The Story Of My Vintage Settee Makeover (x2)

The Story Of My Vintage Settee Makeover (x2)

Hello!  Hope you all are having a great week!  As much as I love Christmas and my Christmas makeover, I thought I would take a little holiday break today and show you my drab-to-fab settees.  Frankly, I’m super excited about them and couldn’t wait to show you!  Don’t worry though, for those of you waiting for more tutorials and details on my holiday challenge space, they are coming soon!  (Hanging Wreath tutorial here in case you missed it)

But let’s start at the beginning.  When I bought these vintage Bernhardt settees for $150 at an estate sale.

Then I tried to strip them myself.  (it did not go well)  Which led me to writing this article about DIY fails.  It was a sad day.

But I called the experts (Little Jack Horner’s if you live in the DFW area), and they fixed my mess and gave my settees the beautiful grey wash finish I was dreaming of.

Then came the difficult decision of the upholstery.  (see this post)  The world was my oyster, and I was having a hard time narrowing down ideas and finding the perfect fabric.  For several months, the settees looked like the image below, with patterns rotating in and out.  

I thought I had decided, and there were roadblocks so I started again.  I knew I wanted a wide stripe down the middle of the front (tons of great inspiration here!), and something striking on the back.  Well, the upholsterer brought them back last week, and my jaw dropped.  Finally, nearly a year after purchasing them (oy vey), my settees are here, sitting in my living room, in all their makeover glory.

Behold the front!

Behold the backs!

The animal print is cream, white, and gray so the neutral color palette adds softness and tones down the overall look.

To add a little fun, the other side of the seat cushion is the leopard fabric for when I’m feeling a little feisty.  (or the kids get something on the other side, and I haven’t washed it yet)

I’m loving all of the details of the settees with the grey-washed carvings and the barely blue linen cording.

In my revamped living room, they will be back to back, which I wrote about here.

If you love this look, you could easily recreate it as all of these fabrics are available online or in store (if you have a Cutting Corners near you).  Plus these fabrics are affordable!  Nothing here was over $25 a yard.  (I can hear you cheering)  For the front of the settees, I used Glynn linen which I have used for tons of projects and will use forever.

Side Note: I have not linked to the individual patterns because the Cutting Corners site does not have pages for each fabric.  Therefore, just type in the fabric name you are wanting in the search box, and it will pull it right up.  Use this link to search for the fabrics you are interested in. 

Front of Settees:

Glynn Linen in White

Glynn Linen in Graphite


Jefferson Linen/Cotton in Pearl

Back of Settees:

Bambi in Gray

Revamping old upholstery is seriously one of my favorite things, can you tell?  More to come on my living room soon!

Written by Grace

  • Kat
    Posted at 12:51h, 13 November Reply

    OH MY. OH MY. OH MY. I. Am. In. Love. These are amazing. Aside from the graphic black and white chair makeover … the tufted peacock blue window bench makeover … the $10 flea market chinoiserie and velvet desk chair … these might just be my favorite. Well, actually they are all my favorites in there own special way. However, I do still love my 150-year-old sofa in linen and velvet that you had redone for me!

    These are timeless, classic, and the perfect pair. Great job! When can I come see your beautiful home, and more importantly … you?!

    • Grace
      Posted at 00:12h, 14 November Reply

      Kat, thank you!! I still LOVE your sofa, too! I actually think about it from time to time, and it makes me smile. You can come see me anytime, we have some big changes underway! Hopefully, we can talk soon, and I can tell you all about it! xoxo

  • Emily
    Posted at 13:00h, 13 November Reply

    Grace you have such a great eye for picking out fabric and making it look current and classic all at the same time. I am in love with these settees!

    • Grace
      Posted at 00:13h, 14 November Reply

      Emily, thank you! That is just what I aim for, thank you for the encouragement! xoxo

  • Crista
    Posted at 14:39h, 13 November Reply

    I love them! I am in a similar situation of trying to find the *perfect* fabric for a chair I inherited from my father-in-law after he died. I love the racing stripe! Is the graphite linen sewn on top of the white or are they pieced together?

    • Grace
      Posted at 00:14h, 14 November Reply

      Crista, thank you! I LOVE when pieces are inherited like that, it is so fun to give them new life! And yes, the graphite linen is pieced together. The upholsterer did an amazing job! I am definitely too novice a seamstress to attempt this! 🙂

  • Jenny@EvolutionofStyle
    Posted at 17:23h, 13 November Reply

    OMG – this is perfection! I absolutely love it. Totally worth the year in the making. 🙂

    • Grace
      Posted at 00:15h, 14 November Reply

      Jenny, awww, thank you so much! I’ll tell my husband you said that. 😉

  • Tiffany
    Posted at 21:08h, 13 November Reply

    Grace these are seriously spectacular. I love that you didn’t play it safe – instead these are the perfect balance of bold yet not in your face. I am obsessed. I have to say they still read traditional yet in a way that is totally relevant today, beyond impressed.

    • Grace
      Posted at 00:16h, 14 November Reply

      Tiffany, thank you!! That is exactly the look I was going for, and they do feel “right”. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and a lot of thought to achieve that balance.

  • Margo
    Posted at 20:31h, 14 November Reply

    this is about the cafeteria table, but comments were disabled. Have you seen this one? Much smaller, and on sale in our local Cost Plus for less than $600, so WAY cheaper. Love these tables, am thinking of getting it for our family room.

    • Grace
      Posted at 23:43h, 19 December Reply

      Hi Margo, I have seen this! Isn’t it cool????

  • Shalene
    Posted at 22:46h, 14 November Reply

    Gorgeous, Grace! Absolutely gorgeous!

    • Grace
      Posted at 23:43h, 19 December Reply

      Thanks so much, Shalene!

  • Jen
    Posted at 17:32h, 25 November Reply

    I am so jealous of your ability to go bold with fabric choices and furniture finds. I always jaw drop at the outcome, and wish I had the guts to update one of my chairs, I just never know where to start with fabrics. Thank you for being so inspiring!

    • Grace
      Posted at 23:43h, 19 December Reply

      Awww, thanks so much, Jen! Maybe we can trade talents? 😉 xoxo, G

  • tamra
    Posted at 19:54h, 03 February Reply

    I was thinking about doing a pair of channel back old hollywood slope back chairs in the bambi gray whats your opinion on that choice? Thank you for your time

Leave a Comment