Upholstery Copycat: The Godfrey Chair

The Godfrey Chair by Jonathon Adler is one of my favorite little Mid Century inspired lounge chairs. It retails at $1695, a rather large chunk of change I’d say.

Let me show you how you can create it for less. You don’t have to have the exact chair frame to get this look. There are any number of castoff chairs that will suffice. You’ll need three elements:
1.) a modern shape
2.) the right proportions
3.) similar light blue fabric

I found three vintage chairs that would fit the bill for a fraction of the cost.
The first chair is from this morning’s ApartmentTherapy’s Chicago Scavenger. It’s available from Craigslist for $145.00.
A bit heftier than the Adler frame, it would give you the same look as The Godfrey. I particularly like the flared out arms.

The next candidate is a chair in my living room. Purchased at Midland Antique Mall for $35.00, if done in that shade of blue, it would give off a similar vibe as The Godfrey. Its size and proportion are right in line with TG, but the frame is straight, unlike the soft curve of our model chair. With the blue fabric and buttons, it could easily be a stand in.

This Goodwill chair from my garage would come the closest in shape and style. It’s a bit large with the tall back, and sits a bit lower to the ground due to the short legs. The button configuration and blue fabric would make this chair a darn nice facsimile to our goal.

The big question is: How much would it cost to reupholster any three of these chairs to look like The Godfrey?

Craigslist chair: $145.00
Orange chair: $35.00
Vinyl Goodwill chair: $39.00

Assuming each chair will need new foam and dacron batting, we need to factor in these costs:

Seat foam: 3″-4″ thick, approximately 22″ x 22″ $25.00
Back foam: 2″-3″ thick, approximately 22″ x 24″ $25.00
Dacron wrap for both cushions $15.00
Spray adhesive $ 8.00
Button kit or pay to have them made $ 9.00
Cording $ 5.00
Staples $ 4.00
Fabric, approximately 7 yards @$30.00 per yard $210.00

Materials TOTAL: $301.00
Don’t pay more than $40.00 for a chair. 40.00

For a rounded off grand total of about $350.00, you can get this look. That’s a savings of over $1000.00. Not bad, not bad at all!
Granted, you have to have some DIY upholstery know how, as well as suitable tools for the job.
But, if you have the desire and the chair, you can do this, I know you can.

As far as that dreamy light blue or aqua fabric, I found two options for you.

The first find is a light blue or aqua woven polyester available through Mood Fabrics.
It retails for $25.00 a yard and is available online at Mood Fabrics. It’s a flat weave, not very interesting texturally, but it is the right color.

This one is much more interesting, looks to be the right color, but comes with a higher price tag at $49.00 per yard. It’s available to the trade through Camira Fabrics, a UK based company that, surprisingly and miraculously has a warehouse right here in Indianapolis. You can imagine my surprise to discover this little treasure. I’ll be making a sojourn to their warehouse next week.

So, there you go.
And just so you know, if you find yourself in a fit of upholstering self-doubt, email me. I’ve coached many a DIY upholsterers through their projects by email and photographs. It’s what I do and I love it.

As one last bit of inspiration, here’s a photo of the Rocket Chair I did back in 2009 for my Mid Century buddy, Morgen. It’s over the top, but just look at the transformation process.

Posted in chair, chairs, diy, furniture, how-to, midcentury modern, modern, modhomeecteacher, tufting, tutorials, Uncategorized, upholstery | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Response to Upholstery Copycat: The Godfrey Chair

  1. Janet says:

    I might also add the legs give it that distinctive look. But Shelly, you have a source for those tapered replacement legs, don’t you? A sweet look that Mod Home Ec will bring to life!