Often I’m asked, “Where did you find that?” in regards to my latest vintage score. Serious pickers rarely give up their sources. Just know that we’re always on the hunt. However, today is your lucky day because I am going to reveal where I found these vintage library chairs. You’ll never believe it. Ready for my big source for these truly fabulous mid-century vintage library chairs?
You never know when inspiration will strike. Or when the coolest find will present itself. You could be minding your own business and returning a library book when out of the corner of your eye, you see the ‘for sale sign’ and your chairs in a dim corner next to a box of $.50 books. Suddenly you’re short of breath. Palms are sweating. You’re tearing down the ‘for sale’ sign and scrambling for cash while nearly shouting to the elderly librarian, “I’ll take them!” as if you’re at an estate sale and everyone is aware of the treasure around you and not just minding their business reading their periodical.
Or something like that.
After forking over the money and sprinting home for the truck with fear that the librarian would somehow resell the chairs out from under me because I outed their fabulousness, I tucked them into storage for safekeeping. Very safekeeping. I’ve been hoarding them ever since allowing only a few cameos.
I imagined that the set of four would make the perfect kitschy kitchen chairs. And they do. I just don’t have a place for them nor can I keep them all. Its time to reintroduce them to the world and find them a home.
I’ve paired the birch & vinyl chairs with a wood dining table from a similar era. The table, which is sold separately, was updated with milk paint. First, stained dark with curio and then dry brushed with grainsack and marzipan.
But those chairs…aren’t they fantastic? They are now up for grabs at The West End Garage.
Once upon a time we took 3 cast off yard sale chairs and upcycled them into a custom bench that is a perfect fit in our dining nook.
You can review the bench tutorial here.
As the space evolved it was inevitable for the bench to evolve too. When we updated the kitchen, the colors took on an earthy, neutral palette with lots of texture. The kitchen continues to be the room that changes the most frequently around here…
When the floors were redone this winter, I updated the bench by giving each chair a coat of MMSMP Grainsack over the bold colored chalk paint. The milk paint resisted the chalk paint in a few places giving just a subtle distressed look.
Also, I came across 3 neutral toile printed pillows that were perfectly sized for each chair. They were only a buck for each pillow cover. I found some inserts and boom!
It’s like a new bench for little cost (again)! What have you upcycled lately?
I’ve never properly shared my newest vintage obsession in my home. That bright orange industrial school locker nestled between vintage French country toile curtains and an amateur ship captain oil painting. None of it makes any sense but it doesn’t have to, does it?
And would you believe my number 1 picker and brother found that flaming orange locker on a curb? No shame in his game. Or mine since I paid him for his haul. Destined for a landfill no more, my friends. It now houses all of the wood stove accoutrements.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? The wood stove is a brand new addition this winter. It is serving us well as our primary source of heat. Ryan installed the slate tile hearth and I must say that he did a bang up job bringing the rustic vibe I was seeking. We picked up the iron log holder on our last trip to Brimfield. I love this cozy corner in our home which is an eclectic mash up of so many vintage styles. It has set the tone for the direction of the rest of our house.
And do I need to mention the vintage walnut & mohair chairs again? Because I will. American furniture designer Ward Bennett for Brickel Associates circa 1970. They go for about three grand on 1st dibs. Unbelievable. Let’s just say I paid less than 1% of that and didn’t have an idea of their value until I researched the label. Neither did the seller obviously. My most prized find to date! It certainly pays to buy (or trash pick) what catches your eye. Always trust your gut when shopping for vintage.
I’ve got a good old-fashioned ‘before and after’ to share today. Here is a 1960’s barrel back caned chair. I love the shape of these chairs and the upholstery is in excellent condition. The problem was the dark, shiny finish. It was muting the pretty blue fabric.
With the addition of lighter paint, the texture and colors of the fabric pop and give this chair a fresh look for 2014.
First, I applied a coat of Artissimo (navy) with bonding agent while carefully getting the paint in all of the crevices of the caning.
Next, I used the wax puck in a few places around the edges and raised areas to create a resist between layers of paint which is evident in the final distressing.
I brushed on a coat of shutter gray over the entire chair carefully applying it lightly over the caning so the navy would really peek through.
The final steps involved lightly sanding back the wax puck to reveal the navy blue under the gray followed by topcoating with furniture wax.
The upholstered back of this style chair is one of my favorite features. Such a great shape.
I’m not usually a glitter and gold kind of gal but I’m loving these pinecone branches which are popping up in our holiday displays and juxtapose rustic accents well. They’re festive and easy to mix into a vase arrangement, mantel or wreath. What do you think? Love ’em?
Here’s a look at how the Circa Dee holiday window display is evolving at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown along with the barrel back chair. Speaking of Serendipity, I’ll be conducting a Milk Paint Demonstration there on Sunday at 1 pm. Be sure to join us as this will most likely be the last one of the year.
The Sleigh Rides sign did not last long so I’m off to paint more! Hope to see you at the demo this weekend.
With the fear of frost looming at the end of October, we had to come up with a suitable winter home for our plant collection which was taking up residence outside and our deck.
They’re now sitting pretty in our living room amongst my favorite pair of vintage chairs.
We came up with a game plan to extend our sunny bay windowsill in order to accommodate the plants and my favorite vintage pots, bowls and vases. We started with fantastic weathered old 1×6 lumber that has almost a barnwood-like quality. We needed 6 – 5 foot boards in total. The boards previously made up a section of simple post and beam fencing in our yard. Each was stripped down to expose the worn grain. Two boards were paired together to make a 12 inch deep shelf. Three sets of boards were attached vertically to one another to create a 3-tier shelf system.
Plumbing pipe shelving is not a new concept but we came up with our own simple plant stand version using pipes and fittings to connect the unit. There are 2 connecting points on each shelf therefore we used a total of 4 – 9 inch plumbing nipples and 8 flanges which screw into the wood. These also double nicely as book ends. The plumbing materials were the most expensive part of this DIY project.
We decided on a set of simple 7 inch turned legs for the bottom which cost less than $5 each at Lowe’s. The raw wood of the legs and shelves received an application of hemp oil for a durable water repellent topcoat which also left a subtle stain highlighting the wood grain.
The plants have happily been relocated to the new plant stand where they are enjoying the expansive window and, normally, bright light.
These snaps are from this morning during a dreary, cold November rain. I love the mix of terra cotta amongst the saturated colors in the kilim rug and mohair chairs – all vintage finds of course. Such a cozy new space!
A few weeks ago I shuffled the chairs around the dining table leaving my beloved vintage ones homeless. Or at least table-less. But only temporarily. They’ve been displaced to my new favorite seating area in the house – what shall now be known as the living room. Along with an old cage-turned-coffee-table, that we’ve had for years, in a similar green hue.
We’ve been working on carving out different areas in our great room to make it most functional. Using furniture as a divider, or floating it, seems to be working with our current layout. (But that doesn’t mean I won’t rearrange again soon.)
I’m happy with how the space under the bay window has evolved. This cozy little sitting area is saturated in deep colors from the walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs to the over-dyed blue and orange kilim rug. The space can handle all of the dark, dramatic color thanks to all of the natural light that pours in.
The “living room” is conveniently adjacent to the bar where we store glassware & mix cocktails
…beside the captain. The count is getting pretty high on sea captains around here. This is Gorton.
So that is the fate of the chairs. I know you were worried about them. They are indeed one of my favorite vintage finds ever.
What is your best vintage find ever?
P.S. For more inspiration on what to do with your vintage finds, check out the recently updated (and always evolving) Home tab which features our vintage home style.
This funny thing happened the other day. It seems to occur to a lot of us in the vintage and furniture flipping industry. I finished refreshing a pair of chairs with milk paint, wax and fabric. I posed them at either end of our breakfast table just for a mini before and after shoot before bringing them to the shop. For sale.
Well…I think you know where this is headed. As I snapped pictures to share with you here of the “new” chairs, I was growing more and more fond of them there at the table.
…in our eclectic little nook. Still a work in progress. Always a work in progress really. That is the fun of it naturally because you never know what treasures will find you next.
The grainsack milk painted chairs just seemed so much lighter and brighter in the space than the others we had in there. And yes they match the table anyway!
The streamlined back is pretty comfortable. And the caning allows more light to pass through. It just feels summer-y. We can change out chairs seasonally, right?
For the seats, I used Waverly ticking stripes which plays well off of the grainsack upholstered bench and linen bentwood chairs too.
The walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs were looking winter-y there at the table. However, they are my favorite and aren’t leaving the house.
In fact, I carved out a little sitting area in the living room just for these chairs. More pictures on that soon but for now an instagram shot preview…
I certainly have a vintage chair fetish. How about you?
In other vintage chair related news, we’ll be at Clover Market on Sunday in Ardmore, PA.
And on Saturday at 11 am, I’ll be hosting another free Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.
Perhaps I’ll run into you this weekend!
This is one of my very favorite spaces in our home.
It is a built-in cedar bench with much-needed storage. I love built-ins of any kind because they are just so custom to each house. We left built-in shelves behind in our previous dining room and living room. The only thing better than built-ins might be pocket doors.
This is a special place where we like to curl up and read a book when time allows. In the winter, the baseboard heat pumps right up onto the seat making it even cozier. Said baseboard is due for a coat of glossy white paint this spring.
Over the holidays we added top down/bottom up shades. I was really committed to the idea of these shades so that we could always have the top down yielding a perfectly clear view. Our bed faces the window so it is spectacular to wake up to the sun peeking through the woods. We see the most beautiful early morning pink skies and evening lavender clouds.
And lately we’ve been waking up to snow dusting our holly trees. It’s the little things.
The valance is just a strand of starfish because we are “down the shore” after all and sometimes a little kitsch is necessary. The salvaged piece above the window was a Brimfield honeymoon find. I love all of the vivid colors.
Remember our garden rake belt hook? Well, there it is.
That’s it. The best seat in the house.
Check out the rest of the salvage style room here.
Sometimes when I’m simply minding my own business, not hunting for vintage or even thinking about it – ok that part’s not true. I’m always thinking about vintage. But minding my biz and just running errands, non-vintage ones. The weirdest thing happens. Treasures find me!
They really do and that’s exactly what happened with these chairs. They pretty much tapped me on the shoulder and asked to come home. How could I say no to this cheery aqua fabric?
Perfect nailhead trim.
Birch construction. Mid-century capped feet. Oh and that library book rack!
This set of vintage library chairs is looking for a contrasting table to pair with such as a white Saarinen tulip table. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?
Sometimes they just find me.
Happy weekend friends and happy hunting! Don’t forget the last Clover Market of the season is on Sunday.