Friday, November 23, 2012

My haunted chairs; fabric advice

A few weekends ago I was driving through Georgetown and stumbled upon an estate sale.  I've been attending a lot of these lately in order to feather my new nest and was excited to find a set of 4 18th century English dining chairs which I was able to scoop up for a bargain as it was the last day of the sale.
The chairs have seen better days and need a good cleaning and polishing (Murphys oil soap and some furniture polish) and the upholstery contains 40 years of dust and grime (or whats left of the upholstery). But the chairs are sturdy and in excellent condition otherwise and of a diminutive scale perfect for my apartment.  One chair is in such bad condition that I'm just leaving it in my storage unit for another future owner to deal with -and here is where the story begins!
Unbeknownst to me, the house is one that hosted a media frenzy a year ago when a society matron was murdered by her much younger husband.  Years before the murder, some violence forshadowed the death involving a chair.  My chair with the horribly bashed in corner perhaps??? oh my! That chair  will forever be called my haunted chair and will stay untouched in my storage unit!
However, whats to be done with the 3 others? In my posession I have a length of grey cashmere upholstery fabric from Ralph Lauren Home as well as beautiful plaid wool, also from Ralph Lauren.  I'm thinking of using the plaid but thought I would ask some of you what you thought?  Orange plaid, grey cashmere or something new?


Divine Theatre said...

I personally like the plaid better on those chairs.
How sad that money cannot make someone civilized, eh? That poor, poor woman.



Anonymous said...

The new york social diary did a great article on that murder.
I love the plaid, plus the grey is too current and predictable.

Kirk Dale said...

The plaid is nice and looks warm and inviting.

I think that given a choice though, I would go for a bottle green fabric which I think would look rather nice, especially against that dark wood.


Anonymous said...

I would not surround myself with those vibes - just too creepy, no matter how lovely the chairs (and they are). Grey cashmere is my choice otherwise.

Divine Theatre said...

I have found that lavender essential oil is perfect for cleaning old wood. Afterward, you can rub it down with lemon oil. I have had the best results with that. There is a company in Ohio called Bolek's Crafts that sells lavender essential oil for a song!



Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

Formby's makes so good products for safely cleaning wood. I would be careful with the Murphy's as it could remove the finish.
I like the plaid best but Schumacher Nanjing in green would be a showstopper.

Mark D. Ruffner said...

Congratulations on your great find. I think the gray is too light for your chairs, and I don't think the plaid fits the style of the chairs. I would pick up some darker color that complements details of your apartment.

The Down East Dilettante said...

1 part turpentine, 1 part boiled linseed oil (linseed oil is sold both boiled and pure--boiled is what you need), and 1 part white vinegar combined, applied with a pad of wadded cheese cloth, rubbed in, is a fairly reliable cleaner/restorer, used by many of us in the trade, if the finish is just in need of enlivening. It's known in the trade as the Winterthur formula. Some people also use 1 part denatured alcohol in the formula, but be careful, as it is a solvent. Follow with a thin coat of hard paste wax, well buffed. Do not use Briwax--despite all the hoopla, it leaves a nasty film. Go with the old standards, like Butcher's. You'll have a finish with more patina and depth than if you remove the old and put on a new finish. And of course, be sure to dispose of the rags safely and properly. Spontaneous combustion is never pretty.

As to the upholstery---not knowing what the room is going to look like, hard to give advice. But that never stops me, so here goes. Personally I'm a gray cashmere understated sort of guy, but it won't hold up well on dining chairs. All those crumbs, all those food stains. I like the pop of color on the plaid, but frankly (and only since you're soliciting opinion), I don't like the way the lines of the plaid work with the spindles of the chairs.

Windlost said...

Creepy story but great chairs! I love the lines and the classical look of the fluted spindles. I think the grey seems too bland and the plaid out of place. Perhaps a menswear pinstripe or something that picks up on the classical lines?

Estate sales in DC?! Heaven!

Anonymous said...

What provenence!! Beautiful chairs...oh the stories they could tell.

David said...

I love it when you find something good on the last day of a sale.

I like both of those fabrics but I'm not digging either on these chairs. I think they need a stronger color.

Blue said...

Horsehair, of course! Black, dark blue or a glowing red. Costs a fortune but worth every penny.

Anonymous said...

The cashmere is too light for the dark wood. Of the two choices I would prefer to see the plaid. However, orange has never been a favorite color of mine. How would a rich cranberry red or navy blue look with the dark wood.

Anonymous said...

I like the plaid. Though I'm not sure about the scale of the pattern on the chairs.