NY Good Questions: How Can I Spruce Up These Chairs?

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Dear AT,

My grandmother, a glamorous woman who lived her whole life in New York, cherished her genuine Louis XVI chairs.

When she died, the appraiser informed us that though the style was genuine Louis XVI, these were actually made in the late 1800s.

Real or not, they remind me of her and I want to fix them up.

As you can see, the bottom's coming out of the bigger of the pair, and the fabric is both dingy and outdated.

My grandmother smoked for years, so who knows what the real paint color is...

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I'm wondering how to spruce them up, but I've never done anything like this before and I don't know where to start.

How does re-upholstery work?

Do I bring my own fabric, or does the upholsterer have that?

What kinds of fabric might work? (Most of my decor leans toward the mid-century modern.)

Should I get them repainted?

Since these are heirlooms, I don't want to go overly trendy with them.

How much should I expect to pay?

And does anyone have a good upholsterer in Brooklyn? I'd love to avoid schlepping them into Manhattan.

Thanks! Debbie

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.