Channel Back Chair...

This vintage channel back chair was my favorite price (F-R-E-E) at the furniture auction last week.


It is really well built and has the softest down cushion imaginable, which my very pregnant body appreciated after a long day at the auctions.


The fabric is in bad shape though, so new upholstery is in the chair's not-so-distant future. Trouble is I can't decide whether or not to ditch the channel design. Would you believe that I couldn't find a single channel back chair in my design files? Obviously this style is not super en vogue, but can it still be considered chic?

Either way, I want the new vibe of the chair to be modern and spunky. I'm hoping for something as cool as this red-trimmed striped number from Erinn Valencich.


What say you? Rock the channel or go for a straight back?

90 comments:

Cristi said...

I have a pair of chairs that look identical(without the nailhead though) that I inherited from my grandmother. They are my favorite pieces of furniture that I have. I absolutely love everything about them except for the fabric. I too need to reupholster mine. Love that picture of the striped chair. I hadn't thought about putting a striped fabric on them. -Cristi

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

I vote to keep the channel!

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

Keep the channel! It is beautiful!

ZoeB said...

I say keep the channels . If you can t find any examples thats great it means its unusual and will be a talking point and no one will be able to copy you !

Anonymous said...

I have a funny feeling they'll be back "in" soon. They do have an appeal, but there's something about the channels that I don't like. Maybe it's the thought of what can lost or found in them and the collection of dust that can accumulate. Sorry, I don't have OCD but rather a family with severe allergies. LOL!

Jenny said...

My vote is to keep the channels. I agree with ZoeB that the chairs will be unique if you are unable to find many examples.

I can't wait to see the finished product. I know it will be gorgeous!

Katherine said...

KEEP THE CHANNELS!!!! I am an upholsterer and often see the fabulous details eliminated when pieces are redone. Keep it true to the original design, it will be a one of a kind!

Nalamienea said...

totally rock the channels! :D

Ms. Bright said...

I've seen a couple of new channel backs recently...I think they'll make a comeback. They're classic and add interest. Only trouble is that it'll affect your fabric choices...great find! I love those old down cushions, just so cozy!

MGS Photography said...

KEEP THE CHANNELS! I've actually been trying to find one in good shape for ages! Consider yourself lucky to have found one that was also free!

Anonymous said...

Tuft the back. The frame's upper inside is probably not nice enough to be showing (like the chair in the picture). The tufting is also a good DIY. The channels will cost you more in labor and fabric.
I actually love the channels, but whenever you see one at the antique store they always have dust/dirt in each of the groves. Not kid friendly.
You can always have it changed back later.

Anonymous said...

depends on the fabric choice as to whether or not I would keep the channel. also, you really do have a great eye (do I really need to say that? your blog is wonderful), the silhouette of the chair is fantastic. can't wait to see what you do with it.

Paddywack Designs said...

It would be way easier to upholster without the channel... that's always a plus...Nice chair, can't wait to see what you do!

The Urbanites said...

I recently picked one of these babies up for free too! I love the channeling and the comfy down. It needs to be reupholstered and I'm thinking of going straight backed - mostly because it wouldn't be as challenging for me to do myself. But I'm loving these chairs seen here --
http://indiefixx.com/2009/09/23/a-peek-inside-indie-home-tours-with-amanda-blake-soule-of-soule-mama/

and I think channels are a beautiful detail. Can't wait to see what you do with your lovely chair!

Emily said...

If you do something incredible with this chair, I'm going to kick myself! I saw an almost identical one at a yard sale a few weeks ago that I passed up. . . wasn't sure if I wanted to bother with the expense of reupholstering. Anyway, I would definitely keep the channel back; makes it so much more feminine. Love love the painted trim in the picture. Can't wait to see it!

Anonymous said...

Not sure how difficult it would be to do this as I'm definitely not an upholsterer, but what if you did 2 different fabrics and alternated each fabric on each channel? It sounds like it'd be a bitch to do, but I think the end result would be stunning. I think it would definitely give it a modern twist on a classic piece, which is one of my favorite design themes in my home.

Blair said...

Oh keep the channels! But that means that you can't do a stripe, unless you get really good and have each channel be a different color. Good find. I lOVE it! I would go gray with a yellow trim.....but that's for my house :)

Anonymous said...

Channel!

Lindy said...

Rock the channel! I love that chair and can't wait to see what you do with it!

pve design said...

Old world details like that are hard to find. I know you could give it a new life and make that chair sing!
pve

Anna See said...

This is going to be so much fun! I say keep the channel unless it is super complicated to re-cover.

The Tiny Homestead said...

I would keep the channels if you're having a pro do it. DIY that would be a PAIN. I would consider eliminating 2 channels to make each one a little wider. That's just my personal preference. I'm sure you will make a gorgeous choice with it.

nameisgrace said...

i think it'll depend on what fabric you choose. if you are going with a solid, keep the channel back. if you opt for a patterned fabric, then you will lose some of the pattern in the folds, so i would do straight back. both are beautiful though! can't wait to see the end result.

grace

Kendal Blanchard said...

Keep the channel. Anything you touch is en vouge!

barbara@hodge:podge said...

Keep the channels - very unique BUT if you want to change it, tuffed with buttons would be wonderful too. L-U-C-K-Y. Are you going to re-upholster yourself? If so, take lots of photos!

Sunshine said...

I say Rock the Channel!

Anonymous said...

I just had to come out of the woods when I saw you chair... I too just got one for free! I have no idea what to do with it, but Im thinking a solid "mustard" yellow...I know nothing of design so tell me your plans!
Love your blog!
Jimena, from Peru

Anonymous said...

Rock the channel!!

Dayka said...

Tock the channel! It's so interesting.

Dayka said...

oops, that should say "rock", not "tock". :)

Deb said...

If you like the channel then DO IT!

carlee said...

Can't wait to see what you do with this one! I know it's going to be amazing.

Debi said...

I have a channel back chair (also free!) that I have had for 14 years. It desperately needs reupolstering as the seat is torn but I have just tucked an old quilt top on the seat because I can't find directions for channel upolstering. So I guess since I've been holding out for so long my vote is for the channels!!

Stitchify said...

Rock it with red piping in the channeling seams!

Wendy said...

Keep the channel! Great detail that should not be lost! I think it would make the stripes look even cooler!

Sarah @ Dream In Domestic said...

Keep the channels!! I have a this type of chair in my bedroom at home and love the channels. It's what gives it character! You can see it here: http://www.dreamindomestic.com/2009/09/06/home-room/
I think because you have no similar pictures in your design files that you should do something different and keep the channels!

Anonymous said...

Rock the channel!!! I agree with the idea to alternate a solid color with a print, then paint the legs the same solid color and lacquer up those babies. Say... got any of that Chinese dragon fabric left? ;-)

Kristen said...

Jenny,

Check out this photo: http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/interview/molly-worth-of-chairloom-reuse-and-reinvent-renest-interview-097633

Very similar in shape to your chair. Recovered in Hable Construction fabric. Love it.

Also try searching google images for "channel back chair" for some inspiration. The channels are not for everyone--but they are what separates this chair from a thousand others.

central bark designs said...

Keep the channel back! Great find!

Melissa said...

Cottage Living had a channel back redone somewhere near the end of the mag-- the feature where all the editors showed a chair they re-upholstered (yes, I'm a huge dork for knowing this)-- I feel like whoever did it DID keep the channels, but I can't remember for sure. I am kind of partial to flat backs myself, though.

Jenns Three Graces said...

My mother in law always sat in one of these - sorry to say no one wanted it back in the day... it would be so pretty to recover now. Sigh...Jennifer

Abbie said...

I think the channel back is fun, although it will limit your choices in fabric design. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Beth said...

I definitely say rock the channel. It's such a great detail-but my vote changes if you end up running stripes...i feel like they would compete with the channel lines and the silhouette will lose effect.

Petertammenson said...

Hey, if the fabric is modern and spunky, I think it'd be such a fab contrast with the channel backing. It's wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Geez, I PAID $30 for a chair like this. Did I get ripped off or what?!

So of course I vote for you to keep the channels so I can see what you did. And copy it!

Kristen W. in Atlanta

fric and frac said...

I guess I am in the minority. I say lose the channels! I love the chair you are using for inspiration! Great find! I love the free finds at auctions!

VictoriaArt said...

This is a great chair, love the channeling, it's classic, but you could put a spin to it and make it only 5 wider ones, how 'bout that?
Then sink in it with baby and all!

XX
Victoria

Chelsea said...

Rock the channel! I think it adds an interesting dimension, and without it, it might be kind of boring! Can't wait to see what you decide!

Anonymous said...

I also have a channel back chair inherited from my grandmother. She always called it a barrel back chair...don't know if that helps. I love my chair and find it very comfortable. I use it at my desk and you would be amazed at how many times none of my four daughters know where I am because I am hidden behind the chair!! Wonderful! So I vote - Keep the barrel back!

Anonymous said...

I say ROCK the CHANNEL- it's so different. LGN, Your bringing CHANNEL back... open the floodgates.

Sara said...

I love the channels even though I've never seen a chair like this before. You're one to be a trendsetter! Do it!

Anonymous said...

Rock the channel Jen...

My Grandmother had 2 of those chairs...loved them.

Kathy :)

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

I say keep! It's a fun detail that will make your chair unique :).

Mary said...

Rock the channels, girl!

It's going to look so awesome when you're done---can't wait to see! : )

Viera said...

All puff and tuff is so back so definitely keep it.
You are very lucky with your auction find.
X
V

AngieB said...

rock the channel, it will work. you will find a way!

compulsively compiled said...

It seems to me that it would depend quite a bit on the fabric that you choose. A large pattern would look best without but something more simple would benefit from the extra detail. I think keep it with the channel, you'll be glad you did in the long run.

Anonymous said...

ChAnNEL!!

Katie Hendrickson said...

Rock the channel! Go to Design Sponge blog and look at the cute before & after with a similar chair redone in a Thomas Paul fabric...super cute!!

Paula said...

Keep the channel!!

Pat B. said...

Rock the channels, sista!!!!

I have a dressing table chair so similar to this. The channeled back is about 10 inches high and it is on a swivel seat. I LOVE it & have been considering what fabric to get for my little jewel. (Right now it is covered in a patterned rose-pink chenille. I will anxiously await your changes for the chair you found. I know it will be great!
Pat B.

Nicole said...

I would keep the channel back and accentuate it with a slightly shiny fabric, something in a silk mix or a polished cotton, to give it a very 40's Hollywood glamour.

Elise said...

love it !

The Retired Mama said...

Are you crazy? Don't even consider getting rid of the channels. Character and class are never out of style.

L.Duncan@home23duncanboys said...

Keep!

Karena said...

Love the stripe with red trim. I am excited that you chose this chair.

my favorite and my best said...

channel.

Julie said...

I guess I'm the oddball here....I prefer the pic you posted without the channels. Definitely an easier project. Anticipating the final masterpiece! Good Luck!

noelle regina said...

i found this channel back redone on etsy (for an arm and a leg)

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33502053 ...

i think a solid channel back would be beautiful but a print might get lost.

Amanda said...

keep the channel, with a modern fabric it will look incredible!!!

srhshaw said...

Keep the channel!

omg.muffins said...

Keep the channel! It's reminiscent of a bygone era. I'd like to see it in a solid pop of color.

VictoriaArt said...

I've tagged you!!! You've just received the Honest Scrap Award!!!
Please check my blog, link back and start spilling the thruth!

XX
Victoria

MoolyBee said...

Keep the channel. It'll be a nice textural feel even with a solid fabric, or add to any pattern you choose (I think big and splashy would be fun.)

kanishk said...

It is beautiful! Work from home India

Becky said...

Amazingly I found almost the exact same chair at a yard sale this weekend. She wanted $40 for it-I do not know how to reupholster and got too scared of the idea of taking the project on. I LOVE your blog! I love estate/yard sales and love to visualize new ideas for previously loved furniture/accessories. I'm planning on painting a darling table I picked up for $10 a while back a teal color-plan on taking my shoe in to Lowe's for them to match the color this week! Maybe I'll send you a picture.

Becky in Florida

Anonymous said...

Keep the channels, they really aren't that hard to upholster (I've done it on one inherited from my grandmother). I would suggest using a stripe or a print for the back and possibly the sides of the chair and using a coordinating solid for the front, including the channels. It's a beautiful chair.

christen said...

I am also looking for a high back wing type chair! Personally, I like the straight back, but obviously it's personal preference...

h2urHome said...

Keep the channel, its unique! Super cool find! So jealous!

Anonymous said...

Love,love,love, the chair and the channels!!! I like the feminine graceful back and the more masculine tacks all in one great chair....I think a fabric wth some sheen would be the ticket....love the baby bump. jw

Anonymous said...

you can't specify what people say silly girl; was going to just say ditch the channels, but your little editorial advisement is annoying.

Amy K said...

I wanted to share this one with you -there is a whole bunch going on here.... but it's definately modern and different!

http://www.stylehive.com/bookmark/charleston-chair-112938

Robyn said...

ohhh ROCK THE CHANNEL!

EL said...

Just wondering what fabric you ended up covering your channel back chair in - any pictures?! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

keep the channels but be careful that they do not bulk it up too much and lose the softness of the chair.

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Sherry said...

Since i am getting ready to have my grandfather's channel-backed chair recover I have been checking and rechecking your site to see what you decided on. My chair is very similar except I have wood trim on the back and arms. Update please :)

Casey said...

I'm sitting here with a channel back chair behind me that I also got for free! I love this chair and wanted to reuphoulster it myself but decided that it was WAY out of my skill level with the channels. I'm keeping them though, such character! I'm in the process of looking for a cool graphic print but will be paying someone to do this for me. Can't wait to see yours when finished!

http://bncgrimes.blogspot.com/2010/07/reading-chair.html

Jean said...

I do hope you kept the channels. I now have 3, 2 free and one purchased at Salvation Army I think for under $20--it was on a half price sale. I really want to slipcover or reupholster all 3 to match.

Anonymous said...

I vote to keep the channel back. I have one and would like another. I recently had it reupholstered in an off white heavy textured material. It is gorgeous and so very comfortable. Even the men love to sit in it

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