Squirrel Chairs!

Just an FYI before I get to the squirrel chairs: this will be my last post of 2014. I decided to take my first ever break from blogging (I mean, since I started this blog anyway) while Dave’s out for winter break. (I looked back at the week after Abe was born, and I posted FIVE times in those seven days. Which is a little nuts). Hoping to get a few projects knocked out around here while Dave is home and also to take some time to do some blog maintenance that I keep meaning to get around to. And then also, you know, there’s Christmas and everything in there.

cane chair makeover with white paint and squirrel print fabric

I teased the finished chairs on Instagram weeks ago and pretended like I’d be posting about them that very same week (is it still pretending if you believe in your heart that something is true?)


Then….I didn’t. For a couple of reasons. One is the usual “blah, blah, Thanksgiving, family visiting, blah, blah, December is crazy, BLAH!” stuff. But then, also, we’re still not actually finished finished with the chairs. Four of them have these little upholstered sections on the arms that we taped off when we painted, but the fabric still needs to be painted and the paint around it touched up. Because right now they look like this:


When I posted that Instagram post, I really thought we’d get all that paint touching up knocked out post haste and then I’d take pictures and get the post up all before anyone showed up for Thanksgiving dinner.

Instead, we still haven’t done it. Also, there are other spots that need touching up where the chairs have knocked against the table, so I’m thinking another coat of polycrylic over the whole set is in order. But I’m tired of waiting to post about the chairs, so I’m just going to show you the pretty ones and we can all pretend that they all look like that already. When you push them under the table, this is a really easy thing to pretend!

Okay, so, for those who are not full fledged Boxy Colonial historians, here’s a brief timeline of what’s been going on with the dining room table and chairs up until now (or as brief as I can make it without leaving out any juicy dining set makeover details):

Spring, 2012: We buy this house and my mother gives us this our table and some black windsor chairs as a housewarming gift (she resells furniture and had picked them up at a garage sale or thrift store or somewhere):

At some point I started feeling like the table and chairs were a little formal/traditional for our tastes, and also that there was a LOT of wood in that room (there’s a big wooden china cabinet opposite the buffet that you can’t see in the photo above). I launched a grand plan to paint the table and find some different chairs to go around it.

March, 2014: I found 8 cane chairs at the thrift store (from 2 different sets) and brought them home with me. Started thinking about what fabric I would use to reupholster them:

April, 2014: found and ordered perfect fabric….with squirrels! (the fabric is sold out where I linked to it in that post…you can still get it on Etsy, at least, though. Just google “laminated squirrel fabric” and it should pop up)

April-August, 2014: Fabric sits untouched in a closet; chairs sit untouched in garage; table sits unpainted in dining room.

August, 2014: Progress at last! The table gets painted (Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy)

November, 2014: I somewhat abruptly decide that I HATE half of the chairs I bought back in March (to be fair, they were, upon close inspection, in kind of sorry shape and would have required a fair amount of repair work. And you can see that we sometimes have a bit of trouble getting around to things). We buy four new chairs that we find on a local facebook group:


…which, finally, brings us up to now! Chairs are painted (mostly, except for those pesky touch ups) and reupholstered!

I’m not going to do a blow by blow of how we painted or upholstered them. You can read about how we did pretty much the same project only with our kitchen chairs here. But a few details:

*We used our HomeRight Finish Max Pro paint sprayer (in the post about the kitchen chairs, we were using a different HomeRight sprayer, but, having tried both, the Finish Max Pro is definitely the one we recommend for small furniture painting projects like this one. We love this thing; Dave tries to make up excuses to use it.

*We didn’t sand at all (we’ve run into troubles before sanding SOME but not enough, so we decided to just forgo it all together this time), but did a coat of primer and then many light coats of semi-gloss white paint. Then finished it off by spraying on polycrylic (because, I am told by the internet, polyurethane will yellow if you use it over light colored paint). As mentioned, I think I’m going to go back over them and do one more coat of the polycrylic by hand.

*You definitely don’t want me to write a chair upholstery tutorial. I was totally lazy/terrified of my chair cushions completely falling apart) and just put the new fabric right over the old. My method was this: pull it tight and try to make the wrinkles stay in the back, then staple it lots.

*The fabric is “laminated cotton.” I was kind of surprised when it got here to find that it’s exactly that: ordinary weight cotton fabric that someone basically ran through a laminator. I could have pulled it apart with my fingers. The idea is to give some extra protection against stains, but I fear that we’ll wish we’d gone with an upholstery fabric instead. We don’t actually eat in the dining room very often, but we do use it all the time for school, so durability is probably a bigger concern than stains. That said, so far it’s holding up fine: I’ll report back if anything changes.

I’m so glad these are finally (almost) done! I have some more plans for the dining room, to help it along in its transition to quirkiness, but I’ll talk more about those NEXT YEAR.

For now, here are a few pictures of the chairs alone and in their new space, cozied up with the Hale Navy table:

cane chair makeover with white paint and squirrel print fabric  floral print teal fabric with squirrels cane chairs made over with white paint and squirrel fabrichale navy table and white cane chairs

And here’s one of the things that’s distracting me from blogging lately: Gus in “A Christmas Carol.” Opening night!


So, with that, Merry Everything, and thanks so much to all of you who are reading for….reading this past year. Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2015!

Linking with:

Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday

Thrifty Decor Chick January Before and After



Squirrel Chairs! — 19 Comments

  1. You had me at squirrel!!!! That fabric is so awesome and looks beautiful on the chairs. Enjoy your break and have a merry Christmas

  2. Look at Gus up there! Is that not the cutest photo every! You need to blow that up! And your chairs are absolutely gorgeous friend! A job well done!!! Now as for you taking a break….ENJOY!!!! We will see you in 2015!! Happy New Year and Merry Christmas buddy! Nicole xo

  3. Well, you are so far ahead of me in the chair makeover department, I am in awe. And I love your squirrels. Happy holidays to you and your family, and enjoy your break!

    • You should see my garage; there’s always another chair makeover that needs to be done! Thanks so much and happy holidays to you, too 🙂

  4. Gorgeous!!! I love the white with that navy table. It all just screams GRETCHEN FROM BOXY COLONIAL. Enjoy your break! I will miss you an insane amount!

  5. Very interesting that they ran the fabric through the laminator. I have never seen fabric like that before. I do love the print. Hopefully the cushions will hold up.

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