Alterations & Special Projects


Here are some jobs that were unusual, the required some extra work and creativity.

For the purposes of this article, Alterations shall be defined as anything that involves changes to the furniture frame. Restyling shall be defined as any changes to the cover and or padding that does not involve any changes, cutting, or adding anything to the frame.

Rebuilding a Recliner

Type Before After Pictures Slide Show
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1. Lazyboy Recliner Alteration

McCain recliner befor

Morgan side chair finished

Click here to see the 19 pictures

Click here to see the 1 minute slide show

Story of the Above Recliner Alteration 

This big old Lazyboy wingback recliner was rebuilt into this small trim recliner that is just the right size for a 12 year.

 For this recliner, the woman came to us as kind of a last resort. The client had a 39 year old special needs daughter in a care facility. The daughter had the body of a 12 year old. The mom had looked all over and tried endlessly to find a chair that would fit her daughter, but with no success. She could find full size chairs and children's chairs, but nothing in-between. The adult furniture was too big for her, and yet children's furniture was too small.

  At first I didn't know if I could help her, but I listened to her desperate cry for help about what she wanted for her daughter. As we talked I remembered that in the past I had found an old lazyboy recliner that I had recovered and custom padded to fit my wife's body. Over the years I've reupholstered countless LazyBoy recliners and know them very well. As the client told me about her daughters needs and her efforts to find a chair, I began to think about the possibililty of rebuilding a LazyBoy recliner to fit her daughter. The LazyBoy is the only recliner I know of that uses recliner mechanisms that are connected by the wood frame of the recliner. As we talked, I thought, maybe......It just might work.

   First we had to find a used LazyBoy recliner. In the weeks that followed we discussed ideas, and eventually we found the large man's wingchair recliner, shown in the picture. Not idea, but useable. The more I investigated and thought about it, the more the idea seemed possible

    To rebuild the frame we needed to get the measurements of the daughter. I met the mom at the daughter's room and got the measurements that I needed to have the chair fit the daughter. As I rebuilt the recliner and began reupholstering it, I met with the client each time I took it out to the daughter's place several times to have her try the chair. During each fitting we determined how much padding to put each section, where to put the seam in the backrest so that is would hit the daughter's neck and shoulders in just the right place. We made any necessary adjustments at each fitting.

   As the project neared completion, the client decided that she wanted a seat belt on the chair to hold the daughter in place (so she wouldn't fall out). We used a standard seat belt from an auto parts store. A second amentity we added was a pocket (for suppies, books, etc.) on the top back of the headrest.

   The last picture of the slideshow shows the finished chair as delivered for the daughter  to enjoy. 



Altering a Wingback Chair

Type Before After Pictures Slide Show
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2. Wing Back Chair Alteration and Reupholstery

Roth wing chair before

Roth wing chair after


Click here to see the 6 minute slideshow

This wing chair had belonged to the client's father, but the clien't wife hated it. Besides being worn out, it had a box pleated skirt, no loose seat cushion, the chair leaned back too much to be comfortable, and the distance between the wings was so small that the wings pressed against the shoulders of whoever sat in the chair. In short, the chair look baaadd and it was terribly uncomfortable. But it was client's dad's chair. Could it be salvaged?

This what we did. After stripping it to the frame we:

  • cut the wings off and repositioned them to be wider apart to allow more room for comfort.

  • Put all new webbing and burlap supports.

  • Retied the seat and back coil springs.

  • replaced most of the uncomfortable padding with high quality deluxe foam in the backrest, arms, and seat cushion.

  • Replaced the solid seat with a reversible loose cushion

  • Lengthened the back legs, which tilted the whole chair to a more comfortable angle. We had the client come the shop and sit in the chair until we determined the best height for the back legs.

  • Custom fitted the back to the client, placing foam lumbar support and placing the buttons to pull in the back to fit the client's back.

  • Replaced the box pleated skirt with a tailored skirt.

  • Recovered the old footstool to match.

When the client and his wife saw the finished chair, they both loved it. I wonder if the hubby will ever get to sit in his dad's chair?


Altering a 3-Cushion Sofa

Type Before After Pictures Slide Show
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3. Three Cushion Sofa Alteration



Click here to see the 191 pictures

Click here to see the 7 minute slideshow

When the owner of this sofa came to us she we merely expecting to get the sofa recovered. In talkin with her (as I normally do) I learned that while she loved her sofa, she didn't like the wood basket arms or the wooden wings or the attached pillows on the backrests. She prefered to have the legs show instead of having the skirt. She also wished it was more comfortable. During the reupholstery process the wooden basked arms were replaced with comfortable slanted padded arms and the wooden wings were removed. In addition the backrests were restyled as well as having lumbar support added.



Altering a 6-Cushion Sofa

Type Before After Pictures Slide Show
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4. Six Cushion Sofa Alteration



Click here to see the 15 pictures

Click here to see the 1 minute slideshow

This old blue sofa had a very sturdy frame that had been built by a woodworker, who was not a upholstered furniture maker. Although the frame was well-built frame, it was not built with the proper measurements and proportions to make it comfortable. It just needed some alterations to make it more suitable. The old backrest was too short and too straight up. So we added more height to the backrest, and  altered it to give a more comfortable slant. We also added zigzag springs to the back to make it more comfortable.