January 6, 2012

Dining Room: Chairs

When we moved into our house in 2008, all we had in the dining room were chairs and a table. Around the time Peter and I bought our house, my mom and step-dad were combining homes for the first time so they had two dining room tables and two sets of chairs. We were invited to select one of each for our new home. I picked my mom's dining room table which I love. It's been in our family for a long time and the idea of eating family dinners around the same table I grew up with is pretty cool. As for the chairs, I picked my step-dad's. They are sturdy with a classic shape. I can't say I was ever crazy about the zebra print seats or black paint so I planned a dining room chair makeover.
Since 2008 we have made much progress in the dining room; we've added furniture and art, changed the lighting, and painted the walls. All the while, neglecting to make over the chairs. Somewhere in the years since we acquired the chairs, Peter and I have developed a joint sense of style for our home. While I still think the chairs are classic, sometime in 2009 I realized that a makeover wasn't going to be enough to make them fit our style. I started hunting for some mid-century dining chairs with little success.  So I asked my mom to be on the lookout in Baltimore for some.

As luck would have it, shortly after I asked my mom to be on the lookout she was dining at a friend's home when she noticed that she was sitting in a mid-century dining chair. She asked this friend where she found the chairs since I was in the market and her friend replied, "These chairs?  I don't know but I don't care for these chairs. Actually we're thinking about getting new ones. When we do your daughter can have them."

Fast forward to October 2010: an unexpected truck pulls into my mom's driveway and drops off the four dining room chairs. Her friend had gotten new chairs and remembered her commitment to give me the old ones.  Waiting for me in Baltimore were four dining chairs. The only issue, of course, is that Memphis and Baltimore are separated by a fair distance so it's difficult to get furniture back and forth.  We decided to pick up the chairs next time we were in Maryland or have them shipped.
Since we conveniently had Ms. Kathy when we went to Baltimore for Christmas we were able to bring the chairs back to Memphis with little fuss. And actually, since we realized we'd be able to bring them back fully assembled, I sent some fabric ahead of us to have the chairs re-upholstered in Maryland. I found some script fabric for the top of the chairs and some dark brown linen for the seats at Premier Fabrics.

Once we got back to Memphis, I began the task of painting the new chairs. I knew with the dark brown seats, the wood had to go! When I bought the bright Annie Sloan paints I went ahead got a neutral color as well.  Because the edges of the chairs are rounded, it took a keen eye and a bit of patience to cover the chairs thoroughly.
Once I finished transforming the chairs from wood to cream, Peter reattached the backs and seats.
It is such a massive improvement. I'm quite fond of our new dining room chair and so grateful that my mom's friend gave them away! Our dining room is finally coming together in a way that embodies our joint style and flows with the rest of the house.