trash picking season

March 24th, 2011

trash picked chair

There is still snow on the ground (and in the forecast) but it is officially spring and trash picking season has begun! woohoo! thrifty may be good, but free is better. I picked up this beauty from the curb in a frozen rain the other night. And I might have spent all my good trash karma on it (trash picking is my thoroughly unglamorous hobby). I mean seriously, who throws good danish chairs away?

danish side chair

I’m thinking about recovering it with oil cloth, because my children always seem to be covered in peanut butter. All the cool kids are coming out with oil cloth lines these days too. Naomi Ito has a beautiful one, of course, but it might be too matchy matchy with my pillows (which I was going to link to, but I guess I never posted about them-oh well). I know Anna Maria Horner had some little folks oil cloth a while back. Any other good laminated fabric you know of? Not too girly, not too theme-y. Something just right.

Posted in my home, thrift.

30 Responses to trash picking season

  1. beth lemon says:

    Some of Lizzy House’s fabric came out in a laminated version. It’s from the Red Letter Day line but I don’t know where to find it. You should ask her. She is very nice.

    Awesome chair. Seriously.

  2. meg says:

    this is totally boring, but still kinda awesome.

  3. Ashley says:

    I won’t be too much help since I can’t offer any fabric options, but I just love your chair!! Free is awesome!

    Any chance you saw the “Portlandia” skit on freegans? Hilarious.

    • meg says:

      it was hilarious–and slightly embarrassing for a trash picker like myself. The last bit where she pulls out the koala from her “stew” made laugh and gag at the same time.

  4. You can also laminate your own fabric – you can buy laminate and just adhere it to the fabric of your choice with an iron. It works quite well. That way you can pick whatever you want!

  5. Jessica says:

    That is a heinous outrage that someone would throw away that chair. But also fantastic news for you- I’m jealous.

  6. pb says:

    that is a hell of a street find! good on ya!

  7. Heather says:

    Fantastic find. Free beats it all. Not sure on the fabric. I have a hard time with commitment.

  8. mixette says:

    I was going to suggest the iron-on laminate too! I got some at JoAnns and it irons right on and looks good, but I haven’t given it any kind of durability test. That silver sparkly bass-boat vinyl could look pretty cool on the seat (also at JoAnns).

  9. beki says:

    awesome! i’m jealous :)

  10. Lia says:

    Sweet find. I’d be stalking that house if I were you. What a dumb dumb.

  11. Katherine says:

    You can buy the fabric iron vinyl at fabric stores. Some have it by the bolt (hancocks) and some have it is packages. It works rather well. I just recovered my high chair for the second bambino. It was a thrift store pick up and the old vinyl was cracked and quite ugly.

  12. Sophie says:

    That chair is a real find! I might have to try this trash collecting kharma thing….

  13. Jo says:

    Fantastic chair – good score! And the thing I love about recovering simple, well designed chairs is that you can re-do it when you get sick of the fabric, or when the kids grow out of the sticky finger phase :-)

    I know this is not oilcloth, but I thought the chair would look fabulous covered in something from the gorgeous Australian brand ‘Cloth’. In case you haven’t heard of it here’s a link:

    When I grow up (ie: have some money to spare!) I want to cover my 2 timber armed armchairs in one from her range.

  14. What a score. Sorry I can’t be of help with the fabric, but I had to say your title made me laugh. When I lived in Boston near universities, all the leases turned over on Sept. 1, and we actually had a trash-picking party once b/c that was the day anything and everything was left out on the curb. My entire apartment there was furnished with trash picks. None as lovely as this, however. I look forward to seeing it reincarnated.

  15. Sascha says:


    I’ve totally used that laminate iron on stuff and it really works. I’m sure something like JoAnn’s has is. I bought it at my equivalent kind of craft/fabric joint called Beverly’s. I think it was with the interfacing and stuff. I like that the laminate is really thin and the fabric will easily wrap around when upholstering especially around the curvier parts of the chair.

  16. teri says:

    ridiculous!!!!! i can’t quite believe your luck! that is a beauty, indeed!!!

  17. Di says:

    Excellent find!! We are huge fans of picking things up from the side of the road here, as well as disposing of surplus things that way. So much so that our 3.5yo son talks about it. Hard to imagine why someone would dispose of some of this great chair though.

  18. Antoinette says:

    I’ve seen some laminated cottons at my local indie fabric shop, but the DIY lamination sounds even better. Good luck — can’t wait to see the end result.

  19. Holly says:

    That is some fine trash picking karma. I once found an old school desk–you know , the kind with the seat attached to the desk–in the trash when Julian was a baby and we were out on a walk. I immediately turned around with him in the stroller and ran for home to get the car so we could go take it home. It is still in our basement waiting to be refinished–and I think this will be its year. That is probably the best thing I have found trash-side…but there is always lots out there to be had for the shameless and fearless. Nice find, Meg. And I am partial to that oilcloth Laura used for her table–so pretty.

  20. Terri says:

    Oh my goodness… I love that chair! Who throws that kind of thing out??? But, lucky for you they did!

  21. julia says:

    love the chair- i found one in our alley last fall and swore that if i didn’t recover it by december, i’d get rid of it. i gave myself an extension, but i don’t know what to use for the seat padding. right now it’s got what looks like layers of puffy batting, but i want to replace it because a squirrel probably peed on it. got any ideas?

  22. Angela says:

    Love me some good oilcloth. My husband bought some for me (through a link I sent him ;) from Purl Soho for christmas. They have a great selection.

  23. molly says:

    AMH did have some nifty oil cloth; I’ve a yard that I love. IKEA also had some a few weeks back, not too dear, not too hard on the eyes.

    Um, would it be wrong to suggest a Chair Recovering Week? Because I’ve got one that’s an eyesore, and it’s just the seat that needs redoing, but I’ve no idea about the redoing bit.

    Oh, and your find is one swell keeper. Those lines…

  24. Rebecca says:

    I’m a picker, too! A little dodgy in NYC, but I have my moments.

  25. robyn says:

    g to the gorgeous chair – just finished a bit of oilcloth covering here due to similar peanut butter and weetbix fashions. blogged my before & after here: and use echino which i just adore… try here for good range

    tip – when stapling, work from the middle out – quite some stretch in the oilcloth….