I had purchased a pair Ethan Allen Josephine armchairs for cheap off Craigslist a while back with the intention to refinish and reupholster them for our dining room.They sat in my basement for nearly a year before I finally got around to them. At some point, they had been painted gold with the original red lacquer seeping through. Plus, they were covered in an odd blue-silver crushed velvet. Overall, not a pretty sight, but a little TLC would do them wonders.
I removed all of the existing fabric and spent what seems like hours removing all the old staples. Next, I started removing as much of the old paint and lacquer with some stripper and some scraping tools. After a few rounds, I sanded the less intricate details by hand to get most of the red bits out. Then, I used a Dremel to really get into the detailed flower carvings and finer details of the legs.
I cleaned everything off and began the staining process. I wanted a darker color to contrast with our lighter oak floors, but not totally ebony. I feel that it’s better to have some contrast than be slightly off. I applied a first run of english walnut stain from the local big box store to get the depth I wanted. After letting it sit for a day, I applied a warmer reddish walnut stain to get a warm richness. I let them sit for a few days to fully cure since the humidity was high after several days of rain. I applied three coats of satin poly with light fine sanding in between for a smooth, durable finish.
I didn’t want the chairs to be too formal (pretty traditional in shape) and for them to have a bit of fun. The winner was fabric I found from Rifle Paper Co. because it reminded me of whimsy Scandinavian illustrations. J helped me stretch the fabric and staple it to the frame. It’s a little hard to do yourself and requires more hand strength than I have. I grabbed a spool of upholstery cording and made miles of trim. After gluing the trim on and nearly a year later, I was finally done.
J and I were invited to a destination wedding in Colorado for some friends from the Midwest. The trip was short; leaving on a Thursday and coming back late Saturday with all Sunday to relax at home. We flew in early the day before the ceremony and took the opportunity to sightsee in downtown Denver. It was amazingly hot compared to our cooler (and lately rainy) coastal climate and was much welcomed.
Our drive was the farthest west J has ever been and he was impressed with how the Rockies seemed to just suddenly erupt from the plains. After checking into our rooms, we met up with our couple and family/friends on the edge of the Rockies for dinner at a small brewpub/steakhouse in Idaho Springs.
We woke up in the dark the next day to take the auto road to the top of Mount Evans for dawn photos. The drive up was slightly terrifying in the dark, but well worth the sunrise views. Afterwords, we headed down to Echo Lake for the ceremony and breakfast.
After, we did a little more sightseeing at Red Rock and had lunch with an old friend of J’s before saying good by to our newlyweds at their cabin and heading home. It wasn’t our most relaxing vacation, but has encouraged J to try new adventures.
Happy weddings & travels.
After a recommendation from a friend, I decided to video parts of my day in the hopes I’ll be able to look back at all the new experiences, new projects, and time spent with friends and family. Big moments for this month:
- A first birthday for a pair of cuties.
- A wedding in Colorado.
- Finally have our warm growing season (it’s so green!).