A guy I met at one of my old flea market haunts had some furniture and knick knacks he was clearing out of a storage building so I went to check out what he had.
He had a few pieces of furniture I was willing to make a deal on. Most immediately went into my booths after a good cleaning.
But one chair...my oh my. Mine. Had to keep it! (Again, to see the "before and after" just scroll to the bottom...you know who you are...just go!)
This chair is ALMOST as good as my coffee table score (here). Not quite, but it is still a "wow" piece!
I have a hard-fast rule for my home...if I bring something in, I have to take something out. Cats, furniture, appliances...makes no difference! I don't NEED anything else, so if I want something, I have to give up something. It is my personal rule that keeps me from becoming a full blown hoarder!
So I decided the new one would be my new office chair...and this one had to go...
I love my old office chair...I love the wood and the color and the style. But I love the mid century style more and I knew with a little bit of time, a lot of elbow grease, and a little DIY magic, it would be beautiful!
It does have a few little "issues" in the cane back. It is difficult to find 50-60 year old cane chairs that are in perfect condition. I found two here, but that is rare. For now I have decided to just leave it be! The breaks are very minor and hardly noticeable. And this chair will get minimal use since it is in my office. I watched a tutorial on replacing caning and I have no doubt I could do it. But whenever I can I try not to do anything too terribly invasive. There will come a day when I may have to replace the caning, but not now.
So I was so pumped and could hardly wait to start on it! Usually major projects like this will sit for at least a few weeks (if not months)...this one only had to wait a day or two. Besides, I immediately took my old office chair up to Midtown and I will need a chair at my desk when bookwork day rolls around on the first. God forbid I pull in one of the others I have sitting around...lol!
I think this chair is walnut...a lot of mid century pieces are but they also used a lot of teak and rosewood. I am not sure but the grain looks like walnut.... but honestly I don't care. The style is amazing and as with most mid-century pieces, it is as structurally sound as the day it was built! Always amazes me!
The first thing I did was remove the seat. Four little screws, no biggy. Then I stripped it with the Formby's varnish remover. I will tell you that was a chore!!! This chair had some serious finish on it. But after 4-5 hours of scrubbing with the Formby's varnish remover and pad, I finally got it all off! I gave it a mineral spirit wash, a light sanding, tack cloth and four coats of tung oil and the wood is beautiful as new!
Now I am going to try to show off the wood detail...
It is really hard to appreciate the difference in photographs...but trust me, it is HUGE! These pieces are so worth the time and effort to strip and refinish. And while it is indeed a bit of a process, it is a relatively easy DIY project. Why people are afraid of refinishing furniture is beyond me!
It was obvious that a stain was originally added to the finish coat. I like the color of the wood with just an oil finish applied so I rarely add stain. You can apply mineral spirits to the piece after all the old stain and varnish is removed to get an idea of the color if you just apply a clear finish.
Now on to the seat cushion. It came to me with a tan vinyl seat cover. When I stripped that off, I found white Naugahyde. I have no doubt that would have been the original upholstery. Naugahyde was all the rage during the 50s and 60s and if you google "mid century furniture" images you will see a lot of it on original pieces.
My old desk chair had the same fabric as this wingback chair. I love this fabric even though I am not a huge "floral" fan. It is bold and funky but not too out there with the color scheme.
I'm thinking the white Naugahyde might be the route to go!
I really want to take my time to find the perfect upholstery...I need something to "speak to me." Sometimes that takes time!
Right now I am just admiring the beauty of the wood...
I would like to take a minute to comment on the "tones" of my decor. As you can see from the final finish on this chair, as well as the other wood pieces I have refinished, I tend to be very partial to "warm" tones. Rust, cream/yellow, orange, brown...warm. Even my hardwood flooring is "warm." I can get away with it in this house because there is so much natural light!
I was craving blues and whites and "bright" but I was very hesitant to add "cool" tones to my decor...blues, mint greens and whites. But you know what...it works. I have so much "warm" wood tones throughout my house that the cool tones really "pop." I have even transitioned my trim color over the years...from a white with a "cream" base to one that is more "true white." I love it.
Truthfully, I like the warm with the cool...too much "cool" and, in my opinion, your space can feel washed out...too much warm and it can become a tad dreary.
Don't hesitate to mix it up...do what you love. You will never regret it!