a pair of chairs.

The other day I saw an ad on craigslist for this pair of chairs (this is the seller’s picture that was with the ad).


Here is how my thought process went.  “Hey, those could be kind of fabulous!  Then again, maybe they are permanently ugly.  I know paint can do wonders, but is the shape all wrong?  And what are those weird pointy things sticking out of the back?  Will they come off?  And what is under those cushions?  Even though the upholstery is white, it still manages to be all wrong with that 80’s texture and sheen.  What will it take to re-fab these?  Should I?  or shouldn’t I?”

Then I did some research on pinterest and the closest I came to a similar chair that looked good was this chair from The Cross Decor & Design (although it appears to no longer be available).

wing back cane chair

And it’s not painted.  Mine will be painted.  But it still gave me a hint of what these chairs could look like.

After exchanging a couple of texts with the seller and finding out that yes, those back cushions are removable and there is cane beneath them, I decided to take a chance on these chairs.  Mr. Q and I drove out to pick them up on a frigid evening.  Upon seeing the chairs in person, I was still not sure about them.  They weren’t as nice as the cane back chair I painted last year that now resides in the Q Branch, but I had to remind myself that I wasn’t sure about that chair at first either.  The price was right, and I was there already, so I handed over the cash and threw them in the truck.

Here is my ‘before’ picture of one chair.

chair before

From the angle of my shot you can see that it has some pretty cabriole legs in front, and some nice curves on the arm supports that weren’t as apparent in the craigslist photo.  That back cushion is still just freaking me out though!  Not to mention the weird pointy details, which as it turns out are made of metal.

chair metal acornThose are definitely coming off!

Then there are the tacky arm sleeves that are velcroed in place.

chair arm covers

Gotta go!

Here is the chair with those items removed.

chair better alreadyAhhhhh, getting better already.  I also found upholstered arms under those funky sleeves, and started ripping one off.  There are about a million staples holding it in place though, so that little process is going to take some patience.

I threw one of my H & M pillows on the chair just to get a feel for how it would look without back cushions.

chair with pillow

Not bad, right?  Some paint and some new fabric on the seat cushions are going to do wonders for these chairs.

By the way, after I showed these chairs to Meggan, she sent me this.

fixer upper chairs

Turns out that Joanna Gaines used them in the a recent episode of Fixer Upper, the Tire Swing House.  I hadn’t even noticed!  Well, if cane wing back chairs are good enough for Joanna, they are good enough for me!

Now I just have to decide, should I go for chippy with Miss Mustard Seed milk paint, or solid with chalk paint?

17 thoughts on “a pair of chairs.

  1. Solid Paint on these would be my choice. With all the texture in the caned backs that is all the “business” I would want. Love the chairs and think they will be spectacular. I know you don’t need advice on colors but if they were mine, I would paint them a medium grey chosen to compliment whatever pillows I wanted to use.


    1. Good point about the chairs already having a lot of texture in the caning. Chippyness might push them over the top. To be honest, I immediately thought creamy white for these chairs and never even thought about any other color. But, grey, like Annie Sloan’s French Linen, would be nice. You’ve got me thinking outside the white box now!


  2. I’m not going to offer any color advice but had to say I love your find. Top marks for being able to picture something better than the original. We’ll be looking at cane backed chairs a little differently in the future.


  3. Lately I have been obsessed with these chairs! It’s amazing what some paint and new fabric will do! We’ve done several of them for the shop and always go from “not sure about this one” to “oh my word, it turned out SO awesome!”
    Your chairs are going to be beautiful!


  4. I would go with chalk paint, and maybe do an ivory color with a dry brush in a slightly darker color over and a little bit of dark wax lightly. They are beautiful chairs and I just love the lines as well as the caning!


  5. I am voting chalk paint in a creamy white with a little distressing on the wood. Not a bunch since there is a lot going on with the caning in the wings. But some creamy white chalkpaint would give you a way of changing the color scheme with different pillows if you decide to use them in another room, or with the seasons.


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