Sweet Little French Chair

I picked up this sweet little French chair at an estate sale (yes….another one….I know, I know……) several months ago and I finally got it updated.  I waited awhile to start the project because I was a little obsessed with the pale pink velvet that the seat was upholstered in, and really wanted to keep it. I don’t have any “pinks” in my home, but the shade of this velvet kept drawing me in.  It’s kind of a dusty, pale, pink rosy color.  I searched for a velvet fabric close to the same shade of pink but never could find anything that wasn’t in the “hot pink” family.  I finally realized that the reason I loved this fabric so much was because it was faded and worn, adding to it’s soft, hazy color.  So I decided to try and clean the fabric up as much as I could and keep it intact.  This is what she looked like when we found her for a whopping $8.00!  I mean, come on, $8.00!  How could I not buy her?!?  Mr. E&E, if you are reading this blog…..please DON’T answer that!)

The "before"

The “before”

She was in pretty decent condition except for her fabric being very dirty and a little worn in places.  The wood frame was painted a pale yellowy color, so I knew that I was definitely going to be painting her.  Deciding that I couldn’t make the fabric look any worse,  I got out my little Bissell shampooer and did some scrubbing!  Some of the velvet covered buttons lost their covers in the process……oh well……good thing that I love a timeworn look!  I sat her on the deck in the sun for several days to make sure the velvet and cushion underneath got nice and dried out.  All in all, she turned out ok, not perfect, not great, but she still has that beautiful, perfect shade of pink velvet on her seat!

The "after"

The “after”


Wanting to get rid of the yellow paint that was on her, I gave her a coat of ASCP French Linen first.  

First coat, Annie Sloan chalk paint in French Linen

First coat, Annie Sloan chalk paint in French Linen

Then I gave her a coat of ASCP in Old White.  I wanted some of the gray underneath to show through in spots so I distressed her here and there to increase her shabbiness, and to bring out some of the details to the carving in the wood.  A coat of ASCP clear wax and highlighting some of the carving with a gilding paste, and she was done.




You can see in the close ups that the velvet is still in very worn condition, but I’m ok with that.  I doubt that anyone will ever sit on her, even though she is blessed with good bones.  



 This antique French secretary needed a little french chair sitting beside it!  



If by chance Mr. E&E contacts you about getting me into a French chair hoarding intervention program, please ignore! I think I have room for just a few more!



Vintage Finds

DSC_0717We just returned from a brief trip to the South and we were able to do a little treasure hunting for the shop while we were there.  We didn’t find the mother lode this time but we did bring back a few very nice pieces that will be going into the shop soon.  One of the things that I always search for is antique religious pieces and I was thrilled to find several things that fit into that category, including some gorgeous antique Gothic church altar sticks. Known as “prickets”, these are huge and heavy.  One pair is solid brass, the other pair is from the mid to late 1800’s and have the most beautiful, ornate tripod base.   They would be stunning on a mantel or sideboard.   I’m going to have a hard time letting them go!



DSC_0759Another item that is always on my top 20 “wish list” when out picking is vintage trophies.  At one time, they were very plentiful and easy to find, and relatively inexpensive.  Interior designers using them in home decor has made them pretty scarce and the prices have gotten high.  Prices can be determined by subject matter and age and we have found that any kind of farm related trophy cups are much sought after.  We were so excited when we found two very large trophies, one for “best turkey”, and the other one was awarded at the Virginia State Fair in 1913 by the Holstein & Friesian Association.  


DSC_0758French chairs are always on my list and I was lucky enough to come home with three beauties.  Two are cane backed and in very good shape.  The other is a lovely French arm chair with the original creamy white paint.  These three will be staying with me.  I have been looking for two more dining chairs and these cane backed chairs will be perfect as soon as I repaint them in ASCP Old White and recover the seats in antique grain sacks to match the other four that I have.  The arm chair will get recovered as well and it will be perfect for an extra chair in any room.


DSC_0718Cherubs are something else that is always on the “search” list.  I usually can’t keep anything “cherub” in the shop so I’m constantly looking for vintage stock. Luckily we found a fantastic old salvaged piece from a wall fountain that features two precious cherubic angels.  It would be lovely hung on a garden wall or inside the home. We also found a stunning 1800’s French cherub candelabra (it is gorgeous!), and a wonderful carved wood putti that is quite large!


DSC_0723A pair of spectacular French altar candelabras with porcelain flowers is probably the most exciting treasure that we found.  These candelabras once graced the altar of a French church in the late 1800’s. Sometime in the early 1900’s, they were made into lamps.  I think I am going to convert them back to their original state of being candelabras before we list them them in the shop, which will be very easy to do.  They are very difficult to find and I was a little shocked when I saw them sitting on a table at the estate sale.  I couldn’t get to them fast enough!  I grabbed them off the table without even looking at the price (which turned out to be very good, thank the Good Lord) and I’m glad I did because as I lifted them off the table, I heard a gentleman behind me say, “Those are what I was coming for.”  Oh well…….sorry……..well….not really!

DSC_0720We also found a wonderful old carpenter’s trunk in the original old chippy paint.  It has layers and layers of crackling paint on it, the inside is lined with cardboard and it has the most interesting old latch on the front.  And it also sports those old antique castors that I love so much!  Among the other finds were a beautiful marble French bust of a beautiful lady, a French processional flag that came from Paris, French books, a wonderful framed French print, an Italian tole chandelier with crystal prisms, a lovely blue Italian Florentine tray, and an amazing Victorian garden planter made of wire.


DSC_0760I thought I could sell the Victorian wire planter, but I’m afraid I can’t let this one go, so she will be staying with me along with the French chairs!  Sorry, Mr. E&E, I know you hate it when I say things like that!



French Chair Rehab

I picked up this vintage French chair several months ago at an estate sale in Mobile, Alabama.  It was in very sad shape….at least the upholstery was.  The wood frame was perfect as far as I was concerned………old white paint, very timeworn, lots of natural distressing……like I said, perfect!

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 Mr. E&E took one look at it and started his expected eye roll and his usual comments, “You’re not serious?”, “Have you really looked at it?”, “It’s in pretty bad shape.”, “What are you going to do with it?”  



And of course I looked at him like he had lost his mind!  Did he not see the beautiful lines, the curvy legs, the original timeworn paint???  And it was only $38.00!!  Yes, that’s right, $38.00!  How could I NOT buy it?!?  For the love of everything holy…….it was a bergere chair!  Yes……a bergere chair…..hello??  I stood firm and finally he turned it upside down to inspect the springs, sat in it, looked it over…….I knew at that point that he was coming around to my side!  


For some reason, Mr. E&E has gotten it into his head that I am out to rescue all the neglected French chairs in the world………I have no idea where he has gotten that ridiculous idea!

 I don’t see her shabbiness, I just see her with new clothes.  I knew she would be beautiful!  And so she is……..



It has taken me several months to get her finished.  Not because she was difficult to do.  But because I seem to have a million and one projects going at any one time.  I will work on things for a couple of days and then my attention gets grabbed by something else and away I go!  I will eventually come back to the original project, sometimes it just takes me awhile!  



She had some major staining on the back where someone had rested their head for a long time, leaving a nice large stain.  Someone placed a doily over it to try and cover it.  Yuck.  The bones were good though and once all the old fabric was removed, it was easy to start adding the new fabric, which consisted of upholstery grade burlap on the bottom, and antique German grain sack on the arms and back, French toile fabric from Hobby Lobby on the back front, and I upholstered the cushion in a slipcover made of an old antique quilt.  I love the graphics in the antique grain sacks and love using them in upholstery projects, though they are getting harder to find.


I think she turned out so cute!!  It’s easy to update a vintage chair with new upholstery for a new look and I’ve found that a lot of these old chairs are made much better than new ones.  Just be sure and check the “bones” and make sure they are good!



On the way home from this particular estate sale with the bergere chair in the back of the SUV, Mr. E&E looks at me and says, “What kind of chair did you say that was?”.  Love that guy!

It’s snowing like crazy here in our neck of the woods again……major storm moving in.  Snow began falling early this morning and it’s still at it and the flakes are huge!  Mr. E&E is home early and has Italian stew on the stove.  He not only helps me with my junk, but he also cooks!  I think he’s a keeper!

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