1.23.2012

Making Floral Chintz Work in an Eclectic Decor



Do you ever fall for something that is out?  Something that conventional wisdom says to change, but you just
still really like and want to try to make work even if it's out of style?  This happened to me recently with a gloriously dated floral chintz.

Here's the situation:  After switching my office and dining rooms, I was left with a couple of odd pieces, two matching club chairs.  Eventually each found a home in a corner of the two rooms, corners where I had never had chairs.  Surprisingly, I found I loved having them in these spots (surprising because the placement was one of desperation), and when I ended up moving the two chairs upstairs to our sitting room, I needed to find inexpensive replacements.  I found one here, but needed another chair for the dining room.
The dining room reading nook at one point.  The chair and portrait moved to the upstairs den, the lamp to the piano, and the 50s console to the office.

Luckily, a friend had an old wing chair stored in her attic and wanted to get rid of it, so I scored it for free.  I knew that it was in a dark floral chintz, but I planned to slipcover it or even try my hand at painting the fabric after seeing that done successfully on a couple of blogs, so I didn't mind about the dated fabric.  Only one problem; after seeing the chair in person,  I actually kind of fell hard for the  floral chintz fabric, which was in perfect condition.
a sad chair in a sad corner.
Cleo had no idea why, since we already have a comfy sofa, I needed more seating.

Now, I like pattern, and I like florals, even old-fashioned ones, but I've never used a lot of pattern in my own house.  But somehow, I find patterns sneaking into every room of this bungalow, and of all things, several are floral.  Even more surprising, was when I got the chair home, I realized that the scale and color of the pattern was perfect.  And recently, I think as a backlash to all the neutral, belgian inspired rooms I've been seeing, I've been craving a more English cottage look, which was my first design love.  Specifically an English country look with pattern, books, photos, flowers, and colorful clutter all over.  So while I reserve my right to paint or cover my chair later, for now, I decided to try to make the floral work.
I used leftover paint in Sherwin Williams Casablanca to paint the legs.


My first decision was to paint the tired brown legs white.  This tied it to its orange cousin which you can see at the same time.   Side note:  another bonus for using the wing chairs in my reading corners  is that since they are both dining height, I can use them as host and hostess chairs when I need seating for six.  Just like it did to the other wing chair, the white paint immediately brightened the fabric and gave the chair a fresh look.
a new large scale graphic painting I created for the space.


My next decision was to add some graphic elements to add a little edge to the floral to keep it from being too sweet and  too cliche cottage.  I painted a large graphic painting based on Katrina x's (the notations used by the national guard on flooded homes) and sewed a kidney pillow out of the same chevron used on the bench in the adjoining living room.  For flexibility (translation:  I ran out of fabric), I backed it in a contrast black and white paisley print.

A new pillow in a graphic yellow/white chevron print

the black and white paisley reverse of the pillow.


I gave the side table a coat of fresh green paint, added a fiddle leaf fig in a galvinized container, and voila:  a fresh new setting for floral.

fresh coat of green for side table.  note....i need another coat and to silver leaf knob, but that can wait.








This shot from the living room, gives you an idea how nicely the chair and table tuck unobtrusively into the corner by the non-working fireplace.  A new pillow from a remnant in the white club chair picks up the colors in the floral print and green table.
It's a dreary overcast day, so I shot this using incandescent light.  The wall color, blonde by sherwin williams, is not quite as yellow as it looks in the photos.  It's more off a dull, slightly greenish, gold.

A view from the office.





Cleo remains unimpressed with the new decor.  But in a sidenote, see how well animal print goes with vintage floral?

Is this the fabric I would have selected if I could have any fabric in the world?  No.  But somehow, I've always preferred my interiors to be like this---a mishmash of planning, careful selection, and serendipity.  I guess because I prefer the personal and unique above almost anything else (except, perhaps, comfort) in decor, I delight in anything that makes my house different.  And I'm pretty sure nobody else is adding floral chintz wing chairs to their dining room....and that makes me happy, no matter what Cleo thinks.


Submitted to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch and Mod Monday Mix and Mod Vintage life.


4 comments:

Patti said...

I Like the subtle change of the chair! and that green end table - love it!

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Karla Medina said...

I love your doggie pictures. Adorable. Second I like the way you go about decorating and placing items in your home. I have a hard time. I'm always afraid I doing it "wrong". Thanks so much for your advice on my side table. It was all very useful and I really appreciate it. :)

Your green table is amazing by the way. Love the table itself and the color. I'm really liking the large sketches I see around your house too :D

Vickie H. said...

Mitchell, you are SUCH a TALENT!!! I love that you put your very own personal stamp on your home...which is EXACTLY as it should be! Love the chintz chair...thank you did an admirable job of making it all work and look so comfortable! That green table is a BOLD and BEAUTIFUL step! I would have NEVER had the courage, were it mine! Perfection!

Bono said...

I have gone through your article and found it very amazing particularly the pictures you have taken for your work, it is really incredible job. I really love your pictures especially green table, a room picture with a face painting picture and mostly the dogie picture.

Linda@ white painted furniture