Ahh, this is the final planned installment chronicling my love and devotion of Angela’s Painted Cottage, a vacation rental in the mountains of North Carolina that we stayed at a few weeks ago.   I can’t promise I’ll never talk about it again though.  Read part 1 The Painted Cottage, part 2 Good Bones vs Accessories, and part 3 A Case Study on Case Goods.

Today I want to focus on her upholstered pieces.  In my opinion, upholstered pieces are the scariest to deal with because they get the most wear, set the tone for the room and usually cost the most money.  Buying upholstered pieces can be daunting but, a necessary evil {although I think it’s extremely fun!}.  But, if you remember that just about anything can be slipcovered it will open up a whole world of options.

Like that parson’s chair up there.  I peeked underneath the slipcover to find what I think was a red flowered pattern.  I should have taken a photo to show you the before.  Angela found some inexpensive seersucker fabric and had a local workroom make the slipcovers for her.

This piece is a doozy, my family scrunched up the pillows because that’s how we roll and my dumputer is trying to steal the show but, you get the idea, the sofa is nice right? It’s a Pottery Barn sofa.  Legend has it that Angela found it for $10.  I had to find out if that was an urban myth or real, if there was truly hope for us mere mortals to find a sofa for $10.  It is true. Here’s Angela::

The upstairs sofa is from Pottery Barn that I found at a garage sale.  It was missing back cushions, but I didn’t worry about it since I was getting a slipcover made for it and would just have cushions made as well. The upstairs sofa as well as all the chairs are from a workroom in Waynesville, Superior Finish,.  They do really great work at a reasonable price

I also asked Angela about the chair with my favorite slipcover, the blue houndstooth with all the detail.  She gave lots of information so I figured I’d just quote her again, less work for me. I asked her about the cost of all of the slipcovers and if she felt like it was worth the trouble and cost, here’s her response, after the photo.

There is NO question that it was worth it!  I have washed the slipcovers many times, which ensures the house always looks fresh for guests.  I like knowing that most surfaces in the house are easily washable without calling in a special cleaning service.  Even the slipcovers in a non-traditional slipcover fabric are washable on a gentle cycle since I washed all fabrics before the slipcovers were made.  I couldn’t find my itemized receipt for the sofa and slipcovered chairs, but in my log book I wrote the total for all slipcovers was $900.  The sofa was probably $500 including the new back cushions and the chair slipcovers were about $130 each.  Depending on what you spend on the piece to begin with and what fabric is chosen for the slipcover, the final product of chair and fabric and labor could very well add up to the price of a brand new mid-priced chair.  The total for the PB sofa is $760–but just try to get a brand new slipcovered PB sofa for that price! But if you find a thrift piece and inexpensive or clearance fabric then you could come in way below a new piece.

And the absolute best reason for doing it custom–you get exactly what you want and a totally unique piece.  Don’t you think that every room needs one loner chair that is unique, different, and special? This is easy to do when thrifting, thinking about all the great vintage and antique chairs out there.  I found the tufted chair at Tobacco Barn years ago and had Superior Finish recover it with that houndstooth fabric (that I found at Vertigo in their remnants pile–the store I told you about in downtown Hazelwood).  We had it at our house but then as I changed my direction at home, it was sent to the cottage where I love it even more… Oh, that is the other good thing about slipping or recovering chairs–it only takes a little yardage, which one can easily find discounted at fabric stores.  And, I love that a person can have control choosing what kind of trim, details (like the wooden buttons) go on a custom piece.  This was important to me at the cottage because I wanted it to be unique and stand out from the other rentals in the area that are standard issue brown leather, woodsy plaid, and black bear themed.  I wanted it to feel thought-out and loved.

Angela,thanks so much for sharing your secrets, I think the information is invaluable and there is a plethora of knowledge just in that one paragraph.  Also, thank you for being open with the cost of your slipcovers.  I think they were well worth the money, you got exactly the look you were after at a better price and you can wash everything yourself without having to pay for cleaning.

The paint on the tufted chair at the cottage inspired me to paint my own chair.  Now I love it.

And, don’t forget, you CAN make your own custom slipcovers.  Remember my slipcover party I had?  We made my white slips in a few hours.  For detailed information be sure to check out the Lazy Girl’s Guide to Slipcovering.  My friend Pink from Pink and Polka Dot wrote the ebook.  She is the slipcover whisperer and every Friday she features all sorts of beautiful slipcovers.

PS, I’d love to find someone local, here in Charlotte who makes slipcovers.  I have a chair similar to the one up there with the blue houndstooth slip and I want a detailed slipcover for it.  Something that would drive me crazy to try to sew myself.  Anyone out there making slipcovers round these parts?  I’d especially love to find someone who has a blog or online presence.


  1. Robin Gallagher says

    I see you have a beautiful chocolate lab and beautiful white slipcovers – how do you deal with all that dog hair? We have a chocolate lab who leaves giant hairballs wherever he goes particularly on furniture and carpets. There is also some dog “ooze” issues that get left behind as well…..

  2. I wash the slipcovers about once every two weeks or so. It does get really hairy right there where you see him lay on the floor, by the sofa. So I use a lint brush too.

  3. Just this past week, I planted a bug in my MIL ear abouting a little sewing adventure for her – MY white slipcovers! I told her about the ebook and we plan to use it. Thanks for all the inspiration and tips!
    Good luck finding a semstress!

  4. ooh! i just bought a fabric covered foot stool thingy at a yard sale this weekend and trying to figure out how to recover it… i’m going to have to dig through the archives and see if you’ve taught us how to somewhere on here! =)

  5. I couldn’t have worked on a pair of chairs for Max’s room without seeing Pink’s tutorial!! She is good…

  6. Funky Junk Interiors says

    While I adore the look, I have issues with an off white chair in my front room. My son sneaks food in there all the time so it is what it is. Granted, I suppose the other furniture gets the same treatment, however it’s just not quite as obvious, which reduces my need-to-clean stress.

    I’d love to see you do an update on how you’re finding living with the white slipcovers yourself!


  7. I have just bought the cotton duck fabric to slipcover a sofa and two chairs and I was wondering if you washed yours before you made your slipcovers? The lady that is making mine looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told her I was using white and that I wanted it to be a bit loose so I wouldn’t have to worry about it drawing up when I wash it. I know it will be difficult to wash all of that fabric, but I’m concerned she might not make it loose enough. She made my moms and it is so fitted it really doesn’t even look like a slipcover. If you washed yours did you cut it any to make it easier to wash? Mine is on 10yd bolts. Thanks a bunch!


      100% wash in hot water and dry on high heat. You want it to do its shrinking now. I cut mine into 10 yard lengths to wash so you should be good if you can fit it all in your washer.

      If you wash it first, she really doesn’t need to make it loose unless you like that look.
      Ignore that woman.

  8. Well darn! I sure wish we lived closer! I have a couple of chairs on my blog that I have made slipcovers for that look almost exactly like that houndstooth one! – – Just different fabric! Just gotta convince that Army that we need to move to NC!

  9. Lauren@SimplyLKJ says

    While I don’t have many slipcovered pieces in my home currently…I do adore them. I am truly blessed to have a very sweet talented lady who does wonders with upholstery close by.

  10. you’re so awesome! i wish i could sew some fancy schmancy detailed slips for you, but i’m lazy. sorry. that sofa is lookin’ fab! and your painted chair looks great. i’m still waiting for the finished table and chairs? can’t wait to see ’em. heart you -k

  11. I’m so interested in the idea of a “workroom”. Lately I’ve been devouring episodes of Sarah’s House, and she seems to use a “workroom” for all her upholstering projects too. How does one find a “workroom”? Esp. one that’ll do a good job for a fair price!

    • anyone?

      I used to think only designers could use workrooms, I need some edjumakation–I have no idea!

      • There is a lady here I found who has her own slipcover business. i found her word of mouth. I have spoken with her and she had pictures (plus pieces in her own home) for me to see. I am going to have her do some slips for my breakfast nook, I think, and one for a bedroom chair. Currently she is going to cover my sunroom cushions and pillows.

        Also, in the big city near me (I live in a little, rural town), there is an upholstery fabric store that has a *workroom*. They do draperies, upholstery and slips. I would assume you might have to buy yoru fabric there though. They do have some great bargain fabric, along with higher end stuff too.


        • I think it depends on which workroom you work with. I’ve worked with some in Houston that are strictly for designers (and, uh, painters). Or, there are others that work with both, like the one in Waynesville, where they also do retail business in fabric sales–use theirs or supply your own. Word of mouth is also valuable. Hope you find someone!

        • True, big fabric stores do have workrooms that anyone can use here in NC too. The only workroom I’ve used is 1502 fabrics in Thomasville {a wonderful, WONDERFUL store}. But most of the time I just hot glue.

  12. Thank you again!!! Man, I’m a little wordsy in those quotes… I so wish I had the talent to make my own slipcovers, but Susie did a fantastic job for me. This has been a wonderful series, Nester, thank you!

    Okay, I can’t wait, are you done with the dining room furniture painting? Just the hutch or more? Let us know! :)

  13. Do you think there is some sort of overall kharmic force that dictates who finds the Pottery Barn furniture at garage sales for $10?

    • absolutely :]

      but, how many of us would venture to buy a sofa without the back cushions we would probably all decide that would be too much trouble.

  14. I am moving not-so-far from you in November, and I bet between the two of us we could convince Amy to come down for a visit and slipcover-making-trip!

  15. I live in Charlotte close to uptown and I my mom has had some pieces done at H& F Reupholstering @ 1913 Cleveland Ave. (down behind 300 East off of East Blvd. in Dilworth) They don’t have a website but their number is 704-375-3945. I am headed there this week to have them give me a quote on a slipcover for a wing back chair.

  16. I have three small children and am curious how you do the white slip covered sofa’s?
    Mine seem to get so dirty.
    Can you wash slip covers?
    should i just not let my children in the house?
    i hear that the BLACK is coming back in style…should i slip cover in black?
    I’m only asking because you are so knowledgeable.
    let me pour a mimosa while i wait for you to email me back.

  17. p.s. i know a girl that has a cousin who’s step sisters grandmother might still live in your neck of the woods and might be able to help you with some custom slip covers.
    let me check….

  18. Nester, you soooooo inspire me. Not only do you do cooool things in your own home, but you take me all over the place looking at everybody else’s cool stuff. See my most recent blog post (first one in 18 months) and see how many things you recognize that you inspired me with. Oh, and there’s nothing on the windows and walls yet…forgive me…I’m getting there. BUT, I love my white slipcover. It’s casual but fancy. Is that possible?

  19. First of all, hello! I’m impressed and inspired by everything you have done–both for your home and for your blog!

    I’m going to have to show my husband all these posts on white slipcovers and chocolate labs. We have two Beagles (who shed like they’re paid in biscuits to do it) and he is flat out opposed to slipcover anything. He is convinced it will spend more time in the wash than it will on the sofa. He wants leather. Of course.

    Again, great job on your home and blog. :)

  20. check out our blog at http://www.onlinefabricstore.com for several posts from fellow blogger, Elizabeth, on slipcovers. Hope it proves helpful. Love you blog, btw.


  21. I didn’t know that you are in Charlotte! We are in Wilmington and visited Charlotte a couple of weeks ago (LOVED it!)

    Planning a trip to the mountains soon, I am going to look into staying at the Painted Cottage :)

  22. I adore the fabric on your pillows. Do you know what or where you purchased the fabric?

  23. I love finding used pieces and having them recovered. I do this in my own home and my client’s homes. The thrill of the hunt and the joy of having a truly unique piece is the reward (not to mention the price!!). I have blogged on this subject many times!!

  24. I’m excited to read all of your comments about workrooms! I own and operate a workroom called “Suzanne’s Custom Sewing for the Home”, located in Greensboro, NC (about 90 minutes from Charlotte). I work with either the designer or directly with the homeowner. My services cover just about every “soft” furnishing for your home that you can think of. I would be happy to put any of you in touch with a workroom in Charlotte. If you’re interested, you can email me at handgrd(at)hotmail(dot)com.

  25. Nester…I have had great results with High Point Upholstrey in Cornelius 704-896-6833..a Christian owned company, they are extremely reasonable. If you ever need to repair furniture..this guy in Corneilus, Dennis, fixed my great grandmother’s side table from 1910….it was in pieces and he put it back together..you never knew it was broken…he has done other work for me and does restoration, repair, touch-up and custom finishing…his shop is the furniture guy at 704-458-9268. Hope that helps:)

  26. Do you make slipcovers? If so, please email me, I need two made. Thanks

    • Rachael,
      Did you ever get a response to your question (do they make slipcovers)? I also need some made.
      Lee Ann

Leave a Reply to eileen Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.