It’s always a challenge to revamp vintage furniture and yet still pay homage to the original design. Don’t get me wrong,..it’s a good challenge for certain. We got these mid century chairs in and they were in pretty bad shape but the lines of them were great. They were covered in dirt and finger smudged grime, paint spatters and the glue had dried out and flaked away leaving the spindles on the back loose enough for two of the chairs to come apart. Not one to be discouraged by such things, I got to thinking about refinishing these chairs and how best to approach them.
It’s a tricky road when deciding to re-visualize a piece of furniture because there are so many choices. Do I paint?, refinish to original condition?, add a padded seat? (where one was originally), or keep the rustic charm of it all showcasing all the joints and screw holes? Sometimes I drive myself crazy simply because so many ideas go through my brain. I do try to be respectful of the original design yet I also want to infuse the piece with a complimentary updated appearance. My usual steps are to write down all the options I think might work and then start editing. Turns out, I mixed the full on paint job as I liked the rustic aspect of the oak graining and the sort of “farm style” feel of the chairs. I didn’t want to change that for it might have made these chairs look like basic store bought chairs with little character. Character is a good thing, don’t want to erase that!
Next I set them aside and went to look for fabric as I decided that bringing back the padded seat would be a good idea (maybe it’s that I’m getting too old and want some cush for my tush). I found the perfect fabric as a remnant from Knoll Fabrics – a very high end design company that sells classic modern furniture as well as a line of fabrics. I got lucky with this sleek, atomic patterned fabric in grey, white and pale orange.
As I’m working on the chairs, I am taking off decades of grime and the wood is coming back to life. I always love this part – revealing the beauty again, and I work on the padded seats and once ready I start to put it all together. It’s all looking nice,…but just nice,…like somehow it was missing that one ingredient that makes it really special. Kinda like eating a run of the mill apple pie from the grocery store as opposed to grandma’s apple pie which is always so much better. You never know what grandma does, but it’s obvious she adds some extra love into her cooking and that’s what makes it special. Yes, these chairs needed that extra special something, Hmmm,……..
Eureka! The light bulb went off in my head. Let’s dip the legs in liquid rubber. Yeah,…
It’s a little kooky, a little different, but then so was grandma’s apple pie. Which is why it was good (as a matter of fact, I want a piece now,…mmm) Besides, the rubber is great protection for the lower part of the legs all the while making the chairs more updated to fit into today’s modern styles. Super,..more character! Now the chairs are fun, quirky, refreshed and ready to settle into someone’s home.
Thanks, Grandma,….for making the best pies!
Recycling Good Stuff!
(Save The planet: Make cool stuff)
Speaking of updating older items: Remember those wooden salad bowls that we all had in the 70′s. They were a staple at our family table along with the accompanying individual bowls to match. As it is with fashion, everything old is new again and so it is with wooden salad bowls. West Elm, CB2 and others are bringing the trend back. While that’s a good thing, there are tons of well preserved wooden bowls out there that can be had and updated in a way that’s much more interesting than what you get in those chain stores. We did a series of wooden salad bowls with a pop of color added to them. Now they’re updated in a great modern format and we helped saved the planet by not cutting down any more trees or throwing them into the garbage. You can do this too. If you want to know more about how to do this and what paint is food grade safe, just contact us. We’ll let you know how to do it with ease.