Nick and I always discuss purchases beforehand… even the smallest things. But when when I saw this dining set for sale on craigslist while Nick was at work, I knew I needed to act fast before someone else snatched it up. Priced at a mere $25, it wouldn’t last long. We’re talking an original vintage 50’s dining set y’all. (actual craigslist pic below)
I had a lot of guilt about it buying this without Nick’s knowledge, and knew he would be more irritated by the idea of it taking up room in the garage. To add insult to injury, the clouds parted when I stumbled upon this MATCHING 50’s buffet at a garage sale a couple days later.
Miraculously, he was pretty excited about the full dining set and how great the condition of everything was (SCORE!). Of course even though the chairs were fairly sturdy, he still felt so inclined to reinforce them. Any excuse to use his Kreg Jig me-thinks. Here‘s an in-depth tutorial on reinforcing wobbly dining chairs.
NOTE: these chairs (and the table for that matter) were in ROUGH condition with huge gouges and even random nail holes and such. We completely respect the nature of mid-century furniture, but this one was in bad enough shape that we just wanted to make it usable again. Please no hate mail from the Mid Century purists!
I wanted to stay true to the 50’s vibe by reupholstering the chairs with a fabric that had a vintage feel to it. Yet I still wanted it to feel modern and be versatile and neutral enough to fit in almost any home (cause we’re SELLING these suckers!). I ended up choosing this Joel Dewberry herringbone fabric purchased here
We picked up some new foam and knocked these suckers out during the girls’ afternoon nap! For a step-by-step tutorial on upholstering dining chairs, check out this post.
It seemed natural to want to dramatically change the appearance of the dining set/buffet with a fresh coat of paint… but after much deliberation we decided to just restore to wood to it’s original finish. Mid-century/modern furniture is one of those styles that truly seems best left alone.
Rustoleum has a product called Cabinet Transformations that’s meant to bring back the deep luster and shine of your kitchen cabinets without sanding or pre-treating in any way, but we decided… why not use it on furniture? It takes dull/scratched surfaces and brings it back to life, diminishing imperfections. PERFECT for what we’re needing!
Here’s the original dull finish.
And then we used the 3-part Cabinet Transformation system (which we’re totally NOT getting paid to discuss… it just rocks).
I lined the drawers of the buffet using leftover fabric from the chair cushions. For a detailed tutorial, see this post.
This dining set doesn’t have the most dramatic before/after since we chose to let it rock it’s original mid-century vibe, but we think that the rich woodgrain and whimsical fabric will make this set a great addition to anyone’s dining room!
So what do you think? Would you have painted it? Or do you agree that mid-century furniture looks best as-is? Do you ever buy things without your spouse’s knowledge and feel instant regret? Let’s be honest.