Gilded Chair…Um, That is Stool

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself moving too fast.  A perfect example would be the other day when I was working a wedding and found myself so preoccupied that I didn’t notice the forklift tongs that were crossing the pathway I was jetting down.  OUCH!  Still got that bruise….but I did maintain great dexterity as I stumbled in 4 inch heels and kept my dignity by not hitting the ground (yay me!).

Well, my speed struck again when Sam gave me this awesome chair to refurbish that she had found at a thrift store.

Ummmm, yah, before I struck, Sam didn’t have to hold up the rounded back for a photo op of this dreamy, mahogany antique.  Cringe.  Smarty-pants-Chanda decided to prop it upside down on it’s seat on our Zest table while she turned her back quickly to snag the drill (Sorry for the third person, but don’t really want to own this one 😉 ).  Whelp, I guess I didn’t figure on the curvature of the seat, aka not flat, aka a weeble-wobble.  Crash.  Oh no!  Oh, yesssss, I quite deftly destroyed the beautiful curvature of the chairs back.  Wahh.

Good news was that I wasn’t the only person who had made this boo-boo.  Here are the dowels from the last repair job that had been done on this chair probably about 25 years ago.  We love old pieces because they tell a story and sometimes show their scars.  But, since this old job drilled out what little bit of wood there was on the chairs dainty back, there was no way to repair the Chanda-damage.  Grrr, and we needed this antique beauty for the Expo….hummmmmm.  Sam and I stepped back and scratched our heads waiting for a Zest moment.  Aha!  Where’s the saw?

Might as well commit, right?  We decided to make this an uber cute stool!  Who couldn’t resist a stool with carvings and Queen Anne legs?  We immediately started dreaming of future bride’s sitting daintily on our vintage stool for pictures and garter tosses.  Can’t you just see it?

Well, not yet of course.  It definitely needed more Zesting than just a saw and sand paper.  So, here we go….

First, we sprayed it silver, buffed it with fine steel wool, rubbed on a brown glaze and then sealed our work with a clear gloss spray paint to finish.  We were getting so excited watching the transformation and knowing that it would tie in perfectly with the browns and silvers in our booth.  Now for the seat….yuck.

This was probably the most painstaking aspect of this restore.  I had to remove several upholstery tacks that were probably 80 years old…and they were stuck in hard mahogany.  Needle nose pliers turned out to be my best friend because they aided in the prying-off AND helped me when the head of a tack would just pop off from old age.  Little by little and I got it done.  Now for the cushion and a burlap covering.

BTW, I always do a white cotton lining (aka an old, clean sheet) when upholstering with burlap.  Makes it cleaner and smoother.

Looking good, now time to reinforce the fabric around the legs with tacks.  (Oh, and in this pic, you can see the silver paint prior to the steel wool and glaze).

Tools of the trade.  Haha, I thought I was so clever using this hammer as I was hoping to prevent the constant smashing of my fingers when trying to nail in tiny upholstery tacks.  It turned out to be a no-go.  Though my fingers were protected, this tiny hammer had no power to get those tacks through the hard mahogany…so I eventually regressed to a normal hammer.

The most essential part of this job was to start tacking along the straight edge of both sides of the leg.  Once that was secure, it was really easy to work in tiny folds or gatherings to make the burlap fit snuggly around the curve of the top of the leg.

Looking very dressed up and beautiful!

This stool is going to look hot in our booth….. but we are more excited that it will have a wonderful life as the belle-of-the-ball at countless weddings for it’s 80th decade.  I love what we do!

Count down to Expo…2 days!!!



Comments 3

    1. Hahaha, I’m a bit less accomplished than you when it comes to unique patinas and products. I used to work as a muralist…and I found that some simple acrylic paint mixed with water combined with good old elbow grease gave me what I was after…usually after a couple of coats. I keep things relatively wet and then as it dries, I am able to buff out the “peaks,” creating dimension. With the chair, we used steel wool on the silver paint to give it more of a pewter feel and to increase the texture for the glaze. I also concentrated the glaze in all the nooks and crannies to create age. I’m really happy with the end result, and the backless aspect will lend itself beautifully to flouncy bridal dresses. 🙂

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