Barley Twist chair

The Barley Twist pattern has been popular throughout furniture history.  Quite popular in English furniture it managed to travel just as much as the English did.

This style of furniture is not sweet or dainty–not to me anyway.  In my mind I see it more masculine, so when I decided to paint a Barley Twist chair- I kept coming back to darker colours.

This chair has great details:

IMG_1104 Unfortunately, I didn’t get a before shot of this chair.  It was a mess.  Somebody had done a very poor attempt at upholstery.  There was tape and glue as well as staples, pins and nails and two layers of fabric.IMG_1105 This is the Barley Twist.  You can also see this in ornamental details of furniture but the original design was structural- in legs and stretchers.IMG_1106 The chair has nice carving details and is in really good condition.IMG_1107

This is a carving on the chair back.  Quite nice!

I actually debated whether I should paint this chair.  I originally was going to leave the wood but then I found a great fabric that inspired the look of the whole chair.

IMG_1110 So I painted with Amsterdam Green.  This is a colour only available in Europe, but I did hear a rumour that Annie Sloan was bringing it back into production.  It is really super.  Darker than Graphite and has great coverage.  It is also a greenish bluish colour that can appear different depending on the lighting and the surroundings.IMG_1111 Some of these photos are a little dark, sorry about that- these were taken with my phone!IMG_1112 IMG_1113 I think the Barley Twist works well with such a dark colour.  I couldn’t really see a pink or a white working here.IMG_1114I lightly distressed to highlight some of the details.

And then I started with the fabric!

IMG_1116 Plaid!!  I love plaid- back to my Scottish roots!  First I did the back, then added the padding and then stapled down the front of the chair back.IMG_1117 IMG_1118 I really think the plaid works with this style of chair- even if it is a bit unexpected.IMG_1119

The carvings and twists on the chair are heavy enough to visually support the strength of the fabric design.

And this is as far as I got today.  So hopefully tomorrow I will have finished tacking down the fabric.  I did buy upholstery pins but now I am not sure I will use them- I think a really nice trim will work better….we will see!


4 thoughts on “Barley Twist chair

  1. gabrielle

    Just ran across this post – I love that ascp colour, and would have many uses for it in my stern Scots-built stone farmhouse here in Ontario Canada. Plaid is also appealing for it’s non-girly aesthetic. I have been wanting to redo a chair in plaid, but was toying with the idea of setting it on its bias (diagonally) to get away from the strict vertical/horizontal lines interferring with some of the more rounded features of the chair.

    Obviously this will make the fabric more stretchy, and possibly distort easily when working with it. What are your thoughts? Should I sew in some interfacing to stabilize it? Maybe iron on a fuseable type? I have not done a lot of upholstery, but I am a sewer and am comfortable working with fabric.

    1. Gabrielle, lucky you to have a farmhouse. I am from Ottawa originally and seem to be missing home at the moment……As for the fabric. The plaid was not any easy fabric to work with. It is 100% wool and absolutely no stretch- and just a slight stretch on the bias. I think you are probably correct about laying it on the bias- if there is even something slightly off it will show, but perhaps your interface idea would work- my first thought would be the fused so that it would take the stretch away completely and you are just pulling taught and stapling. Try and find a proper upholstery staple remover so that if you are not happy with the look then you can remove the staples quite easily with no damage to the fabric. good luck.

      1. gabrielle

        Thanks for your input – and I will find a proper staple remover; my hand is not strong due to injury, and every little tool helps! Lucky farmhouse, yes, but it has it’s downside: we’ve spent all our money just repairing the structure, which is how I’ve come to furnishing it with cast-off furniture :-). Just this morning my vacuum died, it’s final breath still sucking in eruptions of 40 yr. old dust x-(. But, to feed the longings of home: it’s an average snowy winter, Montreal had another burst pipe around the McGill campus that flooded the street, and here in gloomy Guelph, we have sunshine and blue skies! Love your blog; since vacuum day is cancelled I will peruse some back issues (and also look for used vacuums). Chin up, Canada will be here when you make your way back!

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