L’ ugly chairs, comment contest and a Sign Giveaway!

Good Time Charlie

  1. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says:

    Sometimes it’s just hard to see beyond the brown. I actually think they could be really pretty in white with a great fabric. They would take on a more cottage feel. But I also think they’d be kind of cool put together to make an awesome bench. You are a girl who can work magic. I know they will end up being totally awesome!

  2. Bliss says:

    I am trying to decide if I wanna be Simon Cowel, J Lo, or maybe Sharon Osborn! I know…. I’ll act like Simon, I got the JLo booty, and I’ll speak with a British accent so I can be all three.

    Hope your followers come up with some good stuff so I can be all judgely.


  3. Sandra says:

    I think the backs are too tall. I would cut the backs off just below the upper set of spindles, and paint a wonderful color, with a beautiful fabric to cover the seats. Not sure what to do with the arm chairs, they would not look right with the shorter ones. Maybe leave the backs on those, and paint and upholster them and use them elsewhere? Hey, why are you asking us, you always have such fabulous ideas!

  4. Deb Owen says:

    Chairs with spindles make me cry. Just the thought of the hours of painting involved. This is maybe a long shot but would it be possible to cut out the spindles and make some kind of cushioned back. I am not an upholstery whiz, but maybe someone who is could weigh in on this and help you redesign those backs. Good luck, I know they are going to be gorgeous when you finish them!

  5. Susan Gayton says:

    Gothic Steampunk. Noooooooooooo bones about it. Black paint and funky purple velvet seat fabric. Thinking BeetleJuice the movie kind of vibe.

  6. Okay… So this might sound a wee bit weird, but I see thread spools. I’d paint everything white, but not those thread spools, distress, and then wrap white thread around the “spool-like” parts. Very cottage country. I know you’re more Frenchy, but that’s what I’d totally do to them. Fabric? Cream Canvas. Freezer Paper Transfer wording or an image. Although I do NOT even you painting those chairs one bit! Good luck!!!

  7. you see bones, I see bamboo! how about painting those suckers green and recovering them with an awesome asian silk fabric. or forget about recovering them and rip the seats off and send them outdoors with a big planter set inside of them. Or make it an indoor planter full of actual bamboo! Either way I think ou need to embrace the life in these chairs and see bamboo instead of bones….you are letting your halloween brain get the best of you! 😉

  8. Jan says:

    Not sure how many chairs you have, but I totally see an opportunity to create Halloween chairs. Black with distressing, some nailheads, chain mael (sp?), reappholster the seat fabric with two layers (light silvery sparkly underneath and top with a sheer spider web), yada, yada. Kind of a Miss Havisham meets Frankenstein decor.

  9. DesignStein says:

    Make padded slipcovers for the backs that coordinate with the seat fabric. I also LOVE the ideas above about the thread spools and the bamboo! :o)

  10. DesignStein says:

    Paint the wood in a fun color pulled from the upholstery fabric. Use padded slip covers on the back in a fabric that coordinates with the seat fabric you use.

    I also LOVE the ideas above to do “threaded spools” and “bamboo”!


  11. DesignStein says:

    Sorry everyone! I’m new to the commenting part of blogging – didn’t mean to comment twice (and now three times). Didn’t think it worked the first time. Oops (duh).

  12. sandra k says:

    those chairs are not ugly. they can be very pretty. do not go to cutting anything off. they look like well built chairs and are still in really good shape. i can see spainish chairs, painted black and cushions of black with a red [velvet] design that looks spainish. or what about back during the queen and king days? you could do the beautiful white and golds that they used back then. have some gold tassels hanging off the corners of the cushions on the seat and the back. back in the day you were taught to set up straight as a pole in your chairs while at the dinner table. those back were made to help you do that. i love those chairs and hope you can figure out something you will like for them. with your creating ideas and such a fabulous ideas for design you will be able to fix something beautiful i am sure. can not wait to see them.

  13. Susan G says:

    How about every bone fragment being a different CeCe Caldwells Paint color! The seat Fabric…..well Tie Die, of course!

  14. Carla Stanley says:

    Paint them yellow or red and add tie on slip covers to the backs as well as the seats made out of kitschy tea towel type fabric. Maybe cherries or pears. Give them a retro vibe. With all that color, the ugly will disappear.

  15. I have very ornate chairs in my basement that need to be redone and they sort of remind me of these. One still shows signs of how they originally were (horse hair popping out of the whole in the seat) and all! They originally had gold details on all the spindly parts and red leather seats. Very throne-like, regal and gothic, renessaince(sp?) vibe! You could take them that route as well with some gilding and leather or velvet fabric!

  16. also, love the spool idea! You could hinge the seat and put some kind of basket/storoage area underneath so it could double in a craft room as storage and a seat! You could use an old quit topper to cover the seat or pretty vintage sheets or sewing themed fabric. Heck, you have a whole set! You could do one in each of the idea but I’m not sure how that would work for your giveaway! 🙂

    • and while I’m on the storage idea…the chairs kind of have a Jennt Lind/wood toy/block vibe and you could paint them fun colors for kids room do the same hinged seat/storage container idea and paint the word TOYS (or something else) on the top cross piece.

  17. Catherine says:

    If the chairs are staying with YOU, and you love French (country?)—
    I say—NO paint, the stain is soft and warm!
    —Cut some 1/4″ plywood to create a new “back” for the FRONT side of the chairs.
    —Pad and upholster the plywood with some toile on the front, and a buffalo check on the back that will be seen through the spindles!
    —And add some faux ties for the fun of it–at just the bottoms, or from the top areas of each side, crisscrossing/lacing down to the seats, finished in a draped bow!
    I can totally see Charles Faudree in these chairs–they’re not sO scary!
    If the chairs are going back to your friend–I hope she likes french country too!

  18. Catherine says:

    I guess I should qualify my design idea–
    I was thinking of them like putting on make-up.
    Accentuate, and work WITH what you have–don’t try to camouflage!

  19. Tess says:

    Okay Karen,
    The reader ideas are all just so awesome. How can I even top them? I can’t really, so you guys have your work cut out for you in the decision department. My brain first went to Halloween just like you. But, I’m assuming this set is going back to your friend and she wouldn’t track with the look for long! So, not knowing what her style is (sleek modern, eclectic, french country) I see something standard classy that she can change up when it suits her.

    I see black/ebony modern paint treatment (little if any distressing), with drop cloth slipcovers on the backs and redo same with the cushions. Throw down some amazing graphic on the covers (perhaps the names of the family members in french scripty awesomeness. If the backs are too tall on the chairs, perhaps cutting them down and using those tops to create a one of kind box type decor piece that can be displayed in the center of the table/buffet or elsewhere. Maybe paint that in a modern white, drape burlap inside with some amazing fall display items. At least, this is what I would do…you can always work around white and black when in doubt by mixing up the accessories! Good luck on this one!

  20. Lisa says:

    I can see these being made into a bench just by using the backs including the legs. I would cut the front seat and legs off, then create a rectangle frame to fit in the middle with one chair back on each side. I would also cut off the top rungs of each chair so that it is not to tall. Might be pretty in a grey silver paint.

  21. cassie says:

    i am enjoying reading the comments! keep them coming! i will be britney spears to bliss’ simon cowell. 😉

  22. Venus Cruz says:

    I like these chairs. As said before…..they remind me of wood thread spools. Which I do alot of sewing, so they are right up my ally. Being I like rustic farm look, I would paint white, then put some dark walnut stain, lightly on them, make them look rustic, not a solid color of white. Change out the seat for some dark leather, or burlap looking material and paint solid black numbers on the top piece of wood, either on the front or back………hope to see what you decide to do with them. Enjoy the process.

  23. Amber says:

    After painting them, Can you weave strips of fabric, ribbon, or upholstery webbing back and forth through the spindles to simultaneously hide the spindles AND make it more comfortable to lean against? If not, I suggest padded slipcovers with a box pleat corner!

  24. Jill Flory says:

    I totally saw spools too! Can you tell I’m a seamstress?! I kind of liked the idea of putting thread or twine or something but I think it might be a bit much. I do think some white paint would help – is there any way to take that center horizontal piece out? They are a bit much – can’t say as I like them a lot but I knwo you will do something great with them! You’re the woman for the job!!
    I do like the option of slipcovers for the backs of the side chairs. Maybe covers for them and then just paint the arm chairs. Might help to not have quite so many spindles showing. I have seen the idea of using beautiful white shirts repurposed into slips for the backs of dining chairs. Need a seamstress?!!!

  25. Sleepyheadedmom says:

    This is going to be hard because I am TERRIBLE at explaining things, but I will try…..

    For the arm chair….
    It might be hard to do, but I think taking the legs off of the chair and making it into a little porch or tree swing would be cool. Not sure how exactly I would rig it up but I’m sure it could be done. (maybe weaving rope through it and running the rope through those notches on the bottom of the headrest to hang it).

    for the set of chairs…
    I’m thinking benches, coffee tables or end tables. Rather than just replacing the seats with a long piece of wood, I would use the chair backs as the sides of the bench, or legs on either end of a table.
    Or, you could use the bottom half of the chair backs to make a shorter bench (someplace to stash shoes and whatnot in an entryway or mudroom). You could even do that and stack them and use them as a little shelving unit. If the backs are curved it would just make it a little more interesting.

    Now I feel compelled to go out and but a bunch of ugly chairs just to see if those ideas would look good. lol.

  26. Krista Stenhaug says:

    I decided not to read any other comments so I am hoping that nobody else has had my same vision. I think the chairs are actually beautiful. Guess beauty really is in the eye I the beholder. I can see them painted white and then use the spindles as a place to wrap hand dyed silk ribbon- almost like thread spools or the old bobbins of thread. Could actually wrap the spindles with colors to coordinate with your decor and tie the ends randomly so have little knotted ends to give texture. Could even attach little photo charms tied on or slips of fabric with your favorite words on them. Use your talents with painting words and use he cross pieces and any areas large enough to randomly paint words or poems (would be pretty in black). I would hen recover the seats with maybe a solid cream or black fabric and cover the fabric also with words or maybe even just word (could even be the name of the person who will sit in the chair I’d u have family who likes to sit in the same place at the table). If have extra chair then write “guest” on it and maybe tie a couple of permanent markers to the chair spindles and then your guests could sign the seat or parts of the chair when they sit in it and you would have a living guest book. I think you could have such fun and could even expand this part of he project and let each person use their favorite words or poems on their chair. Becomes much more personal and sort of a living scrapbook. Another way to dress them up would be to use old pieces of jewelry on the parts of the chairs where it wouldn’t affect the comfort-like on the legs and areas where persons body wouldn’t be touching it. Wrap the spindles with old necklaces and glue on old earrings or brooches. Not so much to be overdone but just like you would wear jewelry on your body.

    Another thought that would be more contemporary would be to paint the chairs white or black or if you feel really funky paint each one a different color. Wrap the spindles with strips of leather and either tuck in the ends or tie them in various places so almost looks like fringe. Could then weave seats out of pieces of leather or use old belts and weave in sort of a checkerboard type way for strength and great texture. Buckle the belts on the underside of the chair (nobody wants to sit on belt buckles-or maybe have one chair with huge belt buckles in the seat-for that guest u don’t want to stay long. Tee hee!

  27. Krista Stenhaug says:

    Sorry about some of the weird words in my post. My phone did auto correct in some places and I didn’t realize it. As an additional thought on the leather idea-you could also use the spindles on the back to your advantage and weave old leather belts or leather strips and tie or buckle on back of chair. Would make for a much more comfie chair with sort of a built in webbing support for your back. If did the hand dyed silk ribbon idea u could do the same thing and weave strips of ribbon or fabric and tie in the back of the chair. Great place to then tie on Holyday decorations such as Easter eggs at Easter or little paper Christmas ornaments. Use what you see as flaws in the chair and use them to your advantage!

  28. I think if you started by removing the spindles in-between the cross bars and maybe even all of the cross supports on the backs and the front of the legs, might make it look less cumbersome. Then I would attach all different leather belts to go around the “spools” to make up the back supports and the leg supports.

    BTW, these remind me of spanish style chairs, which might be out of your comfort zone since it isn’t your native language!

  29. I think you could connect all of the chair backs and paint them into a fab headboard. Then you could use all of the chair bases and build a bench at the end of the bed. Wow, you have some fabulous suggestions! It will be a hard choice! Good luck!

  30. Shannon Fox says:

    Just catching up. All the good celebrities are taken… maybe I’ll be the mystery judge? Like some of the suggestions, definitely some original ones!!

  31. TERRY SMITH says:


  32. Can’t wait to see what all of your fabulous readers dream up for these uglies!!

  33. Michelle E. says:

    I would paint it with white milk paint, and recover the seat in black on white toile. Then on the top band of the chair I would stencil a beautiful word in French in black….. yep thats what I’d do

  34. Melody Godwin says:

    I would paint all of the brown a high-gloss white and re-pad and re-upholster the chair pad in beautiful turquoise vinyl or hot pink vinyl

  35. Lizy says:

    My dear Karen (and panel of judges) in all honesty, the only thing that comes to my mind is BONFIRE!!! Darn that chair is ugly!!! I will put it out of it’s misery and burn the baby down under a crisp September night with some hot cocoa and marshmallows oh and a couple of hot dogs too!!!..then the chair will make everybody happy and she will finally rest(snce it’s a chair) in Piece(hehehehe…little ones to toss into the fire pit)!!BUT since I don’t think it’s an option how about going extreme…what do you have to loose anyway…CeCe’s Srping Hill Green…clean, no distressing, with a black and white large gingham pattern….paired with an all black chair would look awesome and modern. Going a bit “wilder” Carolina Sun Yellow with a textured (hair like) zebra fabric.!!! super cool and sexy. Finally since you are Frenchy type of gal…mix some colors and get a fuschia and put some grain sack fabric or fine no scratchy burlap for the bottom…The idea is to bring some vibrancy to this “old” looking, “grandmaish” ready to go out in a “blaze of glory” chair…from the prospect of ashes a Pheonix shall arise..{{{hugs}}} Lizy

  36. Paige says:

    I would probably start by putting on a layer of Simply White, then I would do an ombre effect from the bottom (darker shade, maybe Myrtle Beach Sands if you were going with a tan theme), then gradually build to a color like Vintage White. Of course, it would depend on your color scheme with the table as well. I could also see lightly distressing it as well with dark wax to seal. 🙂

  37. Mschikin (judy) says:

    Well, if you like simplicity you could whitewash them .. if you like translucent, you could use milkpaint .. if you like solids, a high gloss green would be great or paint each spindle, leg etc a different color in either country colors or vivid brights .. so many possibilities

  38. Stephanie says:

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about design and furniture, it’s that beauty and “good” design truly lies in the eye of the beholder! And, it’s all subjective. So, with that being said, if these chairs were mine, I agree that the spindle design resembles bones…at least, in its current state. But, I think the form of the chair can be worked with, and you did mention that the chairs are solid. I’d make them over to be used on a covered porch or in a sunroom.

    So, here’s what I would do to totally make over these chairs: I would start by wrapping the frame, top to bottom, with 3-ply brown rope (manila, jute, or sisal). I’d apply glue first, in 6-inch sections, and coil over the glue as you go. The center section (with 3 spindles) is a perfect place to do some weaving with the rope…to make it look more like a solid panel, and give a little bit of interest. I don’t know what the seat looks like below the cushion, but I would probably remove the cushions, drill holes and add rope supports across the seat bottom opening (the way antique chairs used to be made), and get some bright, fun-patterned outdoor fabric and make seat cushions with ties at the rear corners, to attach to the frame in back.

    I can see these paired with a weathered wood table…And, yes, it would take a lot of rope, but the end result (I think) would be fabulous! Good luck, and thanks for the contest!

  39. I don’t really work with furniture but I think these would be adorable as fall time planters….maybe even create a whole outdoor setup with them. Bury them almost to the seat, take out the seat and plant with flowers or grass. Add some cute little sign and waa-laa a gorgeous garden setting.

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