How A Family Heirloom Became a Contemporary Treasure
We’ve all inherited family heirlooms that don’t quite fit with our tastes. But how can you get rid of your great grandfather’s desk or a 19th-century sofa that traveled across the ocean with your ancestors? Giving up a piece of furniture with family history is basically taboo, but it’s hard to live with something you don’t love, even if it has sentimental value.
Whether your hand-me-down needs to be refinished or restored, painted or reupholstered, Revitaliste works with a network of professional artisans to make the process simple. Read on to hear why one client decided to restore her grandmother’s Louis-style arm chair.
“As my grandma grew into her 90s and we moved her into an assisted living community, she naturally wasn’t able to bring all of her furniture with her. To me, this chair was so beautiful,” shares our client. “Despite the fabric not being my particular taste, it seemed such a shame to not find a place for it. I intended to reupholster it for years, and just never got around to it.”
With its strong shape and intricate detailing, the chair was an amazing piece to have at home, but the original upholstery felt dated. By working with Revitaliste, reupholstering the old chair didn’t feel like such a chore. “The team at Revitaliste are pros, have great creative ideas and feedback, and are patient with my slow decision-making,” our client remarks.
The main challenge? Our client wanted to update the chair’s style while maintaining its vintage charm, which felt linked to memories of her grandmother’s elegant home and taste.
“I have vivid memories of the places my grandmother lived growing up. She was always a very put together woman — her nails were always painted and she’d have on earrings and a necklace. Her homes were no different, accessorized with pieces she’d picked up throughout her worldly travels.”
Not one to shy away from mixing patterns and styles, our client’s chosen fabric — a tropical philodendron leaf print — reflects a number of things. Despite its trendiness in decor today, the pattern is a classic nod to the sophisticated glamour of the Beverly Hills Hotel and of her grandmother’s own style. As an LA transplant originally from NYC, our client also wanted the chair to reflect certain parts of her own life.
“There’s something so LA about the big tropical leaf print that feels very West Coast to me. It’s like a perfect combination of the memories of my grandmother and my life right now.”
The bold fabric may not be the choice everyone would make in conserving the original charm of the piece, but for Julie, it was the ideal mix of contemporary style and sentimental value.
“I think there’s something kind of regal about the chair, and I feel that way about my grandmother,” our client says. “She would wear these winter coats with big fur collars and was just such a classy lady. To me it’s like the big back of this chair mirrors this big fur collar that would envelope her!”
The chair’s vintage silhouette combined with a bit of Cali-chic flair mixes both generations’ tastes and allows Julie to hold on to a piece of her family history.
“It’s a fantastic way to have a part my grandma in my home. I wear a lot of my grandmother’s jewelry and have some of her art, and this is just another piece of her that I get to have with me.”
Want to reupholster your heirloom chair?
We’d be delighted to help you modernize it. Get the process started with an upholstery quote HERE.
all photos by dustin walker