(n.) Cabindo: A condo on a lake, among tall old trees. Half cabin, half condo. My first home. This is a running journal of the renovations, projects, and general shoestring budget craziness.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Quick Refinishing of Old Chairs

One can never have enough seating. Who knows when 20 people might be over and all need to sit at the same time? Perhaps someone will have a toast or a speech? (My brother is particularly good at this mid-party)
Some people may be on the porch or squooshed together 4-on-a-3-seater-couch: but they will all be sat.
It's good to be the king have chairs.
I am of the mindset that they don't need to match, just to each be interesting and work with the other chairs in the room. To this point; I have revived many a lonely chair and added it to my living/dining/office/bed room.

My basic steps for quick and easy (1 hour or less) refinishing are as follows:

1. Scrub the bejeezus out of it.
- It may be in better shape under 30 years of dirt/tar than you thought, and can possibly stop here.
Also, nobody likes surprise spiders.

2. Tighten screws or otherwise shore up any wiggles/structural integrity issues.
- We drink enough wine in my house and don't need any help being unsteady.

3. Remove anything that rhymes with 'schmynul'.
- I've tried vinyl paint with NO success. Just get rid of it. 

4. Use Restore a Finish to renew all wood surfaces.
- Do this outside only and scrub hard. Start with steel wool and finish with a gentile paper towel wipe over the surface in the direction of the grain.
- I like leaving wood unpainted and beautiful. It doesn't age the piece if it is in good condition and any reupholstery is modern enough to elevate it out of grandma's basement.

$9 at Home Depot

 5. Fix or hide any cosmetically damaged parts.
- A favorite way to do this is to paint any damaged areas black (bilaterally), if it makes sense to do so. This masks the damaged area while sometimes highlighting a section of architectural interest. (see pic below for good example) 

6. Recover the seat with a modern fabric to bring the whole thing up to date.
- Just flip and staple on the new fabric.
- Scotch guard BEFORE reattaching cushion. Otherwise, you'll leave a snotty looking film on the wood that's less than a joy to remove.

All things done here: refinished wood, painted damaged caning, bright modern fabric.

I've seen this type of chair everywhere recently for hundreds of dollars a piece,
but this was a freebee from a former roommate who lacked vision/chair hording tendencies.
Advantage=hoarder Lindsay

As you can see in the background above, there is a black chair with a seat covered in floral mustardy fabric, which picks up on the tones and pattern of the chair in the foreground.
The background chair got painted all black because it was not beautiful old hardwood, but the black paint ties in with the painted caning on the front chair, and makes the two pieces live easily together in the same space.

Using similar style and technique on various pieces gives them an air of consistency, as was seen in an earlier post about restoring an antique arts and crafts chair.

So even though I love me some patterns; I stick to common colors and themes and thus the pieces relate to each other.
I also strive to give each patterned statement chair enough breathing room, and keep all other large fabric swaths in the area solid and calm (couches, ottomans, etc in dark blues or greys), so no one has any visual seizures and each fancy piece can stand out instead of compete.


1 comment:

  1. I enjoy the occasional surprise spider.