To begin with, we knew we had to find chairs that we could repair/refinish to stay within our budget. Thankfully, we live near of one of the best second hand stores ever, across the bridge in Lincoln Heights over at Saint Vincent de Paul. We found a couple of old chairs (made in NY) with good bones and lines for $20/chair. It was a steal, but there was still some work that needed to be done, primarily reupholstering the seat and replacing the deteriorating foam. After scouring the fabric district in Downtown LA, we found some great tweed over at Mood Fabrics, along with some dense upholstery foam.
If you've never reupholstered a chair, its shockingly simple, and there are a ton of resources online including a really helpful video by ReadyMade Magazine. With a few cuts of fabric and some upholstery staples, we were done in no time. Final tally: $45/chair. Success!
More pics of the project on our flickr page.