Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If Chairs Could Talk

From my earliest days I remember these chairs. They were our kitchen chairs when I was growing up. Several years before I got married my parents moved and the chairs were sent to a consignment shop. They didn't sell, even though they looked a lot better then than they do now! Lucky for me! When we were planning to get married my mother suggested that we get the chairs back from the store. Since then the chairs have moved with us from New York to South Carolina and have now landed in Colorado. 

Two of the chairs are black with a Hitchcock type of stencil design. The other two are green, with a folk art design that my mom painted. I always thought that my parents were given the chairs as cast-offs from my Grandfather and that my mother painted two of them, but never got around to the other two.

It was always my intention to repaint them.  I was going to paint the two black chairs to match the green. But, after two children and a cockatiel that liked to perch on the chair backs and pick at the wood, I decided it was time to redo all of the chairs.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the black chairs are not identical to the green chairs. There are a few differences in the size and height of the seat and the angle of the legs. The differences are subtle, so I'm not all that surprised that no one noticed it before. I know my mother painted the green chairs, but based on the fact that there was only a coat of primer and the green paint, I'm thinking she either bought some unfinished chairs or painted some chairs that had previously been stained, or there is the possibility that she was more fastidious about sanding than was I! But, why didn't she paint them black to match the others? Or, did she get the green ones first, and then got the black and never got around to painting them? It's a mystery and I will most likely never know the answer.

I have found out that they are called rabbit eared spindle back plank chairs - that's a mouthful! They could be 100 years old, plus or minus. There are no markings on the bottom of the seat, so no clues there. I don't know the origin of the chairs. I wish they could talk. I bet they have interesting stories to tell of the people they knew and the places they've been! If you have any insight, I'd love to hear what you might know!

Well, just wait until you see what I've done with them! Uh... you may have to wait for a bit. It's taking longer than I anticipated! But, here's a sneak peek at work in progress:

Do you have furniture that you wish could tell you its story?


  1. The chairs have a very friendly look!

  2. Looks like different colors!? I think we have a lot in common.

  3. Those are pretty nice chairs, it's nice to have pieces that have a family history.

  4. They look well built and have stood the test of time..I love the black with the gold and the flowers..I am anxious to see what you have done with them. I have a set of chairs that I hauled out to the garage..I painted them too..long ago..they were orange at one time..and red..and torquoise..it was a real project:)

  5. Dreaming --- You have inspired me to do posts about some of the things I have that are antiques and I am just like you, always wondering what they have been through as they were passed from generation to generation. I have furniture that has been in my family for at least five generations. I love my antiques and each will have a special place in our country cabin that we will be building very soon.

    Your chairs are amazing. Aren't you glad you went and got them out of that shop? They look priceless. And from what I can see, it look as if you are a perfectionist with your refinishing. I can't wait to see more!


  6. I love your old chairs. I too sat in chairs like those growing up. Wonderful that you can have them.

  7. I have a couple of pieces that I wish could tell me their history!

  8. I have lots of old tables that I wish could tell me some stories. I love old furniture...much better than new.

    You lived in South Carolina? What part? I love it there. One of my favorite vacation places is Charleston. I'm watching the North and South right now. Those beautiful plantations...aaahhhh
    Just imagine the old furniture in those places and the stories they could tell!

    Cindy bee

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