Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Breakfast Nook Chairs {re}Vamp

I'm in love with my new {old} breakfast nook chairs.  I'm just gonna throw that out there.

They didn't always look this fabulous, if you'll remember.

They started out finished in a dark walnut stain, which is a finish I usually am drawn to.  However, in our space, with limited lighting, they just felt dark and heavy.  When I had to pick between the dark walnut breakfast nook table and my Granny's old pedestal table, I knew the dark walnut table would have to go.  But the chairs are sturdy and can take a beating, which makes them keepers in my house which is slowly but surely filling up with little ones.

The chairs are 7 years old this month.  Hubster and I purchased them almost a year after we got married and they have traveled all over this country with us.  7 years later, the chenille upholstery was still holding up beautifully.  But I've never been crazy about the color and I bought the set intending to upgrade the fabric the first chance I got.  The dark walnut stain didn't hold up nearly as well as the upholstery (on the table or on the chairs) and since these are engineered, veneered chairs, and not beautiful solid wood, I didn't feel bad about painting them.  The veneers were so thin that any damage to the stain pretty much went straight through to the MDF, which left drastic off-white gashes in the dark stain.  (I could go on a tangent about how hard it is as a consumer to find well-made products that will last a lifetime...but I won't.)

The Hubster did the honors of spraying these chairs with Valspar's white lacquer spray paint.  Even with a face mask, it was quite fume-y.  Thankfully they didn't take long to off-gas once they were sprayed.  I'd say 24 hours was about it.  

Next we tackled the reupholstering.  I chose Harriet's Kitchen by Amy Butler in a laminated finish.

I ordered through fabric.com without pre-ordering a sample swatch.  I was a little nervous, but I love this fabric so much.  Pictures just don't even do it justice.  Plus the name is perfect.  I am that girl who picks lipstick and nail polish based on the name...and apparently fabric as well.  ;)

The wonderful thing about DIY-ing a project like this is you have free reign to experiment and see what you like best.  I decided that I loved the fabric so much, I wanted each chair to showcase a different part of the pattern.  That way they are all the same, but a little different.  And I can enjoy all of Amy Butler's fabulous print.

After deciding which part of the pattern I wanted centered, I cut around the chair pad allowing about 3 inches for stapling.

This is where I was so glad Hubster was helping.  My (then) 31 week bump was quite large and it's just hard to sit all balled up on the floor these days.  I made sure the fabric was even and pulled taut while Hubster tacked with the staple gun and then hammered the staples the rest of the way in the MDF.

Even though we've both done this before multiple times, it was a little fiddly the first go-round.  We just played around with how the fabric folded over the corners until we liked how it looked.  The first chair took about an hour with all my perfectionistic fiddling...and honestly it still ended up a little off-center.  We knocked out the last 3 chairs the following evening and they probably took about an hour and a half total.  I stopped trying so hard for perfection and, ironically, I think the last 3 chairs probably look the best!

I love them.  They are so stable and sturdy and SO easy to clean.  I wish I'd thought of this a loooooong time ago.

My favorite!

Each the same, but each a little different.  And the Valspar spray lacquer is holding up so much better than I anticipated.  

The space feels so much brighter with the white chairs, but I still have one more project to complete for this room...

The curtains are lovely and thick...which is fabulous for privacy, but they block so much light.  Since I don't have a window in my kitchen, I really rely on the breakfast nook window to provide natural light in my kitchen.

These will be the next thing to change!  I have them almost finished....I can't wait to see how this room looks when it's finished!  It will be the first of the 4 rooms to be completed and I will breath a huge sigh of relief to finally have something all the way DONE.  :)


  1. I LOVE those chairs! You are so great!

    1. Thanks Sara! I have to admit I still do a happy dance every time I walk into that room. ;)