Bentwood cane chair

When I was at my favorite antique/consignment store last weekend picking up chairs for the brewery, there was a deliciously retro rocking chair for sale that was definitely in my price range at $15. It had lovely curvy lines. Cane back and seat. And even though the cane seat is ripped and needs replacing, I knew the chair was something awesome. But I left without it. And kicked myself for that all week, especially after I saw  the same one in this design post. I couldn’t get the picture to embed, but if you want to take a look, it’s the 21st picture in the post (I counted two vertical pictures side-by-side as one photo for my counting purposes).

I thought surely at that price the lovely rocker would be gone in no time flat. So imagine my great joy when I went back this weekend and there was my rocker! I snatched it up at once.

Cane chair 2

Isn’t it awesome? I think it’s pretty spectacular. And for $15? Steal. Most of the chairs like it I found with a quick Google search turned up chairs selling for $70-$150.

WEB 2-2-13 cane chair 3

As you can see the cane seat is in rough shape. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to try to reinforce it from underneath or if I’ll remove the cane seat and build a cushion instead.

WEB 2-2-13 cane chair 4

Initially I thought I would paint it a bright color like red. I think it would make a great accent piece for our living room. But my husband said he thinks it should remain stained wood. If we keep it stained wood I will sand the current stain down and re-stain it to get rid of the dings and scratches that are most visible. I think we’ll wait to do anything with it for a month or two to give it time to percolate in our brains so we make the right decision.

WEB 2-2-13 cane chair 5

And if we can’t save the cane seat, well, the rest of the chair has great bones. I am sure it will look beautiful no matter what we do with it!

P.S. Yep, you got it, my bookshelves are not styled. We have so many books (and I like it that way), there’s no room for styling!

Primping the passageway… or, the hallway gets some paint

Spent much of yesterday painting the hallway in our apartment. The painting bug had bitten me real bad. After spending about four hours getting hallway painted, the painting urge has thankfully subsided and I can focus on things that actually need doing, like unpacking those last two boxes in the kitchen, finishing up the living room and maybe making some money freelancing. Money. Huh. What a thought.

Anywho, our entire apartment is painted white with gray/brown trim. I don’t understand the trim color at all (it’s not a nice color… probably was a cheap mess up color at the hardware store or something) and one of the things I plan to do to this apartment is paint the trim white. But that is a colossal undertaking and will probably take the better part of the time Shawn and I live here. Unless of course the painting bug bites me again, which it will in a week or so.

So here’s the hallway before, complete with Frog Tape and Pele the cat. The white wasn’t so terrible except that there’s big scuff marks everywhere. Also, many of the walls don’t have any texturing on them at all. It’s just the dry wall, and the seams are quite visible. Which is frustrating because even after I painted, the walls still look sort of “blah.”

This is one of the many reasons I needed to paint the walls.

Here’s after two coats of “Babbling Brook” paint by Olympic. It’s the premium variety so it doesn’t have any VOCs. Which I appreciate because I’d prefer not to get the cancer. Also, you may notice the box in the kitchen is still there. Yep, haven’t unpacked it yet. And in the bottom corner of the photo, all our winter hats and scarves. Yes, it’s still sort of winter here in southwest Montana. And we’re REAL sick of it. There were flurries this morning when Shawn and I took a walk to the coffee shop two blocks away (which is dangerous… we patronize it too much!).

I like the blue, but it doesn’t look so hot with the gray/brown trim. If I was just going to live with the weird trim color before, I can’t now because it bugs me too much.

And here’s a little hallway vignette complete with the pretty mirror my grandmother gave me and my ratty winter coat (it gets too much use).

Sitting pretty

Several weeks I ago, I picked up four chairs at a consignment store for a reasonable price. The catch: the chairs were in pretty rough condition, having likely never had any love. The stain was chipped and wearing off, and the cushions (that’s a misnomer — the chair seats have no real cushion) have seen far better days. But the chairs have nice curves and beautiful carved roses on the back rest.

So this weekend I refurbished one of the four. The other three will follow, likely one chair at a time. First, I sanded the remaining stain (there wasn’t much) off the chair. I used 150-grit sandpaper and because the stain was in such shabby shape, sanding was a breeze. After sanding, I wiped away the excess dirt and grime with a wet rag.

Since the chairs haven’t been well-cared for, I applied several coats of wood conditioner to moisturize the wood. I used MinWax. Although the pre-stain wood conditioner says it works best when followed with stain, I didn’t have any trouble following with paint.

After the conditioner dried (it’s quick — only ten or fifteen minutes, and less with such dry wood), I applied two coats of latex primer. I did this to ensure the stain won’t bleed through the paint. I allowed the primer to dry for several hours. It was an absolutely beautiful day for painting the chair. The sky was a brilliant blue, it was warm with a slight breeze and hummingbirds zipped past the porch, their wings buzzing madly.

Finally, I painted the chair with Martha Stewart’s Sunken Pool paint. It’s a lovely aqua blue. To make sure the rose design was still visible — a friend commented that if I painted in all the cracks and crevices the design might fade into the rest of the chair — I purposely applied the paint sloppily, allowing the primer and wood to show through. The design has taken on a distressed, antique look. Again, I let the paint dry for several hours.

I have to say, it was painful putting back on the ratty old cushion. The beauty of the body of the chair amplifies just how terrible the cushion really is. Anyway, I plan to add foam and recover the cushion in a pretty fabric. When I get to that (it may take me a while to re-do the rest of the chairs since the one took all day), I’ll make sure to post an update.