Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Another Project.....

Just what I needed...another project! Despite still feeling rather poorly, I decided to buy a Victorian fainting sofa to restore. Isn't she a beauty?

My previous seating arrangement in my sewing studio was a small, cheap sofa from Ikea. It actually lasted around 10 years, despite it's rough treatment and lower quality build. Now that I'm no longer a teenager, I thought it was time for a piece that will last. I decided on an antique piece for several reasons:
1) I love old stuff.
2) Victorian's had wicked style
and 3) An antique piece will hold most of it's value if well treated. Unlike buying something from a big box store, if I get tired of it or it no longer works for my lifestyle, I can just resell it.

I looked at a couple Victorian sofas, but they were all just slightly too big for the space. The fainting couch is actually slightly smaller than what is there now, which has the added benefit of giving me a bit more room to move around in my rather tightly compacted studio space.

I haven't quite decided what to do to her. The current fabric is clean, but very faded (the piece was apparently kept under a bay window by it's previous owners). I've pretty much made up my mind to reupholster her in some sort of blue/teal/turquoise fabric. The part I'm stuck on is what to do with the wood. I realize it probably just looks like stained wood in the photos, but it is in fact painted brown. Who paints wood brown?! It's already brown! It really boggles the mind, and ruins the look of the lovely carving on the back. I'm torn between attempting to strip and then refinish the wood, or just painting over the current paint (maybe light grey to highlight the detailing). I'm a little worried the brown paint could be covering up some sort of damage or patch job. Any suggestions? I have to make up my mind before doing the reupholstery but I'm quite torn.

I'm fixing her myself, so I will try to post process pictures as I go along. I'm fairly competent with anything fabric related, so I'm pretty confident in my abilities to not screw this up. If I do managed to mess up, I will take it to a professional, but I'm pretty sure it will be ok...  

I'm hoping that I can end up with a one-of-a-kind Victorian piece for less than the price of buying a new sofa at Ikea. To replace my current Ikea sofa with a new one would be about $340 with tax, so I'm using that as my budget for the piece. The sofa itself was $170 (including tax), which leaves me another $170 for the restoration. Wish me luck!

That's All.


  1. Oh my gosh what a beautiful find! I'm almost certain it was reupholstered at one time as well. Brown paint, wow. That's pretty bad. You are going to give it new life, I can see this, and from your ideas it's going to transform back to an amazingly beautiful piece. Can't wait to see the progress!


    1. Thanks :) Yes, you are right about the upholstery. The last owners had it re-done at some point. I wouldn't have touched original upholstery, but as the current fabric is circa 1995 I don't feel too bad ripping it off.

  2. I see so much brown painted wood. You're right, it just boggles the mind! I suspect though that a lot of it was just a cheaper and less time consuming way to "unite"a piece made of (or repaired with) multiple types of wood. The only way to know what's under there is to take it off and see! And since other people have already altered it, you're not messing with the original finish or fabric- the possibilities are wide open. That's pretty exciting! :D
    You mentioned that the paint isn't doing the decoration any favours, but is that just the colour or has it filled in the carving? If that's the case then I vote remove it. Even if the wood is not as pretty as we hope then you can do a much nicer paint job on a clean surface. I can't wait to see what you decide to do!

    1. Yes, I think you may be right about the multiple types of wood. After peeling back some of the layers I have determined the wood was likely a lower quality to begin with and there has been some repairs done over the years. I am starting to suspect the piece may always have been painted, as there are still some small flecks from an earlier paint job. It looks like at one time it was an "antique" green. Maybe the last owners painted it brown to make it look more "wood-like"? The current paint luckily hasn't filled the carving, it's just the colour that disguises the detail on the wood work.

  3. Be still my Victorian fainting couch loving heart, that is so cool! I swear, I have wanted a VFC (yes, it's an acronym in my books :) ) since I was a child and it would be one of the first things I purchased it I had the room in my home and means to get one. I hope that your refurbishing project goes great, dear gal!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks! I've always wanted one as well. I am really excited to finally have one and be restoring it (hopefully) to it's former glory. I can't wait until it's done!


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