Sometimes I think it may seem as though I decide to makeover a room and then I just whip it up in no time. That’s not really how it goes. I usually think about it for a long time, and then I try to work up the gumption to get ‘er done. That can take awhile. I’ve been wanting to perk up my dining room since last winter. I knew I wanted new chairs, and as I mentioned last week, I specifically wanted french cane back chairs. I’ve been watching craigslist for them since last spring. I finally saw a set that I liked, but not only were they expensive ($75 each), they were also all the way out in Mound, MN. Still, I decided they were too good to pass up.
I recruited my sister to drive out there with me. It should have been about a 50 minute drive, but since we missed our turn off, it ended up taking more like an hour and 15 minutes to get there. But, it was worth the drive. These chairs are perfect.
First of all, they are really well made and very sturdy. The cane is in perfect condition.
They have really nice proportions and they are very comfortable.
And best of all, they have seats that can be recovered with just some stapling skills. No fancy reupholstery required.
The piping around the edge tricked me at first. I thought maybe these were non-removable seats. So I was thrilled when I turned them over and saw the screws for removing them.
The only thing wrong with these chairs was their shiny orange finish and unappealing fabric and those are easy to fix!
After removing the seats, I used my favorite cheating method to paint the cane. Spray paint!
Painting cane with a brush can take forever. So instead, I spray paint it first. In this case I used Rust-Oleum in Heirloom White with a satin finish. Once I had the cane fully covered in the spray paint, I let it dry. Then I went back over it with the paint I was using on the rest of the chair. In this case, Annie Sloan’s Old White. Now the white matches, and I only needed one lightly brushed coat on the cane.
The rest of the chair took two coats. Once the paint was dry, I sanded by hand to distress. Since these chairs were for me, I could distress to my heart’s content. I like my pieces to look a little beat up. Once sanded, I vacuumed off the dust and waxed with Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture wax. Let me take a minute here to talk about using a brush to wax.
I think I’ve already established that I am kind of a cheap skate. I don’t like to spend much on tools and supplies (well, on almost anything really except trips to Europe and good hair products) and this Miss Mustard Seed large wax brush was priced over $30. I will tell you that I probably never would have ended up with it except for the Round Barn’s going out of business sale. It was half price, so I decided to splurge on it. Yes, I purchased this brush myself, this is not a sponsored post in any way.
And I’ll tell you what, this brush was worth every penny (and would have been worth paying full price for actually) when it came time to wax these chairs. It got in all the nooks and crannies easily, it maneuvered around all of the curves and bends, it even worked beautifully on the caning. If you do a lot of waxing and you don’t already have one of these, get one, stat! So much easier than trying to use a rag to wax these chairs.
I debated a couple of different options for seat upholstery. I thought about using drop cloth fabric and stenciling it with a grain sack like I did on these folding chairs.
I also thought about using one of my many European stencils instead of the grain sack stripe. But since I already have a European style stencil on some other pieces that are in going in the room, I felt like that would be overkill. In the end, I just went with authentic grain sacks. And I LOVE them!
I purchased 4 of these grain sacks from 3:17 Vintage in Afton. Each one is a little different and they are exactly what I wanted on the chairs. Well … wait a minute … to be honest, exactly what I wanted was a fabulous European grain sack with an awesome blue grain sack stripe down the middle. But have you priced those? For the price of just one of those, I was able to get 4 plain old mid-western grain sacks and still have some change left over. And if I had splurged on the European version, I probably would have never let anyone sit in the chairs. This way I’m perfectly fine with using them, and if they get spilled on, no problem! They are pre-stained!
I have to admit, Ken the handyman totally rolled his eyes when he saw these. He simply can not fathom why I would want stained old grain sacks on my dining room chairs!
But in case you missed it the first time I said it, I LOVE how these turned out, stained grain sacks and all!
I had set myself some lofty goals for this past weekend. I wanted to finish the chairs, plus paint two dressers. I didn’t quite get there. The chairs are all painted, sanded and waxed, but I still need to upholster the seats on the other three. It won’t take long, but they weren’t quite ready for this post. As for the rest, one dresser is completely finished and needs a photo shoot, the 2nd dresser is painted, but needs to be sanded and waxed. So, I have my work cut out for me this coming week.
I’m also going to keep moving on the dining room makeover. Things are starting to come together, more ideas are percolating, and I hope to share more on that with you soon.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, my sister and I blew off our visit to Oronoco Gold Rush. There was a heat advisory here on Saturday. Gold Rush can be overwhelmingly hot even on a cooler day. The combination of no shade, lots of pavement and lots of people results in heat overload. And let’s not even think about the condition of those porta-potties in that heat!