Sunday, November 24, 2013

A little project

We don't often entertain at our house, but when we do, I'm often anxious about the amount of seating we have. Over the years, which in this case means over two decades, I've been frustrated by the fact that we have two perfectly sturdy, serviceable chairs that we could trot out, IF they weren't so ugly. To be specific, these chairs have (I'm guessing) at least thirty five years' worth of stains on them.

I have two of these chairs. One has old paint stains, while the one above looks like someone changed his oil, wiped his hands on his jeans, and then had a seat. Actually, I have no idea. All I know is, I've scrubbed them many times to no great effect. The little dinette table that came with these chairs has its own history of stains, too. Thank goodness for table cloths.

Anyway, in times of chair shortage, I have always looked at these chairs with frustration. Obviously, company can never ever ever see these, right?  Well, after all these years, as I troll Pinterest, I see an idea:  spray painting old vinyl chairs! And I see this artist has even gone with black and white stripes, which would match the futon in the room we usually use, and I get all excited.  Ha! But then, I remember who I am; my strips would never be straight, and my painter's tape would seep. No no no, my goal is less lofty. My goal is: PRESENTABLE. Simply make these chairs acceptable.

So, I went out and bought Rust-oleum spray paint, and I went with black because it would cover all the stains and, as luck would have it, it matches the other furniture.

So, I carefully covered the legs, and sprayed. And sprayed. Every time I took a walk around them, I saw a spot I missed, and the first layer of paint scared me because it did not seem to cover much. These chairs required three coats to look completely covered.

This is a vast improvement, but now I was bothered by the legs--clearly, they should be a silver tone, not a brown copper-like color. Hmm. Darn, if I'd thought of that, I've have done that first. Okay, this time, I decide to do the painting on the back patio, since the garage is not as convenient, and I must cover all the black in order not to make a mess, and this takes time. Additionally, I notice that the back legs of both chairs have some rust that needs to be wired-brushed off.

Anyway, so I get the legs prepared to be painted, carry them out to the patio and start painting with this silver stuff, and just as I'm almost finished, a mighty wind kicks up, blows up all the bags I have protecting the surface of one of the chairs, and I get silver where I don't want silver.

I really want to scream, it would feel so good, but--one really mustn't scream in her backyard in the middle of the afternoon. People might come running, or become alarmed, and whatnot. And--there was also another rare thing going on: our neighbor Eric was outside with his dog.  That's all the way outside, as opposed to standing just inside his sliding glass back doors so that he can throw a frisbee to his dog. This is what I call A Rare Eric Sighting. So, I can grit my teeth, stamp my feet, but there will be positively NO SCREAMING.

Stamping inside, I try to forget the chairs drying in the wind outside. After a few hours, though, I must carry them back in to the basement, and being the impatient person I am, I quickly do a littler repair work to the legs, and then recover some of the black where the silver blew. Of course, I make another stupid mistake, but this time, I decide to let it go, and to be thankful that Mike cannot smell much of anything. This "little" project bothered him less for that.

If it ever comes up in conversation that I painted these, I will simply tell people that they are not allowed to look too closely at the paint job. After all, they are presentable, and the color even matches the bar stools.

Conclusion: This is a great idea for revamping old vinyl and plastic furniture, but it's not always as easy as it looks. In this case, the area between the seat cushions and the back rest on these chairs was a challenge, as was the back of the seat cushions behind that metal. Of course, I've never done anything like this before. I'm very impressed with how some people go out and buy awful looking stuff at thrift stores and completely make them over. Such clever people!


beach lad said...

you persevered which is the main thing - and when you sit in them you'll have that bit of extra pride.

sadly, in this day and age of over production, it is too easy just to throw things out and buy something new - god help our kids - they don't know how to DO anything!

actonbell said...

It does bother me, the way we keep hearing about the peril our environment is in--but then, on the other hand, here come all those sales flyers, flouting special Black Friday prices that encourage and tempt us into buying more vinyl, plastics, etc.

And yes, the young generation: they have grown up with all these must-haves. And I'm not mocking! To succeed, to be a part of anything in their professional and social worlds, they will need their gadgets, which will need to be replaced every couple years. Brave new world.

Logophile said...

Nailed it!

These kinds of projects are never as easy as they look so I am impressed.

They really do look great with the bar stools.

And congrats on the no screaming~ you are a woman of incredible patience and determination. I might not have only been screaming but screaming profanity, so I am impressed with that too.

Bone said...

When I first saw that last picture, I thought you were going to say, "And then I decided just to turn the chairs into barstools!"

Maybe next time.

actonbell said...

Thank you, Logo. I am trying to be a calmer person :) And it seems that I probably should have looked for something I could brush on instead of spray, in this case. I'm not good with the can.

Bone: Oh, man, I wish I knew that spell, my life would be so different.

TLP said...

I think those chairs look great now!

BTW, remember that I have folding chairs (wooden with cloth seats--remember those?) that you can borrow. Also I have 4 maple chairs that I don't use. (In my basement.) You can borrow them forever.

Karen said...

I wish TLP were my mother! I bet those 4 maple chairs in *her* basement are long forgotten...

Or maybe you and Mike have something better to do with your time?