When I was little I loved going to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It was a quaint log cabin in the middle of the woods next to a picturesque lake. It really was as magical as you might be imagining. Well, the top gathering place in that log cabin was the fireplace. Huge stone surrounded the warm and cozy hearth, and in cold months, it was always lit and blazing. One fond memory I have of that room are the chairs. Grandma had hers, and Grandpa his. I especially loved it when Grandpa invited me to sit on his lap in that big old chair. Those are the memories I thought of as I did my latest project.
Back in January I completed one of the most time consuming projects of my life: reupholstering this wingback chair.
It was hard, but very rewarding as I still adore the finished product. It’s a woman’s chair all the way with her pretty details and curvy lines. She is gorgeous, but needed a match.
That’s when I found this guy. Cast away on the side of the road looking so sad and lost was this chair when I first saw it. I picked it up, knowing I had no time at all for another huge reupholstering project, I dove right in.
In this post I wanted to share the differences in the types of chairs since I’ve already given an in-depth tutorial on how to reupholster a wingback chair. While the process was similar, the work and time taken on each was vastly different. Get ready for a look at a Queen Anne Vs American Wingback chairs.
The basic differences are easy to see. The antique Queen Anne chair has curvy legs and curvy lines all around. It has plenty of fluffy cushion all about it to make it a comfortable place to sit. The seat itself is deep and sits low.
The American Wingback chair, on the other hand features straight lines and a boxy look. Its cushions are much more minimal and it has a very open feel to it.
When reupholstering these chairs the differences become much more obvious. Taking apart the Queen Anne was an adventure and very difficult. Since it was an antique, nails were used in the place of staples which were very hard to pull out.
It had an incredible amount of layers to it all with interesting patterns and material.
The American chair was about ten time faster to take apart with its little staples and zippered cushions. However, it did have some damaged areas: one of the springs had come undone and the wood in some places was chewed on.
The spring was reattached easily enough, but the damaged wood had to be sanded. I wasn’t able to completely cover the imperfections, but that’s what makes it charming, right?
Since the Queen Anne had so much more fabric, measuring, cutting, and ironing the fabric took a lot more time. The strategy I used for both was to lay out the old fabric over the new and trace it about an inch away.
I learned with the Queen Anne that you don’t want to add more than an inch because you’ll be left with annoying excess.
I approached the seats differently in both the chairs. For the Queen Anne I simply stapled the entire cushion down to the chair itself. I’ll never be able to take it off, and hopefully won’t need to.
For the American chair, I glued the new fabric over the existing part that goes under the cushion. This had a stronger material within it to make it sturdier. I decided since the springs were not in perfect condition, this would be wiser.
To reupholster the cushion (since I refuse to do any sewing), I cut a square board we had lying around and stapled the fabric surrounding the cushion to it. Do this by laying down the fabric,
placing the cushion on top of that,
and the board over that.
Fold over the fabric and staple. Be sure to make the corners pretty.
The toughest part of this was pulling the fabric tight consistently so there wouldn’t be any lines.
The Queen Anne probably took 24 hours in all to complete, while the American was definitely half that time if not less. It turns out having less fabric and cushions makes for a much faster project. I’m still very fond of the Queen Anne and confess it to be my favorite of the two, but the American is a sweet compliment to it.
I’m especially excited with how they look in our living room. Before I had one dark, bulky recliner awkwardly sitting there. Now, the two chairs balance each other since they are made of the same material (painter’s canvas) and painted the same color, but they still keep the room interesting with their differences in shape.
That’s just how I roll. Everything needs to have some character and a story in its own unique way. Together they are a couple, the strong manly chair with its straight lines and no extra fluff, and the feminine chair with her curves and softness. Just like my Grandma and Grandpa’s chairs.
So now, while you are scouring Craigslist or garage sales for a chair to reupholster, I hope you’ll remember the two different types: Queen Anne and American wingback chairs, and consider the differences in time and difficulty, look and functionality of either.
For more DIY tutorials, click on over to the Galleries page where you will find all my past posts (be sure to find the “next page” button at the bottom for even older posts).