Restyled Overman egg chair and ottoman

This Overman lounge and ottoman didn’t start out this way in the 70s.

 

Originally it was covered in tan vinyl with an overstuffed tan corduroy cushion that had a lot of button tufting.  The corduroy part was gone by the time I took the “before” photos.

Overman chairs have a base form of molded Styrofoam, which made their organic forms easy to produce and also makes them very light in weight.  They are surprisingly stable, however.

The ottoman has a bit of the corduroy left.

 

I hand stitched the new fabric to get the lines just right.  The fabric is Knoll’s Classic Boucle in Crimson.

 

See how that vertical seam is wavy ?   The seam allowances flip one way, then the other, then back again under the vinyl.  That’s why it doesn’t lie flat and smooth.

I cut the back fabric of one whole piece so there are no side seams.  (The inside is all one piece too.)

The corduroy cushion covered the armrests on the original.

 

I added foam padding on the inside of the chair to replace that of the overstuffed cushion, then did one curving seam all around the perimeter of the chair.  It is entirely hand stitched as on an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair.

Chair and ottoman are currently available at Home Anthology in Catonsville, MD.  UPDATE April 22:  Sold!  That was quick.

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13 Responses to Restyled Overman egg chair and ottoman

  1. Daniel says:

    We have a black chair and ottoman like this, in need of restoration. Its missing one of the plastic feet that fit into the star leg base. (The rest are kind of shady too). Any idea where we could find replacements for these feet? Thanks!

    • MCR says:

      I get this question a lot but unfortunately I don’t know of a source. If it were my chair, I’d consider cutting some new ones out of black rubber or neoprene.

    • Shaun Carvelli says:

      These Feet / glides will be available mid July. Feel free to contact me for further info at my email address. Please provide a photo of the feet to make sure that they are for the same style Pod chair.

      • MCR says:

        Shaun,
        Please email me at info@modernchairrestoration.com with complete ordering information when you have the feet and I’ll put it on my blog since a lot of people come here looking for them. Thanks.

      • Mod Emotions says:

        Please let me know when you have overman glides? Thanks

        • monika says:

          did you ever get the glides? I dont see them on your site. Thank you

          • MCR says:

            I have never stocked Overman feet (I don’t stock any parts). All I had was a link to someone who was selling new production feet on Etsy. Unfortunately that person isn’t selling them anymore, I guess. I went to buy some for myself and and the account was gone! I haven’t looked for other sources in awhile so maybe there is one that I don’t know about.

  2. Rick says:

    We bought a really beaten up Overman chair for $10 a few years back. The frame is stable but the vinyl is falling off. We thought about having it professionally reupholstered but we can’t afford it. I was hoping to find some videos on-line about reupholstering molded Styrofoam chairs, but I haven’t had any luck. Are there any sites that you might recommend? Also how did you apply the fabric on the back? Was it stapled to the foam first? Thanks.

    • MCR says:

      Rick,
      These originally had heavy chipboard tacking strips anchored to th foam with inch-long heavy duty staples. Regular staples pull right out of the styrofoam.

      You also can’t use conventional spray adhesive to adhere urethane foam padding to the styrofoam because it will dissolve the styro.
      There is an adhesive made for styrofoam but it doesn’t hold very well.

      I upholstered the inside of the chair first, then hand stitched back fabric to the perimeter of this.

      It’s not an easy job. Good luck!

  3. Paulina says:

    Hi!

    I have the exact Overman recliner, as well as the ottoman. I’ve stripped down the tufting and most of the padding, since it was in really bad shape. I can’t afford to have it reupholstered professionally so I thought I’d tackle it myself’. I don’t have much experience, and this chair is a funky shape to cover in fabric! I came across your post while trying to do research to help me started. My biggest struggle is I have no idea what shape/forms the fabric needs to be on such a round curvy surface, to cover it without excessive folds. Do you happen to have some scetches or templates that would give me an idea? Any advice would be a huge help. Thank You!

    • MCR says:

      Just drape it onto the chair from the bolt and smooth it in place. You will have to do a fair amount of tugging and stretching on the inside back and arms, especially where the fabric curves over the arms. You MUST use a fabric with some give to it. It doesn’t have to be a knit but it can’t be anything stiff and unyielding. Knoll Classic Boucle works well.

      You only get one chance to get the inside back fabric glued in place correctly. When you are satisfied with how it lays, fold one half back top to bottom and apply heavy duty spray adhesive to both sides in a strip about 8″ wide. Smooth the fabric onto the foam very carefully, avoiding any ripples or creases. Once it’s down, it’s hard to reposition it without tearing the foam back up with the fabric. (Side note: make sure the glue doesn’t bleed through the particular fabric you’ve chosen.)

      Repeat that process until the inside back is done. The outside back does not have to be glued in place.

      This is really not a good project for a beginner. It’s extremely painstaking and the margin for error is very slim. The hand stitching off the perimeter is also difficult at best. Good luck!

      You do have to do two big tucks on the outside back

  4. Aj says:

    Hi, I’m getting an Overman pods sofa reupholstered. The guy who was supposed to do the job is having a difficult time because it doesn’t have wood on the back and it is all foam and we chose a vinyl fabric which can’t be hot glued onto it ( I don’t think you can hot glue onto this foam anyways?). I was wondering what type of glue we should use to upholster the back if you have any suggestions. I was really looking forward to fixing my couch and now I am unsure if anyone will be able to do it properly.

    • MCR says:

      There’s a white glue by Weldbond that can be used on styrofoam. I don’t know how effective it is on vinyl, though, and you’d still have to figure out how to hold the vinyl in place until the glue sets up, which takes hours.

      Lots of Overman chairs and sofas were upholstered in vinyl. The sections were machine-sewn together then slipped onto the foam frames. I’ve been told that they were then heated to shrink the vinyl to fit..?? I don’t know if this is true. It may be that they were heated and stretched to fit exactly. Either way it would be a difficult process to replicate outside of a furniture factory. They often design machinery and devices that are specific to creating the pieces they’re producing.

      So. You can’t use spray adhesive because it will dissolve styrofoam. Hot glue will melt it. What I do is reupholster in fabric and hand sew the the seam that runs from the bottom front corner, along the arm and back, along the other arm and down to the other bottom front corner. This sounds very time-consuming but it’s actually not bad if you pin and trim the fabric first. I use heavy-duty 2″ T-pins and stick them through the fabric directly into the styrofoam, then use a ladder stitch with heavy upholstery thread. Stitches should be about 3 to the inch.

      A lot of vinyl can be hand stitched. I don’t like vinyl in general so I don’t use it, but that’s just me.

      It’s annoying to have a piece of furniture that needs reupholstering but that wasn’t made to be reupholstered the way it was done originally; i.e., without the equipment that the original factory had. It can be done, however. Hope you can find someone who is willing to do the hand stitching.

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