We’ve done some updates in the dining room that I’m VERY happy with and it was time to share. Naturally, we aren’t done so this is not a reveal, just a fun process post.
Here’s what it used to look like:
Now to be fair, typically there are two chairs on the ends and four on the sides, but the chairs blocked the architecture of the table which is my favorite part.
(Above was before we reupholstered the chairs in Crypton fabric).
Now, I liked everything up there, but the arms of the chairs were getting so disgusting from the kids’ hands and I was having to clean them too often. They would clean up well, but it did become another job that I had to do. Plus, the chairs just felt so basic and while they were comfortable and simple, I knew they could be cooler. I’ve been chasing the “super stylish and comfortable” dining chair for years now and will likely never find that combination. Generally, it’s because I like the look of sculptural chairs which inherently are less comfortable than large-scale upholstered numbers.
I wasn’t looking to change them out, but I always have my eye out for cool, vintage, chairs that are still comfortable and work with the stools and the table.
I tried mixing them up with vintage wood chairs but it looked better in a photo than it did in real life (it just looked a bit messy and unintentional).
A while ago at the flea market, I spotted from afar, six upholstered Cherner armchairs and darted instantly towards them, knowing they were mine. I’ve wanted them since I was 25. In case you don’t know how rare that is, trust me it’s SO HARD TO FIND. You can find single Cherner chairs relatively easily, but finding SIX UPHOLSTERED ones and having them all be the armchair version (versus just the side chairs) is HUGE. Normally they’d be anywhere from $6k – $10k for a set on 1stdibs. They had just come out of the truck and as I was buying them so many people came over to the booth to ask about them and everyone was so bummed that I had snagged them. I couldn’t pay fast enough. They were still expensive, at $2,200 for the set, but like I said it’s such a steal and they are one of those things that we could eventually sell and even make money off if we needed to in the future.
Why do I love them so much? I suppose the beautiful line of the bentwood and the scale. They are simple (meaning that the eye has an easy job understanding them) but so unique. And because they are bentwood, I think they are hard to knock off so I won’t deal with them being everywhere (thank goodness). They are a classic and just so sculptural.
The downside: Due to their age they are super creaky…and no, they aren’t as comfortable as our old chairs but I think once there is new upholstery and padding, they will get closer.
Sitting in a creaky chair is more annoying than you might think and we TRY to ignore it but sometimes, if the kids are moving and shuffling around too much in them, I just want to snap “STOP MOVING!!!” It’s very confronting to know that you intentionally bought some expensive, uncomfortable, un-returnable, creaky chairs for your family.
But I’m REALLY REALLY hoping that I can get them upholstered and restored to be more comfortable (more padding) and not creaky.
There has GOT to be a way to reinforce them, right? If anyone knows anyone in the LA area who can restore these so they aren’t creaky, please let me know.
We also updated the table: A few months ago, we sanded off the stain on the top of the table, making it SO much prettier. Right now it isn’t sealed and while it does pick up some stains, it doesn’t bother me at all. The base is a bit darker and I like that, too. It’s a pretty light pine and I like it so much more than the more orange stain that was on it.
The light: We switched out the big pleated pendant for this triple pendant fixture that I got on Chairish (for $375).
The old one was kinda big and made it strangely hard to shoot. We were always trying to minimize it and avoid it so for a recent shoot I put in this one and I suppose I like the micro-pendants better and they still work so well with the other lighting in the kitchen.
So the question remains: How do we reupholster these Cherner chairs?
I actually secretly love this bright blue, but the fabric is in terrible condition.
We could keep it classic with black leather or vinyl, but now that I’m used to a bright color on them, I might miss it!
I hadn’t thought about a brown or camel leather, but that could be really tonal and pretty.
I could always go with a similar fabric that the chairs currently have in a bright blue, but this is a bit too bright for me…
By the way, it was super hard to find any inspiration photos of colorful upholstery on the chairs. Are people not doing this?
I suppose leather or vinyl will be the best choice with kids so I need to go shopping. I guess if there was a really beautiful slate blue leather I could see that looking good, but camel leather could be so pretty.
I’d love to hear your opinion: you see we really have the stools and the island color to work with, and I want to keep it classic and simple, not do any pattern or anything too dramatic.
Thoughts? And do you even like my creaky 60-year-old expensive “dream” chairs?? I’ve just wanted these for so long and I INSIST on making them work. Everytime I’m at my friend’s house (who is borrowing my old chairs until I want them back), I am jealous of how comfortable they are and I know that Brian is, so let’s hope the upholstery can add more foam and the restorer can reinforce the wood and get rid of all the squeaks and creaks…
***photography by Veronica Crawford for EHD