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What’s the best way to revive an old designer chair?

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The question

I recently discovered that some old, worn-out chairs in my basement were designed by Walter Nugent. I would like to reupholster them in leather, but don't want to diminish their value. Any advice?

The answer

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Wow, what a find! Even though Nugent's chairs were made in Canada, they have a Swedish seventies look that, I must admit, is not one I love, although I do have respect for their vintage allure.

Having said that, I can't even imagine keeping someone else's dirty, worn-out unholstery unless the fabric itself has value, as is often the case with tapestry. Here, though, new leather upholstery would be ideal for this type of chair, as you wouldn't have to worry about a pattern competing with its strong profile. I would also buff the wooden frame before you dress it up.

Classics such as Nugent chairs can complement any type of decor, as their design is iconic and timeless. And it's fabulous that you are making the effort to restore and re-energize them. By doing so, you will be creating a kind of new style!

Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace's new e-book, Dee Dee's Rules, is available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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