This week, I started work on a charming side chair. Even though there are traces of a design left on the piece, the original paint job isn't salvageable. Sometimes I do base my design on aspects of the original if I find it interesting. It is important to remove any traces of old finishes. If left under new paint, they can loosen, crack or peel and ruin all your hard work. The original design featured dark shades, but the elaborate curves and turnings on this piece inspire me to use a lighter palette. I'm not exactly sure what it will be yet. That inspiration usually comes as I'm working.
'When working with vintage furniture, take the time
to disassemble the piece.'
When working with vintage furniture, take the time to disassemble the piece, reglue it and replace rusted screws or nails. Before you start to take it apart, however, go over it and look for hidden fastenings that might split the wood. Over the years furniture joints loosen, and previous owners may have tried to tighten them by tacking them together with small screws or nails.
The chair had a cane seat which was replaced by heavy-duty cardboard when the cane weakened. Having the seat finished with new caning is an option, but I often create an upholstered seat to provide an updated look. Consider coordinating the seat cover with your existing upholstery, window treatments or wall coverings.
Over the next several weeks, I'll be talking about more structural and design decisions to be made as work progresses on this chair. I'm looking forward to your questions and comments.