of glows in dim light which I just noticed the other day. Pretty neat stuff! :)

  • Mary McDonald
    Mary McDonald
    on Dec 20, 2020

    Oh geez! The second I saw the pic of the finished chair, I was in love! I usually only react that way to sparkly stuff like jewels, lol! Someone would pay a pretty price for the chairs. All your hard work paid off! Also you must feel lucky to get such a unique looking style of wood.

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