Friday, October 5, 2012

Sofa Restoration: Part 1

Let me begin with the back story...

We found these leather sofas on Craigslist a couple years ago, and I have to say, leather is by far the most practical thing that I have found for furniture that gets used by children!

But, when my husband mentioned that they weren't comfortable for his back a few times, I started thinking, why not sell them for a little more than I paid, (to cover the hassle of moving them) find an old sofa and redo it!

More back story...

My mother was in the upholstery business for 25 years! And I knew that I would rely on her for help.
I had always wanted to really upholster a piece on my own.

I was determined to sell my set before buying something else so I had to wait quite a while and also let some potential sofa projects go. (Good for teaching me patience!)

So finally I was ready to buy! I found this at a local used/vintage furniture store and I knew I couldn't pass it by!

The down cushion was a plus for me, love that!

The joints were a little wiggly, I was hoping that we could somehow glue them, I thought it would be a simple sofa to do, but projects have a way of growing....

It had been re-upholstered at some point, maybe the 70s?

They did a great job, the padding was good and that made it hard to want to like taking it all off. But my husband said that he would re-glue the frame and I couldn't pass up such a great offer!

I apologize for so many pictures! I took them to help me remember how to put it back together!

On the outside back, under the fabric was a layer of dacron, under that was fabric with strips of webbing under that. 

 By the way, I removed thousands of staples, and gained callouses!

The above picture shows how the seat front was hand sewn on, I'll show more on how to do this.

This is the sofa back, (fallen forward) layers of burlap, horsehair, cotton and dacron.

and here is the back with the padding removed.

 Inside on the frame I found the word "Valbrona" and "hand carved" in several places.
Valbrona seems to be a place in Italy which would make me wonder if it is Italian, but why would the words "hand carved" be in English? If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them!

So I stripped this old girl right down to the wood and springs.
The springs were in great shape and I was able to pretty much leave them alone.

 My husband put in a metal brace in the seat and welded a bracket for the back, here he is mixing epoxy glue. We decided to go with epoxy rather than hide glue which was what was used originally. The epoxy was able to do a better job filling in the gaps.

Here is one of the joints reglued. We had the back in pieces! So scary but I'm so glad for his skill!


Painting and upholstering.

(It starts to get a lot more fun from here on out!)


  1. So much work! I bet this will be a piece of furniture you have for a long time. It is very pretty and I'm sure you learned a lot about upholestery.Good job!

  2. so glad our frame is in solid shape. we just had to strip everything off the back and sides and took it down to the fabric layer over the springs on the bottom. i'll be coming back to see your installments on the upholstery process!

  3. I'm excited that I kinda know what you're talking about so far!!! I think I'm going to need to retie some of the springs in the seat and back both. But my frames seem to be in great shape.....can't wait to see the rest.