One of my favorite features of our home is the walk-up attic. It has allowed me to buy furniture and accessories that I didn't otherwise "have a place for," but I knew I would want them or could use them one day. Case-in-point was this set of brown rattan chairs with fretwork detailing. They have been in my attic for about a year- I wasn't sure when or where I would use them, but they had too much potential to pass up when I first spotted them.
After I decided on the settee and tulip table for my breakfast room, I knew my current French country chairs wouldn't be the right fit for the room. I considered a few options like the Era Chair from DWR, but I wasn't totally sold on them. When I was getting Christmas decorations out of the attic last weekend, I spotted the rattan chairs in the corner. They weren't much to look at in their current state- brown with hideous red floral cushions. But I loved the fretwork backs and thought that with a little TLC, they could be the perfect match for my new tulip table.
The expression "nothing worthwhile is ever easy" came to mind a few times throughout this project. Sometimes DIY projects go really smoothly, and sometimes they are more challenging. This one was more challenging. When I went to unscrew the seats from the chair so that I could paint the chair, the screws were stripped. That means that the metal screws were really old, so the screwdriver just shredded the screws instead of catching in the appropriate indentions (think shards of metal everywhere...). I fought and fought with those screws, trying every method imaginable for removing stripped screws. Nothing worked, so I called my ever-resourceful dad (who owns every tool and gadget known to mankind). He had a set of drill bits that were specifically made for stripped screws, and they worked like a wonder. It was amazing how these little drill bits handled in 30 seconds what I had fought with for hours...
So finally the seats were off and I was ready to paint.
I used black enamel spray paint. Believe it or not, I really am not spray painting much anymore. But on something like this chair that doesn't have any single large surface areas, it looks perfect. Doesn't the black paint make a huge difference? I did 3 coats, laying the chairs at various angles. These chairs had so many different lines that it was a challenge to cover every possible angle with paint.
While the paint was drying, I started working on the cushions.
I had purchased a turquoise and kelly green outdoor fabric to use on the cushions. It's easy to clean, which is an important consideration when decorating a breakfast room where small children will be eating.
Now to recover the chairs... You know the drill.
First I laid my new fabric upside down and placed the old cushion upside down on it.
Then I stapled around the edges. It's important to make sure your pattern is straight on the chair and to pull each side very tight so there aren't any wrinkles. Then trim off the excess.
The cushions are done!
It's so gratifying to attach the newly recovered cushions to the newly painted chairs.
I am so happy with how they turned out!
So that is the current state of my breakfast room... Settee against the wall. Tulip table in the middle, surrounded by glossy black rattan chippendale chairs. I still haven't finalized window treatments. I started making roman shades but realized I had bitten off more than I could chew with that sewing project. So those are something I'm going to leave to the professionals. More on that to come!