Dining room chairs

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Madeleine's picture
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We have armless Windsor style chairs in the dining room. They are solid oak but showing their age. I'm thinking of going a couple of different ways:

1. have the chairs professionally painted in a variety of colors or all black.

2. buying new chairs that are 'softer' with a straight back, made of bonded leather. The leather will clean better than fabric. Or, a deeply patterned fabric.

3. making covers for the backs of the present chairs. That's where most of the damage is - the backs of the chairs.

Concerns are that the chairs we have now have crosspieces that hold the legs together (they have all had to be repaired due to the larger guests trying to scoot the chairs around without standing up) and the new chairs are 4 legs, no crosspieces. Will they hold up???

I use tablecloths on the square oak tables. They're a fairly funky mix of whatever fabrics catch my eye at JoAnn's!

Trying to freshen things up a bit over the winter. The painted chairs would be more 'cottage-y' which I think is the direction I'm taking. The leather or fabric styles would be more formal but more comfortable. (Yeah, I know, get 'em in and out!)

Thinking out loud, I am looking to maybe go 'summer cottage' for the overall look. I'm going to paint the dressers in the rooms and do more with gauzy window panels. Doing away with the lace.

 

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OnTheShore's picture
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Oooh, oooh, can I play too? One of our "cottages," the Farmhouse, was built circa 1780, so that makes it about 233 years old.... The "new" house (where our office is located) was built by Wendy's triple great-grandfather in 1870 (so a mere 143 years old).

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Silverspoon's picture
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Funny you mention it...this morning I did some work on our B+B table and windsor chairs!  I use a product called Howard's Restore a Finish, which works miracles without stripping or a lot of work.   The table looks like it has just been refinished, no more white marks from hot cups etc and all the scratches have blended into the table....same thing with the chairs.  For really stubborn white rings I lightly use 0000 steel wool, always going in the direction of the grain.  

Before you go crazy, consider trying this product.  It comes in a variety of wood colors and can be over-coated with wax if you need extra protection.  If you want a cottage look, consider a bright chair pad.  

I recently got rid of the lace at the window as well.  Shutters worked wonders to update the look.  But even miniblinds would work in a less formal setting.  They open up the space and give it a more current look.

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Madeleine's picture
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We have mini blinds so that's a start. Some of the windows have lace curtains which have to go. I have been swapping those out as I strip the wallpaper.

Will test a couple of different wood refinisher products mentioned. Thanks!

 

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

We have mini blinds so that's a start. Some of the windows have lace curtains which have to go. I have been swapping those out as I strip the wallpaper.

 

Music to my ears!! I've stripped some 4 dozen walls of wallpaper since we've been here and 'de-Victorian-ized' the place as much as possible for now with a limited budget. When you remove stuff like curtains, you need to put something in its place, no? Not that I mind the Victorian decor, you see, it's just that it has it's place (preferably in a Victorian style home!) We have a 4-square farm house and the Victorian decor was wwwwaaayyy over-done! 

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Madeleine's picture
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In place of the lace curtains are light blocking panels in colors that match the rooms.

gillumhouse's picture
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Aussie Innkeeper wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

We have mini blinds so that's a start. Some of the windows have lace curtains which have to go. I have been swapping those out as I strip the wallpaper.

 

Music to my ears!! I've stripped some 4 dozen walls of wallpaper since we've been here and 'de-Victorian-ized' the place as much as possible for now with a limited budget. When you remove stuff like curtains, you need to put something in its place, no? Not that I mind the Victorian decor, you see, it's just that it has it's place (preferably in a Victorian style home!) We have a 4-square farm house and the Victorian decor was wwwwaaayyy over-done! 

My place is a four-square also. We had 8 layers of wallpaper with a layer or 2 of paint mixed into those layers - including on the ceilings - and in every room except the litchen. The kitchen only dated to early 1950 because it used to be the back porch.

Joey Camb's picture
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tell me about it! we are 107 next birthday! just got our new carpet in took from 11am-9.45pm to get it in! looks amazing though - 2 staircases at 2 and a half flights each! DH feels like his arm is going to come off from vacuuming. Did 4 car loads to the tip (on a shuttle with help from my dad!) still will be at least 3 more but the tip is closed on Wednesday! grrr

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gillumhouse's picture
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We are of the same era - my house will soon be 102.

Generic's picture
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Ah, the young'uns.... House is 128 years old. And still the "new" house, since the last one was 3 years older.

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Silverspoon's picture
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Got ya beat!  In 2014 this Greek Revival will be 150 years old!  We have been the lucky (but broke!) owners for the last 25 of those years.  I'm trying to figure out the best way to give the house a proper birthday party...any ideas?

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Silverspoon wrote:

Got ya beat!  In 2014 this Greek Revival will be 150 years old!  We have been the lucky (but broke!) owners for the last 25 of those years.  I'm trying to figure out the best way to give the house a proper birthday party...any ideas?

When my house had its 100th birthday, I made 3 or more nights reservations (most reservations are for 2 nights), the 3rd night was 19.12 + tax but the 4th and consecutive nights went back to regular price. I had 4 take advantage of this - 2 of them booked here BECAUSE of that. This year was WV 150 birthday so the third night was $18.63 + tax and I did get a reservation because of it. Instead of that rate, you could take $18.64 OFF the third night or last night.

You could pick a date on a weekend when you would normally not be booked anyway - or even make it an all week deal - with balloons, cake, door prizes (small stuff) DJ, dancing... make it a birthday party.

Silverspoon's picture
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Thanks Kathleen, I'll take a look at one of the slower months like April and do some variation like you explained.  I'm too cheap to give nights for $18.64 but I might give one for $150 if it were a second night tacked onto a full price night. And the door prize might be a nice enticement....maybe the names of all guests staying in April would be eligible for a raffle of a free night in the fall.  Hmmmm, I'll give it some thought.

Sorry for the hijack!

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We have armless Windsor style but arrow back chairs in our dining room.  The chairs have the cross pieces and have held up very well so far. All we had to to was to put rubber feet on each one to stop dents in our fir floors. The rubber feet did the trick....but I digress.

Before you do anything, get yourself some Old English, dark if the chairs are stained dark, and blonde if not.  Try some of this to give it a new shine.  I used the dark Old English on an old dark veneer dresser top after a vacation rental guest placed a hot spaghetti pot on top of it, over a dresser scarf, so I didn't see it until well after they left.

I had the next batch of guests due in a few hours, so did a quick sand with fine grain sandpaper then a coat of the Old English.  The miracle occurred, it looked great and swap of dresser scarves and no one the wiser.

Old English has saved the day on multiple occasions.  If your chairs are not too far gone, you might well get another season or two out of them.  If you have not used this product before, you'll be very pleased.  About $3 to $4 per bottle at most food and variety stores.

My mother introduced me to this product many decades ago.  I've never had a lot of different cleaning products in the house, but this is one I would not be without.

Madeleine's picture
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Anon Inn wrote:

We have armless Windsor style but arrow back chairs in our dining room.  The chairs have the cross pieces and have held up very well so far. All we had to to was to put rubber feet on each one to stop dents in our fir floors. The rubber feet did the trick....but I digress.

Before you do anything, get yourself some Old English, dark if the chairs are stained dark, and blonde if not. 

Yes, we got the rubber feet, too. They did not last. We've replaced almost all of them since June. They work better than the felt but we have to buy them by the dozens to keep them in stock!

I'll take a look for the Old English and try the computer chair as it's not in the dining room!

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Is it scratches on the backs?  Do they pull them out and hit other chairs?  Our tables are far enough apart that hitting other chairs doesn't happen, and we have chair rails and wainscoting on the walls, so stray dings don't show.  In our vacation rental with kids, I find myself cleaning the sticky finger marks off the backs.  The cleaning has dulled the finish, but the Old English, or paste wax if time, perks it back up. 

Madeleine's picture
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The curved top of the chairs is where the finish has worn off. The shellac has worn off the seat areas or is peeling up. The legs and crossbars are fine. As are the spindles on the backs of the chairs.

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Then maybe the Howard's if you can rotate a chair or two out of use as you get time, and the quick polish in the short term.  I did an old 1920's bed with the Howard's.  The old alligator cracked varnish was gone with the underlying stain still in place,  beautiful transformation.  Guests have twice put wet towels on the posts but finding the damage quickly in the daily refresh and the fine grain sandpaper and Old English, and twice I've been lucky.   Did the trick.  Guests don't do this in the B&B, only in the vacation rental, and I know this is why finishes have moved on to indestructible poly. 

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I used something just like that years ago..it was from Formby's. Worked great. Don't even know if the stuff is still around. Hey Maddie sounds like it might be worth a try.Smiling

yep..just looked here

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I have used the Old Englishn as well but for me it has no lasted very long and if scratches were real bad I was not satisfied with it. but you have nothing to lose.

To hire someone to do it may be more than the cost of new chairs, but you probably won't find something real sturdy unless of course you really luck out.

Is theres a restaurant supply nearby?

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Summer cottage look - paint the chairs in bright colors. 

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07/23/2008

I go with painting them. 

 I'm experiencing an interesting thing.... Since I set up the tea room with small tables for two..  (used to be one big table) our guests are leaving BIG tips at tables! I've been left $25 and two $20 tips at the tables this weekend. 

No one left tips on the table before.

Also people are saying things like," this is the nicest place we've eaten in a long time!"

isn't it funny how even tho the food quality and the service hasn't changed, guests perceptions are changed because of the change of tables! 

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LOL, I found if I include the charge for the optional dinners at check in, no tips, but the first time I forgot to do so and slid them a bill at dinner time, as in a restaurant, voila - tip.  Do I 'forget' every time, well, no, but I leave it off the bill at check in if they say they might include another guest or two.  With my Simple Suppers, no big, I can always add one or two more with little notice.

 

 

Madeleine's picture
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Sunshine wrote:

I go with painting them. 

 I'm experiencing an interesting thing.... Since I set up the tea room with small tables for two..  (used to be one big table) our guests are leaving BIG tips at tables! I've been left $25 and two $20 tips at the tables this weekend. 

Your B&B guests are leaving tips??? Holy cow! Maybe it's your renewed energy!

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07/23/2008

They usually leave tips in the rooms. But no one has left a 'tip' at breakfast even tho they usually go on and on about the breakfasts and have posted about breakfasts on the 'reviews', but they didn't leave tips "at breakfast" like they are now!

Madeleine's picture
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Sunshine wrote:

They usually leave tips in the rooms. But no one has left a 'tip' at breakfast even tho they usually go on and on about the breakfasts and have posted about breakfasts on the 'reviews', but they didn't leave tips "at breakfast" like they are now!

I am completely amazed by the tipping thing! We were getting them in August but since then maybe $20/month. You're really knocking their socks off!

Rarely at breakfast, tho. There might be the odd $1-$2 stuck under a plate. But that was rare. Not even 1x/year.

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They usually leave tips in the rooms. But no one has left a 'tip' at breakfast even tho they usually go on and on about the breakfasts and have posted about breakfasts on the 'reviews', but they didn't leave tips "at breakfast" like they are now!

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My first thought was to paint them all black. Save your money and keep them going as long as they can Smiling

Madeleine's picture
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EmptyNest wrote:

My first thought was to paint them all black. Save your money and keep them going as long as they can Smiling

Except I think it may be really pricey to get them painted. Not sure as I have no idea who even to call. Auto body shop? No idea!

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Madeleine wrote:

EmptyNest wrote:

My first thought was to paint them all black. Save your money and keep them going as long as they can Smiling

Except I think it may be really pricey to get them painted. Not sure as I have no idea who even to call. Auto body shop? No idea!

 

I vote to save the chairs.  You know these are sturdy and they don't make 'em like they used to.

You're not up for painting them yourself?  Too much asthma?  There are places that will strip the old paint off for you if that's the big hurdle.  I've used zip strip.  It leaves a little of the original stain color in the wood which can be polyurethaned, which might make a cottage look, or you can paint over the stripped wood.  When I did it outdoors I didn't notice any vapor trouble.  I realize "outdoors" for your winter projects might not be an option. 

If enough of your Facebook fans live close to you you might ask if they know of a place that can do as much of the job as you want to have done.

Madeleine's picture
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No time and no patience. The chairs are stained (in both senses of the word - dirty and finish) and to strip them (there are 13) and paint them would take more time and patience than I have. To paint every spindle. Oh, just thinking about it makes me stressed!

And, I have 3 bedrooms to strip and paint this winter. 16 chairs and 3 dressers on top would put me over the edge.

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Madeleine wrote:

EmptyNest wrote:

My first thought was to paint them all black. Save your money and keep them going as long as they can Smiling

Except I think it may be really pricey to get them painted. Not sure as I have no idea who even to call. Auto body shop? No idea!

You could do it!  High gloss enamel. 

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