Kicking Off Our Search for the South’s Ugliest Heirlooms!

January 4, 2013 | By | Comments (3)

In the good, Southern spirit of preserving the past, we are on the hunt for the South’s ugliest heirlooms –old chairs, dressers, armoires, tables, or sofas that are in dire need of a makeover. The ugliest piece wins a furniture-makeover design from Furbish Studio‘s Jamie Meares and $500 to make it happen! Check out for more details on entering. To kick-off the contest and get you thinking about what’s in your attic, we’ve thrown open our attics and closets and pulled out our own ugliest heirlooms!


Collage by: Kate Phillips

1. “”I found this French-style chair on Craigslist for $60. I love the shape, but the fabric is a pink moire–so 1980s! I plan to reupholster it in a block printed floral like Peter Dunham’s Udaipar in Lilac. I’m going to leave the wood natural though, I love it as-is!”  — Executive Editor, Jessica Thuston

2. “I love the classic shape of my wingback chairs, but I have to get rid of the burgundy upholstery. Inspired this chair that I found on Pinterest, I’m going to reupholster the chairs in a timeless ivory fabric and line the edges with brass tacks.” — Production Assistant, Ashley Williams

3. “Cane chairs are my favorite piece of furniture to makeover. I’m planning to recover this one in my current fabric obsession—Navy Fleur Chinoise Fabric from Caitlin Wilson Textiles.” — Assistant Features Editor, Caroline McKenzie

4. “I inherited these living room-ready slipper chairs from my parents. I love them! Unfortunately, so does my dog who chewed up one of the corners. Luckily, I’ve been saving up to reupholster them with a colorful and more youthful zigzag patterned fabric.” — Studio Assistant, Caroline Murphy Cunningham

5. “I loved the lines of this 1970s-style chair. I’m picturing it refinished in a shiny black or white lacquer and recovered with a bold graphic print. Then, it will go in my home office. I need a fun place to do my calligraphy!” — Production Manager, Mary Elizabeth Davis

6. “I found these needlepoint chairs at an antique store for only $225. My friends told me they had seen similar ones for over $1000. I’m going to get rid of the fussy needlepoint and reupholster it (elegant chocolate mohair for the back and side and chocolate leather for the seat cushion) for a look that’s much more me.” — Assistant Art Director, Tim Kilgore

zoeblog2 Kicking Off Our Search for the Souths Ugliest Heirlooms!

Collage by: Kate Phillips

7. “I inherited my grandmother’s sofa. It was once the center of holiday gatherings, now it sits in my entryway waiting to be recovered in a more durable and more current fabric!” — Photo Archivist, Amanda Abbett

8. “This was my mother’s, and boy did she love that fabric in the 80s.  I’ve had it covered with a slipcover for years, which I hate. I’d really like to recover the sofa for our front room. My sister has the matching couch in Jackson. We love them both because they are so well made. But, two houses into our family’s existence, it’s time for us to get some grown up fabric!” — Associate Features Editor, Erin Shaw Street

9. “This chair and love seat were handed down to my husband. They’ve been used, abused, and neglected, and now relegated to the garage. It’s on an odd style, but I can’t help think with some cool, funky fabric they could fit into our Austin bungalow.”  — Senior Travel Editor, Paula Disbrowe

10. “I found this  Hickory Chair Sheraton sofa at an estate sale for $150. It’s so well-made that I know I’ll have it forever and I love the size. My feet easily reach the ground when I’m sitting on it, which is rare for me. I like bright colors so I’ve been debating about upholstering it in either a yellow cotton velvet or maybe a more subdued seafoam cotton velvet.” — Assistant Homes Editor, Zoë Gowen

zoeblog3 Kicking Off Our Search for the Souths Ugliest Heirlooms!

Collage by: Kate Phillips

11. “I can’t get rid of this imposing armoire. It’s been in my family for generations and it’s my husband’s makeshift closet! But, I would like to update it so that it doesn’t look so huge and oak-y. I’m thinking about a Swedish-inspired look: soft gray paint in a matte finish and antiquing the mirrors.” — Director, Editorial Licensing, Katie Morrow

12. “I constantly troll Craigslist looking for bargains. I found this dresser for only $15! I’m going to paint it a slate shade and then use it as a nightstand/dresser between the twin beds in my guest room,” Assistant Features Editor, Caroline McKenzie,

13. “I bought this sturdy table from my neighbors when they were moving out of town for only $15. I love that its sides can be folded up or down if you need more space. After a  coat of white paint, my little table will be a go-anywhere piece for my house.” —  Office Manager, Nellah McGough

Now that you’ve seen our staff’s attic treasures, send us yours! Check out to enter and read all the official contest details.


  1. Anna Robertson

    Who won this contest? Where will the winner posted?

    March 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm
  2. Cindy Gill

    I agree with Phyllis! Don’t touch that beauty.

    January 6, 2013 at 7:22 am
  3. phyllis

    #11 Katie!!! nooo! girl, we’ve gotta talk!

    January 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm

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