I’m not much of a do-it-yourselfer. I have good ideas, but when it comes to execution I’m lazy, impatient, and, rather than being a stickler for perfection, I’m an eye-baller. Not a good combo.
So I haven’t tried to sign up for that truly wonderful but over-my-head online reupholstery course by Chair Whimsy. I know that if I did, I’d start out with good intentions and end up with a basement full of fanciful chairs, sad orphans of the gap between my enthusiasm and my follow through.
I wish I could, but it’s just not happening.
Me want pretty chairs, too!
That doesn’t mean I don’t want jaw-droppingly awesome chairs in my décor. I totally want them, too! I want my old chairs to get a face lift that’s unique, playful, bold, and looks like a million bucks!
So…when I found a set of horrifically painted neon green chairs in desperate need of rescuing, I let that enthusiasm take over.
My husband just sighed.
This Time It’ll Be Different
I even went so far as buying all the tools to paint the chair — sandpaper, and those grit-picking-up cloths, little rollers and brushes, tape — because I was going to finally do this thing.
And I actually did do the painting. I can’t believe it myself, but I sanded, cleaned, and repainted those babies to a much more satisfying green (Benjamin Moore’s Colonial Williamsburg Collection in Dunmore Green).
But then I did the smart thing for me and sent the chairs to the upholsterer to let him re-cover them. And here’s the extra exciting part. I had them redone with a rare mid-1950s era Brunschwig and Fils handprinted cotton fabric titled “French Gladiola.”
As you can see, the chairs came out great! Chair Whimsy would probably approve, though she’d likely prefer that I gain the confidence and the discipline to do it myself. (I do think her work is amazing!)
I’m so pleased because, while I love bold design, I don’t often employ it in my own home decor. We have a very traditional style home influenced by the furnishings and accessories of 18th-century Virginia. There are delightful pieces throughout the house, including art and decorative serving ware. It’s all lovely. But it’s also…a little bit safe.
These French Gladiolas chairs were my contribution to a moment of WOW in the midst of it all.
A One-of-a-Kind Find
Sourcing this gem of a fabric, and in such quantity — I have 16 yards left — was among my fabric dreams come true! The vivid color, period illustration style, and expressive flair adds just enough of something unique to give the living room a lift without going too over the top.
Since there’s still so much of the fabric left — easily enough fabric for a small couch, matching chairs, large-scale curtains, even to use as a fabric-based wallpaper application — you might want to snatch it up for a one-of-a-kind restoration project.
The operative word with this fabric is scale: each run of the central gladiola arrangement is 33″ wide x 35″ high. Imagine the maximalist or grandmillennial statement to be made when this fabric acts a grand central design feature to a room.
Yet even a yard of it stretched over a frame and used as a canvas would itself be a showstopper of fabric art.
Other options include placing it under glass as a table cover, or using it for the top of a stunning ottoman. Try making oversized pillows for a huge design punch. Or use it as a fabric wallpaper application in a small space, like a powder room, so that just one of the motifs stands alone, drawing the eye to create an unforgettable moment. So many options!
Among its other amazing features, this piece was entirely hand printed. Swoon!
And if you want to copy me exactly, feel free. Find a chair, grab the Benjamin Moore paint (I used oil), get some Brunschwig & Fils French Gladiolas fabric, and pull together your own chairs with a similar splash!
Enjoy — this unrivaled stunner won’t last long. Rare, and in very limited quantity, this is a chance to acquire some fabric that almost no one else will have (except me and my wonderful chairs!)
— Lindsay Curren, Lady Virginia Vintage Fabrics