What do you see cluttering up the corner of my dining room?? Eight, yes eight antique mahogany "Duncan Phyfe" dining chairs!
If you saw a post a few months ago, you will remember that Luis was planning to make some chairs for my dining table similar to ones we saw at World Market. In the meantime, I have four leather parsons chairs, and a bench with it. My plan was to add two more leather parsons chairs so I would have three on each side, then the new chairs at each end. Ok, that was months away from actually happening! I am planning a tea for some ladies at church, and thought they would not be very comfortable climbing on the bench, so I was looking around for some "extra" chairs that were not too large and really cheap. Amazingly, I found on Craig's List a Duncan Phyfe (style) double pedestal mahogany table with 8 chairs all for $125!! Yes, $125!! Do I need another table, no. But, I will use it somewhere! But just look at these chairs...
There was only one armchair...
Just look at the lines on this chair...I LOVE this empire style.
Here is a little background on Duncan Phyfe. He was born in 1768 in Scotland and died Aug. 16, 1854 in New York, N.Y. His family settled in Albany, N.Y., in 1784; there he became an apprentice cabinetmaker and eventually opened his own shop. In 1792 he moved to New York City, where he changed the spelling of his name and became so successful that he employed 100 carvers and cabinetmakers. He was one of the first Americans to use the factory method of manufacturing furniture successfully. Though he did not originate a new furniture style, he interpreted fashionable European styles— Sheraton, Regency, Directoire, Empire—with such grace that he became a major exponent of Neoclassicism. His furniture, decorated with typical period ornaments such as harps and acanthus leaves, was generally of high-quality mahogany.
His designs enjoyed popularity in American furniture factories early in the 19th century. These chairs were manufactured by Tomlinson of High Point, N.C., and were made in 1938. Here are some more examples of his style:
The chair on the right is an actual Phyfe chair. There are not very many around, mostly copies from the early 20th century.
This lovely piece below sold for $42,000!
Now that we've had our history lesson and seen the before, let's get to the after! I sanded each chair, then stained with a rubbing stain and finish combination. I then reupholstered the seat bottoms, after my husband lovingly stripped them of the two layers of upholstery and lots of nails.
Ta da!!! We are in love with these chairs! I love dark, rich wood, and this mahogany makes my heart sing:-)
We will use the parsons chairs at each end and six of these...
I wanted to show you my inspiration for this makeover. This photo shows a house in Bermuda in a 1995 issue of Colonial Home. I kept it because I loved so many things in this issue, and I liked this simple centerpiece. I used my Fostoria Baroque candleholders for my simplified version with wood ferns and some moss.
More inspiration photos from a house in Cuba as photographed for the book "Cuban Elegance" by Michael Conners available here. See the beautiful line of the chairs?
I added the single candleholders after I bought more candles:-)
This is what happens when you need new chairs! I love antiques, but what I love is restoring them to their original glory and giving them more life. I hope you are inspired to take something old and gently make it new again:-)
I will be linking up to Susan's Metamorphosis Monday over at "Between Naps on the Porch." I am also linking up for the first time to "Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays" at Coastal Charm, hosted by Linda, and Debbiedoos "Garage Salen partay!" Looking forward to seeing more great transformations and thrifty finds!