Chair Affair 2017: Bringing Back the Class

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Chair Affair 2017: Bringing Back the Class

Before: Simple worn elegance (oh the potential!)

After: Elegant in their simplicity

Furniture Bank’s Chair Affair is a charity event highly anticipate every year by Toronto’s design community. It allows designers, artisans, and artists the freedom to take used pieces from Furniture Bank’s own warehouse and re-envision them to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. It’s an exciting prospect- but where do you even begin?

I first find the pieces that “speak to me”- typically pieces that have pieces missing, loose joints, but wonderful bones underneath. I was looking for something no one wanted to give it a second lease at life.

You might have an easier job of this- look around your home for pieces you’ve gotten tired of, or that “look” like you’ve gotten tired of them. (Aren’t having pets great for wearing out furniture sometimes?). You could redo the whole piece as I did, or just replace a piece of it to make it new (even just new handles can make a kitchen seem new).

As I had a lovely fabric sponsor in Alendel, I wanted to let the fabric inspire both pieces, so I look through books and books of fabric until I found a few I liked, after getting larger samples (repeats and unexpected elements make this step a necessity), we narrowed it down to these two beauties. In the end, I let the end use decide the final fabric- I wanted this to be classic and appeal to many people, and the lovely fabric on the right fit that bill! If the piece is for your personal home- find something you LOVE- even if its bolder than you usually pick, trust me you’ll never tire of it. We all need that one piece that makes us happy looking at it.

A Work-In-Progress: here’s some shots of the chair frame and cushion (which was completely redone from scratch) at my upholstery shop Rewrap in downtown Toronto. Never be afraid of working with your upholsterer (especially if you have a good one, like I did), as they redo tons of pieces and may have some good ideas- or be able to bring up issues you’ll have later before they come up.

I wanted to bring the class back into these classic mid-century inspired pieces, so we used a classic neutral brown stain on both pieces and added a beautiful, unexpected accents: a deep rich blue for the chair back, inside of the side table, and the bottom of the drawer. A new subtle drawer handle in polished brass was chosen to give access to the drawer without taking away from it’s clean lines.

The end goal at my design firm is to create heirloom pieces (and interiors)- something your grandchildren wouldn’t be embarrassed to receive. Let us know if you think we succeeded!

You can find out more information about this amazing event on November 3 and purchase tickets as well as the charity Furniture Bank at the link below:

Can’t make it? You can bid on them online here:

All “After” photography was shot by Aristea Rizakos:

The fabric itself was generously provided by Alendel Fabrics: (Pssst: The fabric is Pollock in the colour “Bayou”)

Melissa Tossell is the Principal Designer at her firm Sanura Design, where they design Homes and Commercial Interiors to fit each client perfectly from design consultations to full home renovation projects to building permits and everything in between:


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