heirloom makeover

When Tuan and I were engaged and had found our first apartment, we needed furniture for it. Fortunately there is this abundance of furniture between both sides of my family. At the time, my folks and grandmother had moved to FLA and left a bunch of things in a giant storage room behind a check-cashing business my dad's friend owned. (Don't worry, he has moved on to the much more reputable work of poultry farming). Anyway, we got the key to the building and went one night and picked out a few things: a kitchen table I refinished, some odds and ends, and this chair that belonged to my grandmother, but was left behind when she moved. I had drooled over the chair and it's twin for some time and was thrilled to grab it. Naturally, being the oldest grand-daughter and the bossiest, I just took it without asking. It's a family chair--the one that was always pulled up to the dining room table when all the other chairs were full. The pair flanked my grandmothers ENORMOUS stereo cabinet (radio/eight track/lp).

I adored that chair and it was a loyal companion to our sofa. Several years later--when our house here was being renovated, my grandmother was packing for another move and I put dibs on the twin chair and got it! The chairs, which were made in the seventies and then recovered by my mom in the nineties are so comfortable and I love the style. Here are Johnny and Aubrey enjoying the chairs.

However, being thirty years old, the finish on these chairs had seen better days. It had a strange finish that sort of peeled off, revealing the laminated wood on the curved back. the chairs couldn't be refinished, yet they were solid wood with super well made cushions. I decided to paint and recover them, but was stumped for ideas. Caroline suggested a Heywood Wakefield look. I didn't know what she was talking about, but after googling the company, I got a bit starry eyed and in absolutely agreed with her. Unfortunately, Wal-mart doesn't carry a Heywood Wakefield colored spray paint. I chose a shade of "gold" and went home inspired.

Unfortunately this was the equivalent of painting my chairs mustard and I don't mean pretty mustard. I sprayed one chair and gagged. This was the plain yellow mustard left out on the counter for a day. Our resident painter drove by as I was painting and I just cringed with humiliation. What to do!?

Fortunately, there was some bathroom paint leftover, a khaki/beige color. I grabbed a dry brush and lightly brushed over the horrendous mustard color. It came out distressed, but pretty, and all the detail in the legs shown through. I liked it, but that meant I had to put the second chair through the entire humiliating process. I also chose to drag the chair outside and paint it on a day when there were oodles of FPC families around. I just wanted to hang a sign on the chair that said:

"I know what I'm doing! [now]
It will look good!
Don't judge me by this chair"

But I didn't. I got right to work on humiliating and redeeming the second chair.

Now with a fresh finish, the "fabric-I-loved-but-didn't-know-what-to-do-with-it" found a happy, happy home.

I hope that these chairs stick around for thirty more years of happy times.


DeeSmith said...

They turned out really great! Your children are absolutely adorable!

Gracie said...

I was just admiring those the other night and wanted to ask you about them...i love them!! I am so impressed AND inspired! After being at yall's house the other night I came home and wanted to redecorate. You are so creative and i love your style. I need to take lessons from you :)

Paula said...

That means a lot to me, Gracie! I'm looking forward to visiting your sister's blog. Thanks Mrs. DeeAnn--we're pretty smitten with them, too!

Paula said...
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shurden family said...

I love the chairs! You are so wonderfully gifted.

Beth said...

Beautiful! Wow! You are definitely a visionary.

edie said...

Absolutely beautiful! And I ain't gonna lie, I kinda liked them 'mustard' too....but they are perfection now. And the fabric!!!

Thanks so much for linking up with us!


guitta chaiban hogue said...

you did a great job, paula. and i really really like that fabric. i feel like i've seen it before in a catalog or something. very nice chairs.

Infarrantly Creative said...

That is the fabric I used for pillows on my bedding. If you get sick of the chairs pass em my way ;-)