Chairs, Chairs, Chairs
It’s like the old real estate joke; what are the three most important elements of real estate – location, location, location. Chairs, chairs, chairs – why are chairs so ridiculously expensive in this country? I mean you can get a decent second hand table for 300 shekels, but a chair, one chair, will cost you easily that much. Which is why I was so thrilled when I say online 10 chairs for 450. I’ll take that I thought, great bargain, wooden chairs with a padded seat.
Haha, not so fast, I got them home only to realize they were European height. No the worst scenario as I am not super tall, however, our table and other chairs are the American height, which we felt were more comfortable.
I solved this problem by adding extra height to the seat panel under the seat cushion – which I had to removed anyway. (Believe it or not it took me awhile to think of that – although now it seems so obvious). At first I purchased a pressed wood panel (Hebrew word mistach), around 75 shekels, and we cut the panels ourselves. (and by we I mean my husband). But that proved to be seriously time consuming (as in it was not getting done), so I went to a carpenter in Jerusalem. (aside here about Nagariah’s or carpenters in Israel. Sometimes they are much less expensive then you realize. Check out the TIPS PAGE for more on this.)
I shopped around a bit and found one who would make the seat panels for 35 shekels, which was a good price. I glued the pieces together with wood glue. And then after I put the cushions back onto the top I realized I was going to need to put foam around the sides now that they were higher. Of course I had already purchased the fabric, so now I had to go back to Tel Aviv and buy a thin foam roll for about 80 shekels, cut strips, and spray glued it onto the sides so that the wood would not be exposed to the fabric or someone’s legs.
The fabric I got in Tel Aviv in the fabric district, which is at the end of Nachalot Binyamin Street, near the Carmel Shuk. Amazing selection of fabrics and trims. The basic price for a meter of decorator fabric is 55 shekels. That doesn’t mean you can’t pay more or less, it is just an average price for decorator fabric.
As I was going with the new green look in my livingroom, which is also part of my dining room, I wanted to go with something that had green in it. But,like in most families, interior decorating is a fine balance between wants. And although it turned out that Mark likes green, he didn’t like that green, and not that much of it.
So I went with a more muted color pallet that brought out the browns of our new combo living room, one piece from my house, one piece from yours.
Taking the fabric off the seats was time consuming but the fabric was really dirty and I did not want to just upholster over that, which would have been way easier, as there were, no kidding, an average of 100 staples per cushion to remove. This was the most time consuming part.
Stretching the fabric was a two part job with my sister in law graciously helping me and yelling “clear!” – very Grey’s Anatomy, if anyone’s fingers got to close to the staple gun. You have to pull it really tightly.
I had purchased the staple gun in America and brought it with me, but once I ran out of staples I quickly realized that the size of the staples here is not the same as the size of the staples in Israel, so I purchased a new one. There are plenty all over. I saw one in ACE for about 50 shekels, but it was hard to get a lot of answers about how that one would work, and replacement parts etc. I ended up getting a more expensive one, 130 shekels, as it seemed like it was good quality, I know I will be using it and the clerk at the local Tambour outfit is becoming a good source of information. (slowly but surely).
I also stained the wood, because the color was a little too light for the rest of the dining room/living room area, with all our dark wood.
I sanded a bit first, but that wasn’t really enough. I have found that if the wood isn’t taking the stain well enough I add a bit of brown and/or black oil based paint, depending on how dark I want the wood. This seems to work well. You rag it on and then you wipe it off, but not too much. The wiping makes nice wood like streaks and leaves the wood darker. Don’t use a paint brush!
In the end the chairs did come out great, and I do love them.
Would I do it again? Well now that I know what I do, maybe. It was definitely
a lot of work. On the other hand I do have nice chairs now at a reasonable price.
450 for the chairs
250 for 5 meters of fabric. (You need a little less then 1/2 meter per chair)
80 Shekels for the side foam (I have a lot left over, but you have to buy a roll)
The stain(65), paint(50), wood glue (60), spray glue 50-60) and staple gun(120) are all things I will continue to use but still you have to calculate that in.