Five French Chairs

Marian ParsonsAntiques, Favorite Finds47 Comments

(Not to be confused with Three French Hens.) 
In my funk-ti-tude yesterday, a few good things did happen.  As I shared, I was great on my diet, I worked out, and I found some wonderful French chairs.  Five of them, in fact.  I think the downfall was going out clothes shopping on (statically) the most depressing day of the year.  A few of you shared that with me yesterday and I was unaware.  Had I known, I may not have ventured out to try on skinny jeans.  Talk about depressing.  The other really good thing that happened yesterday was all of the sweetness in your comments.  A few made me tear up.  A few made me smile.  All of them made me feel better.  I knew you understood and could relate.  So, thanks. 
Back to the French chairs. 
 I was driving home from Wild Rose and spotted these chairs.  The owners of the store knew of me and we had met briefly once before, so they gave me a “wholesale” price on them.  It was so generous of them.  
The chairs came out of a hotel and they are in excellent condition, but I don’t think the fabric is doing them justice.  Time for a reupholstery job, I think. 

My conversation with the owner led me to their warehouse, which makes my basement furniture stash look like a grain of sand compared to a beach.  “If you like French things, I think we have some chairs for you.” 


 Oh yes.

Oh no. 
Well, the love stopped at the “solid gold dancer” fabric, but that is easy to change. 
So, I bought two of the barrel-back French chairs, two arm chairs and one dining chair, for a grand total of five. 
My funk from yesterday was carrying into today as well.  We had ice and snow last night, so school was cancelled.  This meant I didn’t get my precious two hours to work while my boys were in preschool.  I really needed it, too.  They’ve been angels today, though, and have played nicely together to give me time to duck into my office and work in spurts. 
I pulled off the upholstery on the back of the arm chairs.  I was hoping the caning was intact, but, as I suspected, it was damaged.  I have not tackled recaning furniture, yet, (it’s on my list), so I’m going to reupholster the backs. 

When pulling apart upholstery, all you need are some wire cutters, gloves and a lot of patience.  Trust me on the gloves part.  And the patience part.  The process of rocking one million nails, tacks and staples out of wood will kill your hands and bring you to the brink. Surprisingly enough, today, it actually improved my mood. 

It’s also best to try to pull all layers out at the same time.  A lot more nails and tacks will come out if there are several layers of fabric pulling on them. 

I removed the seats and pulled out a can of paint.  Now, I am fortunate to have a paint sprayer, which is awesome for everything, but especially chairs.  Unfortunately, my paint sprayer is useless when there’s ice and snow and cold.  I can’t open the doors to ventilate my spray booth, so I have to use a brush just like everyone else. 
When painting a chair, flip it over and paint the inside of the legs and the bottom of the arms, back, etc. first.  Then, flip the chair over and paint the rest.  This is much easier than crawling under each chair and hanging your head upside down, only to realize you missed an entire section of leg that you couldn’t see. 

I’m painting these chairs with the same paint and finish I used on my trumeau mirror.  I’ll share the painting part tomorrow. 
Oh, several of you asked the name of the silver pattern I showed yesterday.  It’s Kirk Stieff Rose and it’s beautiful.  Elegant, but not fussy.  My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother all had this pattern and I inherited pieces from each set. 
Miss Mustard Seed
Five French Chairs

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47 Comments on “Five French Chairs”

  1. Marian,

    I have re-caned several pieces and would be happy to guide you through the process. It's ridiculously easy and you'd be super happy you did it. If you're interested, send me an email and I'll give you the run down. I've been keeping my eye out of a good piece to use as a tutorial.

  2. So glad to hear your day is off to a better start today!;) Love your chairs and cant wait to see you work your magic on them!! Hugs,Rachel

    French Farmhouse 425

  3. When one shops for skinny jeans, one must realize there are going to be more failures than successes, but it's nothing personal. 🙂

    Try the Gap Always Skinny jeans. I've heard from women of all sizes that they're awesome.

  4. Your tip about paint under the legs and arms first is so simple but so genius. Even though I have to say, I've got mad head-upside-down/arm-at weird-angles skills. I think I can stand to let those skills get a little rusty.

  5. Can't wait to see what you do with these chairs. I admit I like the plaid on them…but I know they are going to be outrageously gorgeous when you're finished with them!


  6. Maybe if you came shopping with me I could find unbelievably beautiful things like you. Those will turn out gorgeous just like the rest of your things. I totally understand the diet thing. I definitely can't try on skinny jeans yet. I'm afraid I would give up trying to get into shape! Looking forward to seeing your chairs completed! As always, thanks for your continued inspiration!

  7. Trying to find skinny jeans is equivalent to trying to find a bathing suit in my book. Treacherous! At least you are doing well on your diet and workout. I have had the munchies the last two day due to those lovely hormones.

    Love the chairs. I can't wait to see them with a fabric change. I'm sure it will do them world of good. Thanks for the upside down trick. It was a duh moment for me! I'm the one with the head upside down. But no more!

  8. Sorry to read you weren't having a very good day yesterday. 🙁 I swear, it was something in the air. Although, skinny jeans shopping would throw me into a depressed state, too. Glad you are feeling better today. I love your French chairs. How cool. Can't wait to see how lovely you make them!

    Big hugs,

  9. "turn the chair upside down"???? are you kidding me?? I feel like I won the lottery with that little tidbit!!!!!!!!!!!!

    oh how we (I) need you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    skinny jeans? sorry not familiar.


  10. First of all skinny jeans you know some man thought of this new trend!!! Second of all who cares your beautiful inside as well as out.
    Third Girl I love those chairs super pretty and I know you'll make them great!! Cant wait to see them when your done.

  11. this is JUST the encouragement I needed…there are two chairs that are pink and calling my name from the nearby antiques store – but I might have to do a 'temp-slip' on them for I can't really bend over quite well right now (8 months pregnant 🙂

    can't wait to see your paint technique….
    Anne Marie

  12. I can totally relate to your 'two hours to work in the morning' time when the kids are at school. I live for those two hours every day and unfortunately like you we had a snow day. Kind of makes you want to stay up all night to work right! Good luck with the chairs.

  13. Gorgeous every one,and in your talented hands I know they'll be stunning. Sorry you had a bad day yesterday,it happens to all of us …please feel better soon.

  14. I'm so glad you've had a better day today! Now those chairs! So so pretty! Are you going to recover those with the little checks? You're so good at recovering and just everything! Can't wait to see the finish!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  15. I just came across your blog a few days ago and…wow! I love it 🙂

    I thought since your entire blog is a wealth of helpful hints, I would share one with you. There is a tool avaiable from any upholstery supply store that is made especially for removing nails and staples. It looks like a long screwdriver with a forked end that slides around the nails or under the staples. They really work great!

    Thank you again,

  16. LOL! The original plaid would be perfect in my house, but I understand it is not for everyone. As for the silver, my dad's mom had the same pattern my mom did and I picked the same one when I got married, even though I did not know it until my Grandmother passed away!

  17. I am the new blogger on the block… You have so inspired me. I read your blog about business start-up. I still have soooo much to learn in blogging but I am really loving the journey. I did not realize the world of blogging was so vast and interesting. Keep inspiring, you are a great mentor. I would be honoured if you can visit my blog sometime. Maybe drop some tips.

  18. This post amused me on so many levels. I haven't thought about Solid Gold dancers for 25 years, and it rushed back memories of me dancing in front of the t.v. every Sunday night. Also, I need a full six hours while my kids are in school just to empty the dishwasher – how in the world do you do all you do with only two? (hey that sounded like a Dr. Suess book). And, you managed to stay on your food and exercise plan to boot. You are an inspiration, and those forgotten pieces were just waiting for MMS to bring them to a good home.

  19. Just inherited my Grandmother's flatware and I think it's the same as yours! I love it so much. Downside though is that is it covered in sap from a hope chest- any idea how to unstick them?

  20. Oh my stars… I can't even tell you how jealous I am of your chairs. If they disappear in the night, I promise it wasn't me… I can't wait to see pics! Maybe I will have finally totally finished my one chair with ottoman by the time you have all five done. Okay let's be honest, you'll be done this week. I might get around to finishing mine this year. 🙂

    Little Miss Penny Wenny

  21. I love your chairs, you are so clever how you upholster those pretty French chairs. I have similar chairs waiting to be painted, as they are can you just paint on top of the stain?

    I have no idea how to sand or remove the stain between the carved flowers and in my case lions…

  22. Love the french inspired chairs. Especially the "plaid" one! It is going to be fabulous!!
    Glad the work improved your mood too!

  23. Recaning does seem like a challenge. But what a haul! I'll bet those will look fantastic once they've been re-fabbed. The sahpe of the back of the caned one is lovely.

  24. Skinny Jeans, ugh. Super Skinny Jeans is not for the post birth mom. Even if you are skinny! Things have a way of shifting around, esp. after twins. I know! So glad you are having a better day, what a blessing to have this outlet to turn to. Love, love those chairs. Can't wait to see the finished product. Thank you for the continued inspiration. Now, go get yourself some beautifully cut for a fabulous woman, non-skinny jeans. Trust me, this style will fade, but classic cut is timeless.

  25. The first chair with the wooden flower is exactly like the one I have in my basement waiting to be reupholstered. I'm trying to find someone to do it because the insides are a mess. I can't wait to see how you do it.

  26. Your new chairs are just amazing. I can't wait to see when these are finished.

    I popped over from Charlene at My Heart's Ease 🙂

    Have a lovely week,
    LuLu Kellogg

  27. The chairs will be wonderful when you're finished with them…..Glad you're feeling better today…..scoring those beautiful chairs would make anybody feel better.haha

  28. I am so impressed by the way you're keeping this blog. It's a real standout.Not only that, but you offer trade secrets your readers can develop on their own. And it's just so gosh-darned pretty! I love everything here. can't wait to find out what happens next with those chairs!
    It's like an old fashioned candy store here.
    Rose McGuinn, chief blogger at Plush Possum

  29. Hello Marian.
    I bumped into your blog a few days ago, and read your entry about these french chairs you Faux painted back in 2011. I’m not sure you’ll read this as it’s an “old” post, but thought I’d give it a go and ask you something. I’m about to renovate 2 chairs, and I have changed my original plan after reading your post and decided to try out a faux finish. I’m very new to furniture painting (my first ever project). You mentioned that to use the exiting natural texture the chairs had, you did not sand them prior to painting. Now, my chairs currently have a wood varnish on them, can I go ahead and paint over this? Or, do I have to sand and put another undercoat (prime) as the “paint container” says?
    Thank you so much and look forward to keep on looking at your exciting projects.

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