Before, During, After: The Best Part of Any Project - Learning New Skills

This isn't your average DIY; I can't give you simple step-by-step instructions or promise that you can get this done on a Saturday afternoon. After all, these chairs took me months to complete.

A few years ago, I enrolled in a just-for-fun, one-morning-a-week course in Traditional Furniture Upholstery. The idea had been at the back of my mind for a while, as something which would combine my background in fashion textiles with my burgeoning interest in interiors. Every Monday morning, I would head off to my local London community center, ready to spend two blissful hours sanding, stuffing and sewing. It didn't matter that I was the youngest person there by a good 40 years- I had a ball.

These two Victorian bedroom chairs, bought at a local antique shop for £20 each, were the fruits of my labor. Guided by my teacher, I stripped them, refinished the wood, repaired the crumbling frames, and began the laborious process of rebuilding the upholstery, layer by layer. Let me tell you- I had no idea just how much stuff goes into a piece as deceptively simple as this.

The end result is that I now have two beautiful side chairs which I'm immensely fond of, as well a useful skill for life. What DIY skill would you like to learn this year?

Images: Eleanor Büsing

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