A French Cane Chair Using Recycled Elements

I thought I’d focus this post not so much on the how to, but the what to use in terms of recycled items. It’s not only good for the environment in terms of less landfill, but saves money, time in terms of shopping trips, packaging, and fuel going to get/having delivered the resources.

I’ve always loved this style of French cane chairs…

Gorgeous isn’t it? So when I saw this on le Bon Coin I knew I wanted it. For 35€ it was a good price too, particularly as the style above is sold in the region of $1,500…

The fabric is obviously 🤢, but the frame is solid with no woodworm and the springs are strong. I checked this when I went to buy it, but the other thing I noticed was that the seat cushion filling is a little strange. It’s sort of….crispy 🤨. Not dirty, but it has a crispy kind of sound when you press it. Weird.

So straight away I knew that this would need to be replaced. That’s ok though. As many of you who follow the blog know I like to salvage as much as I can, so I actually have some feather pads and foam from furniture that is no longer wanted for various reasons. When I first started doing up old furniture I was shocked at just how expensive these items can be, so now any furniture that may have been just taken to the tip gets a good going over to see what can be kept in the attic until I can use it.

You can see that my chair and the one I like are different in shape, which I’m ok with, but the back rest is very different. It doesn’t have wings, but I wandered if behind the padding was more cane. When I got it home I started to look under the fabric and found this…

A solid wood frame, and some strange wadding. It also reeks of cat, yuck.

So there’s no lovely rattan back to reveal, so that’s going to have to be reupholstered in a similar style, but I wanted a more modern wadding. Under the seat pad it looks like this….

The wood itself I really like and, although I had intended to give the chair the whitewashed effect of the target chair, I started to think I’d actually like to keep it as it is. The one thing that gave me pause was the idea that I already had this ottoman….

which I thought would go really well with the chair. However it’s legs were painted white, so I needed to check out if if they could be made like the chair, or if the chair would need to be made like the ottoman. Either away I wanted to bring the chair more in line with this structure on the left, so that I can put the two together like the one on the right…

I knew I’d need to have a second pad on the top of the ottoman that will match that on the chair. So let’s get to work.

After removing the fabric and wadding at the back of the chair I could see those strong springs and this interior section which is still in good shape.

Here’s the front – I’ve yet to hoover off the remainder of the wadding. As I focus on recycling it’s obvious that this is something that can be maintained.

I had to unscrew the side arms to remove the material tucked in. It was hard going as it’s a well made piece.

I disconnected the two springs holding the material that he’d the seat pad above in place and removed it, splitting the worn material open to reveal this deteriorated sponge. I shook that out and washed the remaining material; this and the internal panel was kept. It might not be pretty, but is still strong fabric. So it needed to be washed and have foam placed on top to replace the interior foam. The frame and back were hoovered really well as it was mainly in good condition.

I then used some salvaged foam from a sofa bed that we aren’t going to be using in this home. I cut a foam seat pad in half before cutting it into the shape of the backrest. The second half was going to be used on the seat.

I used fabric glue spray to attach the foam to the seat back, and added fresh wadding from an unused throw cushion that I stapled into place with its interior lining.

The remainder of that sofa bed is going to be used on other projects, so I’ll keep you updated.

The rest of the chair was covered with this knew, lavender velvet material. I also added a new seat pad from the additional back cushions of the sofa bed….

Then for the ottoman.

I made another pad from the sofa bed cushion and sewed one side of a zip along its length. Then I sanded the legs and stained them with this stain and wax, left it two hours then buffed it into a shine.

I took material sufficient to cover the original ottoman and placed it on top of it. Then I put the new pad on top and pushed into both ends of the other side of the zip, then further pinned it along its length. Undoing the zip entirely, I then sewed the second half to the still loose material.

Reattaching the two sides of the zip to make sure the pad was placed correctly I stapled the material on the four sides of the ottoman with one staple each side. After removing the zip again I then stapled the fabric to the ottoman and covered the base in the contrasting fabric.

I’d already added grey piping to the pads, but now I finished the project with some gold, nail-head trim.

It has a very different feel to the target chair, but it goes very well with the room. My daughters love it. Its positioning in t window gives it a perfect place to read and dream 🥰.

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La Maison du Sacre Coeur

Hi, I'm a SAHM who's moved to France with my husband and two daughters. My blog focuses on our family life & decorating our 18th century village house here. I'm scouring brocantes to find furniture to revive as well as little special somethings for our home. I love DIY and craft - sewing, painting, whatever. If any of these things interest you I'd love for you to stay and wander through the site - especially if you want to tell me what you think! God bless, Andrea

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