Orange Chair Makeovers

If you've been following the blog or my Instagram for a couple of years, you may remember these orange chairs we took from the abandoned house next door, that just so happened to be owned by our former landlord (yes, you read all of that correctly.)

In a nutshell, our landlord was cleaning out the house next door to sell it. I saw these chairs that had been sitting in a dusty, dirty, abandoned house for 20+ years and said "MINE, ALL MINE!" We loved the midcentury design and were willing to look past the bad shape they were in, in hopes that we could revitalize them someday.

There was no label on the chairs, except a small metal plate on the bottom of the seats that said "Directional," which didn't really yield us any Google results. Then Brynne from The Gathered Home featured them on her blog and did a little research herself. Turns out they are in the style of Norman Cherner Side/Pretzel Chairs. We're thinking Directional may be the brand/designer? Either way, chairs of this style are worth a pretty penny. It was a good score.

Fast forward two years. We've worked on the chairs intermittently over the past couple years but it was never a project we sunk our teeth into. Ultimately we knew we wanted to showcase the pretty wood as best as possible (no painting) and we wanted to reupholster the seats, but keep them orange. Basically we wanted the chairs to look similar, but just nicer and in better shape.

So finally, when we bought our house and decided to create a music room for Nick, I knew that these chairs would look beautiful against navy blue walls. With a purpose in mind, we set out to get the chairs completed, and here they are!

We started by completely disassembling the chairs and giving them a good cleaning. We used aluminum foil to remove the rust from the legs and then spray painted them with silver/metallic spray paint. Nick sanded down the wooden bases and patched up all of the wood that was broken off or peeling. We stained the wood in our go-to Minwax Early American (which we also used on the legs of our record shelf.) Finally, we reupholstered the seats with this fun orange fabric from Jo-Ann. It feels like we brought these babies into our apartment forever ago, but they're finally, finally done!

The chairs have been such a great addition to the music room and we love the complementary blue/orange & dark wood vibes going on in there. That's one more thing checked off the music room to-do list - almost done!

Sarah & Nick


  1. WOW..these look so amazing! Great job giving them a new life :)

    1. Hi Gretchen - thanks so much! It took us forever, but I'm glad they're finally done! :)