New Life for 100 Year Old Furniture

Someone in my family has been storing/using this furniture set since my Great-Grandmother moved into a nursing home & left it to my Uncle over 30 years ago.  It is a solid maple couch and 2 chairs.  It is in such good shape & so old that no one ever wanted to get rid of it.

My Uncle moved to Germany & could not take it.  It had terribly lumpy black cushions, but we used it in our play room as kids.  It was fine for playing Nintendo or building forts. It had more than 15 happy years with Legos, Barbies, Brio Trains, and Cheerios in the basement.

When my Uncle moved back to the states he ended up in Texas, so he still didn’t want to move it.  He gifted it to me as a newly-wed, which, of course meant that it still lived with my mom because we did not have a place for it in our little apartment.  My mom, though, had bought a big farm house & decided to make new cushions for it & actually use it in a public room.  She made some very nice simple white cushions that were more attractive & placed the couch in the den/TV room where it lived quietly for only 2 or 3 years.

Then I moved into my first house and finally took the set with me.  It was not living room quality so I put it in my attic studio/kid room.  The couch was used a little but mostly just being stored again since the kids didn’t really spend much time up there.  It spent 9 hot summers and cold winters in the attic where the chairs sadly remained uncushioned.

Now that we are in a new, bigger house we the whole set regularly.  We are blessed with a living room and a “play room” which is more like a family room.  It consists of toys, games, TV, and art desks for the kids.  I originally made up some simple cushions for the chairs that did not match anything including the sofa.  It worked but was not great.  If you sat on the sofa for too long your butt would fall asleep.  If you sat on the chairs, you had to continually adjust the back cushions to the right height.

The whole combination needed a new life if they were to continue on as our main furniture in the room.  With Mom moving again, she gifted us with her 30 year old 7′ sofa for our Living Room which left the other couch (that I recovered several years ago) with a question mark hanging over it.  Wouldn’t you know, the seat cushions from it fit the 100 year old couch perfectly!  No kidding.  That settled it.  Those cushions moved to the maple set, the old living room couch went bye-bye, the old white butt-numbing seat cushion became the couch back, and the couch back (cut in half) became the chair backs.  Comfort all around, but more mismatched than ever!

I have a huge stash of fabric samples from a furniture store.  I picked out a pile of yellow golds, brick reds, and sage greens.  I sewed for 2 days straight.  What do you think now?

One comment

  1. So glad the tradition continues, marvelous!

    Grandmother told us the story behind that maple set…it had big, wide arms, so that grandpa could set his beer down on them, that was the deciding factor in buying them!

    The old black cushions replaced the original ones, I think I got them from Linens n Things when I was in college. The suspension underneath was worn out, my dad put in old window shutters, I replaced them with a flat board…no exactly you comfort item, but hey, if you can survive eating Ramen noodles 5 days a week, and free chips and salsa at Chi Chi' s the other 2 days, the couch comfort was no big deal. 😉

    So great to see the set in the family still. May they on live another 100 years.

    Great Job Julie!


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