One magical day last summer, I drove around the corner and saw an estate sale in progress. My car was already filled to the brim with the kids, so I drove past. Amazingly, I was taking them to a play date. I passed it again on the way back home, and decided to stop. Kid-less makes a HUGE difference in this line of work. (digging around in strangers basements for good finds)
Apparently, an old lady had moved into a nursing home and her son came up from New Jersey to empty out the house. I found a few lace runners, and struck gold down in the nasty basement with these two wooden chairs. They were back in a corner with no price on them. I plopped my butt down into the dusty little things, and sighed…ahhhh. So comfortable. Really! Ergonomically designed or something.
Upstairs I inquired “Are those two wooden chairs for sale?”
He had no idea what I was talking about. When we both reached the basement, he began to reminisce…. “I remember my brother and I would sit on these and do homework. We had our own chair Do you like them? They are kinda Mid-Century modern, don’t you think?”
Well, I don’t know what’s what, but that kind of talk made me nervous. I like my junk cheap. And Mid-Century furniture isn’t cheap.
Dragging them up the stairs, I tried to calculate how much I was willing to pay for 2 chairs that I don’t really need. $5 each? $10 each? Turns out, he gave them to me for FREE after I mentioned that I wanted to fix them up and put them in my living room. Can you believe it? Thank you, nice man from New Jersey.
I pulled them out of my gorgeous new Explorer and into the garage before Brian got home. He doesn’t really care that I tote junk home all the time, but he does get nervous about the transportation methods that I use. I prefer him to think that the stuff just magically appears in the garage than to actually see me dragging dirty, rusty, mangled items out of the car.
My first job was to clean the surface. Then I filled in a million holes with wood putty. It looked like a dog had chewed up one side, or maybe someone attacked it with a stapler.
My second job was to scour the internet looking for these chairs. The only identification I could find was the letters LOM underneath the chair seat. The whole Mid-Modern thing was eating at me. I didn’t want to go all crazy spray painting, stenciling, distressing these freebies if they really belonged in a museum or in some fancy pancy place away from small children.
Finding nothing, I mean NOTHING on LOM wooden chairs, I went ahead and disassembled the chair. It’s a very simple design, with just six screws holding the two pieces onto the metal frame. I freshened up the frame with some metal spray paint, and then hit the wood with some spray primer, followed by white paint.
Next, I painted a section of the seat blue, then put down some green vinyl sticker and painted the whole chair white. When I peeled off the vinyl, I was left with a blue version of the green sticker. If this sounds confusing, sorry. I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. It didn’t peel off cleanly so I had to touch up the design quite a bit. (Next time, I’ll just print out the vinyl in the color that I want and leave it.)
I spent a little time distressing the chairs with sandpaper and adding some black glaze in some places. These are old chairs with lots of flaws, so I didn’t want a perfect paint job on them. It’s freeing to be “aiming” for a distressed look!
I have a perfect spot for these chairs in my living room on either side of the sliding glass doors. They don’t take up much space, but are perfect to pull out when we have company. They are comfortable, and everyone who has spent time in them has been surprised. Most people don’t think about getting nice and cozy in a wooden chair…..But hey. It’s a LOM.
And they are kid friendly!