Windsor chairs for cheap

Last month I bought some magazines for a plane flight and read a Real Simple article about Windsor chairs. They were all adorable, especially a mismatched shiny black group (see below). And then I mentally gave myself a high-five and had to  resist the urge to turn to the stranger next to me and say, “See THIS?! I was on to this whole chair-trend like a month ago!! So silly how much a magazine can validate your choice of furniture and fashion, but there’s no denying the fun of seeing your choice in print. I’d meant to post a couple apartment projects, and now that they’re Real-Simple-approved, I think it’s time. 🙂

(c) Real Simple - Best Windsor Chair

(c) Real Simple - Best Windsor Chair

When we first arrived we tried using Craigslist to locate some much-needed furniture. But after two failed attempts at finding the seller (why do so many Boston intersections lack signage?) we gave up.  I went to a very hip used furniture store run by a slick salesman who knows what he’s doing (plain pieces painted bright colors, given glass knobs, and reupholstered in vintage prints) but he wanted $125 PER kitchen chair and…they just didn’t seem worth it.

At an antique store between home and work I found a set of four windsor chairs. They were dusty, rickety, and some of the bars were taped to keep the wood from splitting. BUT they were $35 for the whole set. I bought woodglue, sandpaper and paint and had myself a big project for the next few days.

Sanding the chairs

Sanding the chairs and securing all the joints with wood glue

Wrong color

Two coats of "saffron", which was later covered by two coats of "merlot"

The first color – “saffron” – was great in theory but looked awful next to the kitchen hutch. The second – a deep wine color – was just right. A pint was plenty. Martha Stewart paints had the prettiest colors so I gave them a try, but we weren’t impressed with the paint quality. I bought a discard gallon of Behr that we used to repaint the hutch, and the quality of that paint was much better.

So here you go…a glimpse of the new kitchen set-up. The troll picture atop the hutch is our favorite part – we stole it from Read’s mom’s house and I just don’t think it’s coming back (sorry Sally!).

new kitchen in Boston

And here they are in the kitchen!



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  5. Mark · January 16, 2011

    I love how the chairs turned out. Excellent choice on the second color and they look so great in your kitchen! See sometimes a little hard work really does pay off.

    • foxflat · January 16, 2011

      Thanks Mark! As good as the first color looked on the swatch, the second one is much better on the chairs

  6. bonniehull · November 4, 2010

    Looking good…but that “saffron” was pretty nice….like seeing the “locator” gray house out the window…and love the hutch color…have you called Real Simple??

    • Katie · November 4, 2010

      The saffron WAS nice Bonnie, but next to the celery hutch they looked like four gigantic carrots!! That hutch is my prized find…even if the drawers are rusted out and don’t open. I almost cried when it wouldn’t fit up the stairs. But my dad helped us crowbar it in two and then reassemble it once in the kitchen.

  7. Sally · November 4, 2010

    And they’re beautiful in person, too! Well done, Katie and Janet. But I want to see you stack them all up like they did in the Real Simple ‘zine!

    • Katie · November 4, 2010

      hahaha I do something like that when I scrub the floor! But it doesn’t look as artsy

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