Saturday, 6 February 2010


These two chairs are a prime example of what is known around here as the Lilie Road look. Which is always used in the pejorative as it represents a... for the lack of a better word... style that is completely lacking in substance.

Chairs like these are toshed out by the hundreds. They are either so crudely made or so far gone they are not worth restoring properly. Instead, they get a slap of cheap emulsion and a shoddy re-cover in calico or linen and presto... shabby masquerading as chic.

The chairs are first primed with a liquid sand solution, allowed to dry, and then repainted by dry brushing on two different shades of white. The recessed areas are roughly painted with a red oxide colour to approximate exposed bole, the base used in water gilding. The areas in high relief are then sanded back to expose some of the grey and some of the raw wood. Three coats of wax in two different shades are then applied.

To combat the expanse of Belgian linen that is the sofa in this particular project, a raspberry cotton/viscose striƩ velvet was chosen for the squabs and backs.

As there was no support under the padding, new wooden insets needed to be installed prior to the upholstery work being done. Had these chairs been of a superior quality I would have advised that the seats be re-caned as they would have been originally.

No silk purse these, but not quite the sow's ears they were either. Now, I can happily stand by them.

Now playing: Amy Winehouse - Rehab
via FoxyTunes


little augury said...

gorgeous wax job. you have the touch-if you did them. perfectly respectable and more. your posts are too infrequent! love the new heading too.pgt

An Aesthete's Lament said...

My spouse and I recently saw chairs in a similarly bastard Louis-the-Who style at a small-town auction in upstate New York. Labels on the cane-backed chair and settee indicated they were made by a Paris firm called Bedel (I think that's right). I nearly succumbed but ultimately decided I couldn't conjure up enough courage.

Reggie Darling said...

Ah yes, I know such chairs well. In our neck of the woods they are referred to as in the style of Louis Farouk.

soodie :: said...

we call them "louis louis" chairs. sometimes all three louis-styles can be found in one chair.

what an EXCELLENT post and point!

Jill said...

I have two french walnut caned chairs that I adore. I had them refinished and mended (they were in such poor shape), but I left the tattered caning and covered them in Fortuny. They are my favorite chairs!

HOBAC said...

Jill - walnut, a choice of the more select pieces. These are rough pine, though the caning is superb. I doubt caners of yore charged the equivalent of today's going rate of £1.50 per hole.

Fortuny. Yum.

Jill said...

Part of the reason I didn't have them re-caned!