The Cherry Chester Rescue – a chesterfield story

Arthur Dent

The quote above from the creator of hitchhikers guide to the galaxy is apt for this post. This post is about traveling to the point of madness and the key characters and main cause of this temporary affliction is a pair of cherry chesterfield couches.

Here is one of the offenders:

 

Saggy, baggy, lumpy, bumpy, stabby offensive couch.

Here is the other…… Breaks my heart to look at them.

   

 We’ve probably had these couches near on 10 years now. We brought them new because hubby wanted me to have the lounge suite I’ve always loved, and well, he didn’t have much choice otherwise.

I still love these couches, but they’ve seen better days and hubby threatens them as firewood often these days. The whole substructure is sagging in the middle and the pocket springs menacingly stab your buttocks if you dare try to sit on them. Hubby likens it to being indecently assaulted and is really ashamed of them if visitors come over.

Fair enough, as I agree on all of the above statements. They are no longer comfy, I’m actually not 100% sure if they ever were comfortable…… it’s been so long and they’ve been crap for a long, long time. They really are miserable leather covered excuses for kindling.

So, fast forward until this weekend – we packed the kid up and sent her to the grandparents for the day, and attacked the first couch with all we had. It was full on warfare, staples were ripped, foam was flying, dust clouds flaring unable to settle in the great flurry of activity and determination…. Enough was enough, we were not going to live another day with these two highly offensive white elephants murmuring their insults at us any longer.

Death to the first couch. Let that be a warning to the second…

The main problem we found was that the innards of the central cushion, where were once individually pocketed springs, had become tangled in a *lady and the tramp* style spaghetti nest – hence the stabby butt issues. Honestly I CANNOT BELIEVE the state of the cushion innards. We’ve been awkwardly shuffling to get comfy on these wire nests for YEARS.

The two outer cushions fared ONLY SLIGHTLY better due to less sitting action over the years but the pocket coverings were also deteriorating due to cheap crap material and age. Let’s clarify these are repros hence why they are shit…. (apologies for the swears – again).

We have one other chesterfield who we loving call franken-couch as he is leather patched all over and very aged. But Franken-couch is the real deal. My dad brought it from a deceased estate who must’ve owned it for years as it looked well aged with great seasoned leather even back then (Pretty sure nobody died on it, just to settle any misinterpretations there).

My dad and step mum took on the caretaker role of it for quite some years (and leather patched it……), then gave it to us. Who likewise, have now owned it for a some years, and it’s still as structurally sound as the day it was built, despite the leather patching….. The number one lessen here is buy the real deal, especially if you want it to last.

We didn’t and here we are. Lets see that nest again……. mmmm delightful..

IMG_7197

Couch surgery,

resuscitation and intensive care

After the massacre, we carefully went about checking, measuring and considering our options. Of which there were not many…. We probably should have done some pre-planning and weighed up our options prior. But, truth be told, we’d picked out a wonderful new lounge suite to buy should this project not work out, so we weren’t to worried.

It sounds pretty drastic, but it’s the sad truth; plan A.2 was to buy the big new beautiful lounge suite.  Which was not that new, but a gorgeous danish mid cen modern leather corner suite – real deal and amazing condition…. and cringe worthy expensive. We’d buy that, hurt financially for a bit and either send these two disappointments to our upholster we used for the art deco chair, a real perfectionist, he takes his time in getting things right, so it could take several months. Or, banish them to a dark storage unit somewhere and think about them another day.

So, all risks mitigated we went on a quick check about the place we found all we needed stashed in our garage loft. We had some hard mattress foam that my Mum had given us as project materials and we didn’t need much else…. a bit of webbing and some study fabric, that’s it.

The foam was just over half the thickness required for each cushion so we doubled up and cut two squares per cushion cavity and increased the measurements just slightly to ensure a tight fit.We then man-handled it all into the cushion spaces and laid a doubled over sheet of needle punch fabric between the webbing and the foam so that the webbing would not eat into the foam as it had done previously. The green foam in the right hand picture below is what is left of the original foam.

To correct the sagging was easy, it was a matter of hitching the leather panels back into place and with the assistance of a couple of clamps it was glued back into place. The reason it was sagging is due to the webbing eating into the foam + netting structure the leather pieces were originally glued to, and with the most seating ‘action’ inflicted on the center cushion it wasn’t long before the integrity of the components failed.

At this stage we’d flipped it back over, tested it and it was like a whole new couch, the couch it always had aspired to be, but I don’t think EVER was. Infact, I KNOW IT NEVER WAS!!!

There were some slight tweaks to make ie.pushing the foam around for a more even distribution and better visual line in the cushion tops, addition of more sturdier webbing; just to provide a little more support to the cushioning and a little more cross bracing in the frame as it might as well have been made of match sticks for the weight and amount of twist it had when lifted…..

The foam we’ve used (old mattress foam) acts like memory foam (probably is memory foam) it is so comfortable to sit and lie on and bounces back really well when no pressure is applied.

There is no good excuse as to why we’ve waited so long to do this. No good excuse at all…

lets see that nest AGAIN – remind me of the saggy baggy stabby horror that was!

 

let’s NEVER revisit that place. It was horrible for everyone. Let’s be grateful for handy DIY skills and the now brighter more comfortable future as aspiring part-time couch potatoes! Hoorah.

To finish the couch resuscitation we pinned the base back together. Found the feet in a dark forgotten place (we took them off shortly after purchasing the couches, being fans of the low profile look…. and they hadn’t seen any use since) and put them back on. Gave it a quick clean and leather conditioning with some good ol’ dubbin beeswax and moved it back inside to swap out for the other one.

This transformation took the better part of a day and was left clamped overnight for the glue part of the project. The positive changes during the transformation were so enormous that that evening we couldn’t even sit on it’s pre-restoration twin that was still languishing in it’s sorry state in our lounge… When we made the mistake of doing so, there were many expletives, and very undesirable; somewhat hateful things said.

SO GLAD WE DID THIS.

Not only did we resuscitate a dying couch here, we rebuilt it bigger and better than it was originally new. So there is now no reason why it wouldn’t last a lifetime just like Franken-couch.

We’ve been pushed to the threshold of madness and back chasing these Chesterfield couches and we finally caught and tamed them. They were so close to being bonfire fuel…. so close.

FROM THIS…..

   
TO THIS…..

   
  
The central cushion appears a little higher than the rest due to the epic repairs we had to make, but it will condense down with all the sitting that is to come.
SUPER HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS!,!

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4 thoughts on “The Cherry Chester Rescue – a chesterfield story

  1. Well done you guys your so clever You need to go into business as restoration experts. You need to become a journalist Maria, so clever at your descriptive writing. Love yous MUM X

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