Plans Submitted and an Upholstery Project

Last week, our plans were finally submitted to the City of Napa. Yeaaaa!  It’s taken a long time to get to this point so we are really excited. Unlike the shed/studio we are not doing any expanding to the house, so we hope this will go quickly. More waiting to get the permits – but forward progress.

Since we bought the house, I’ve been pouring over architectural sites, furniture sites and design blogs for how best to design the interior of this mid century home. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to mid century modern design but I was instantly drawn to Danish modern furniture. A lot is made from teak and come from the era when the house was built. Alas, a particular dining room chair I had been eyeing came up for sale at an antiques store in San Francisco. 6 to be exact, with a teak table. We probably paid too much, but I just had to have those chairs! The dining area will be the main focal point when someone walks into the front door so I wanted something funky and interesting – but comfortable.

These are called either compass chairs or flap back chairs, depending on what site you go to, designed by Kai Kristiansen for SVA Mobler. All of the chairs are in great shape but the upholstery is plain – and a little smelly. I am not entirely sure if this is the original upholstery. I found an old Ebay listing from Denmark and the upholstery looks to be EXACTLY the same:

The exact date of manufacture is a mystery as well. I had thought they were mid 50’s according to this website:
I also found an image of the same chairs in black vinyl.
I am going to reupholster them myself. Crazy, you say? Ha! I have a secret weapon – I sew!
Also, it would cost an arm and a leg to have it done professionally. I have reupholstered chair seats but not one with a fabric back such as this. It doesn’t look too complicated – if I choose a solid color! There is piping where the back meets the arm that appears to have been nailed in underneath:

And there is a lot of staples under the chair back where it appears the fabric was tucked in:

From what I am learning, and from my experience deconstructing clothing, I am taking lots of pictures of the original chair, then will take pictures when I am taking the original fabric off so I don’t forget how everything went together. I can then use the original fabric as pattern pieces.

So, as if I don’t have enough to do with the new house – picking lighting, choosing kitchen appliances, furniture, sourcing antique shops, learning gardening, learning how to grow my own vegetables, becoming a wine connoisseur, I can now add upholstery to the list!

Any ideas what I should reuphoster it in? I was thinking something bright….


Welcome to The Napa Project, where I write about our five year remodel of a mid century home in Napa, California.

6 thoughts on “Plans Submitted and an Upholstery Project

  1. On my blog I have links to several fabric companies that carry excellent mid-century style upholstery, but has a particularly nice selection of bright colors right now. I’d go with something similar to what’s on them now, just more colorful.

  2. Thanks, Dana! I will check them out. Wish your store was closer. We were actually considering moving to Austin, but darn, it’s hard to leave beautiful California!

  3. Thanks so much for the info and pics! I am about to buy a set of the same fabulous chairs. They look terrific. Can you please tell me if you’ve been happy with them? My only concern is that the arms may be a bit sharp. Thanks!

  4. Have you done this reupholster? How did it go- I would love to see a picture of the new fabric…I am about to try the same project, any tips? thanks a lot!

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