Recently we sold three straight dining room sets. The first wasn’t stable enough, the Mid Century chairs on the second one were super uncomfortable, and finally, the third set wasn’t big enough. We were left with a big hole in our living room!
After about an hour of wondering where we would eat dinner that night, I jumped on Craigslist and looked under FREE, TABLE AND CHAIRS. Bam! A few minutes later we found ourselves driving up to Los Altos to nab this set off a suburban curb. High-fiving it was still there, we threw it in the SUV. The Bernhardt dining room set was vintage, most likely from the early 1970s. It was an amazing set to pick up for free!
The 4th of July we woke up and decided to not be like the rest of the Bay Area and skipped all the traffic heading to the beach. We confirmed our soul mate status by painting the table and chairs. The middle leaf didn’t match the table anymore so we decided a couple coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint would do it up right.
We used two coats of Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint. We didn’t sand anything before, just after to distress it. I hate painting chairs, so my man got started on them, setting up a chair assembly line.
While the Waverly fabric on the chairs was nice for grandma ($55 a yard!), it didn’t go with our color scheme in the living room. A day earlier, using my arm to measure the chairs seats prior to going into the fabric store, we bought 1 5/8 yard of fabric at Joann’s.
Once the chair’s were distressed, I started putting the fabric on the chairs. Soon, I was gritting my teeth in anger.
Tip – DON’T EVER USE YOUR ARM TO MEASURE ANYTHING !!! EVER NEVER EVER! My mom has sewed her entire life and even though she tried to make me feel better later, I know she was thinking “I raised her better than that!” We needed 2 yards and not 1 5/8! That 3/8 of a yard would have made a HUGE difference (13 inches)! Duh!
The next morning we headed up to Joann’s to buy the fabric again. This time we took the seat cover with us! We signed Nick up for Joann’s alerts so we could get 20 percent off! Once I had the fabric home, I started stapling it on the chair seats. It was super easy to do with a heavy stapler.
Once the fabric was stapled all the way around, I started putting the screws in the bottoms. It was super easy with an electric screwdriver.
I made a video while I was working as well. Note: I was watching “Flea Market Flip” while doing all the chairs.
After doing the same thing six times (cut, staple, screw), the chair seats were done. The whole set turned out terrific. It all coordinated perfectly ! It’s not a bad dining room set for free + the fabric times two!
Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.
An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.