I was originally thinking of titling this post, “Reupholstered Church Pew DIY” until I remembered that my dad is a third generation upholstery tradesman.
My great-grandfather, George Constable, lived through the Great Depression. He used to find discarded pieces of furniture and use them to make ends meet. He would reupholster a couch he found for free on the side of the road, and then he would have a raffle for it. He’d sell tickets for 25 cents a piece, and once he had enough money to cover the cost of labor and materials he’d draw a ticket and someone would leave with a newly recovered couch for 25 cents.
George had 6 children: Clayton, Dale, Clyde, Orele, Helen and Marcella. He taught his sons the upholstery trade. When my grandfather, Joe, married my grandmother Helen, Clayton taught him the upholstery trade.
So then my grandfather, Joe, owned a furniture factory and all 3 of his sons (including my dad) worked in the factory doing upholstery. Grandpa Joe believed that every man should know a trade whatever he ended up doing for a living, a trade was something that he could fall back on. My dad paid for college by working as an upholsterer during the summers.
My dad never worked in upholstery when I was around, that was before my time, so sometimes I forget. Of course, I always remember when I find an upholstery project! Ha!
My husband found this small church pew at a Deseret Industries thrift store for $20. I’ve always wanted a church pew. I asked my dad to help me reupholster it when my parents came to visit this Christmas. While we worked at prying out hundreds of tiny staples, I learned that Grandpa Joe’s last job was reupholstering the pews at a church in St. Helena, California. He had his 3 sons helping him on that job when he unexpectedly died of a heart attack at the age of 55. I never met my grandpa Joe, but I like to think he’d get a kick out of us all working on this $20 church pew over Christmas break.
I believe it is original orange fabric from the 1960s or 1970s. The end pieces, back piece, and legs are solid oak and the seat and back are upholstered partial board.
I learned this next idea from an interior design book on a coffee table at my Aunt Nancy’s house in Palm Desert, California. I can’t remember the title or author of the book but the idea wasn’t mine!
A drop cloth from Home Depot, washed and dried, looks strikingly similar to raw linen. So that was what I chose to recover the pew
My oldest son (age 11) is an engineer. It’s a God-given talent that we hope to help him pursue and strengthen. If he hadn’t remembered how to put this silly thing back together, it would’ve been sitting in my house missing pieces to it. Seriously. Four adults couldn’t figure it out. Thanks to him, it’s finished! Whew!
We’re using the reupholstered church pew as our front entry bench. It’s perfect to sit on while we put on and/or remove our shoes. There’s room underneath for shoe storage baskets. We got the pineapple art at a local furniture resale store and the doorknob coat rack at Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store.
For some reason, this church pew reminds me of my blogging friend Mrs. Shecky. She has some very fun posts to check out, gorgeous photographs, and often features “pull up a seat”.
Have you ever tried an upholstery project? If so, how did it go?
Do you like thrift store shopping? If so, what was one of your favorite thrift store finds?