The Rococo Armchair

Today for your reading pleasure we have a piece I have been calling the Rococo Armchair.  I have no idea what style it truly is but when I saw it I said “That looks Rococo.”  The funny thing is the only thing I remember about that period comes from my college art history courses which had nothing to do with furniture.  Long story short, I made it up.  There you go.

So now on to the makeover.  My friend Dana showed up at my house last year with this chair in her car.  She said someone wanted to throw it away but thought I might love it.  I did love it, in theory.

Let me show you the before pictures so I can explain.

KSD Armchair Before

The chair was pretty beat up but the frame was all sturdy hardwood .  There was this gross black paint covering the wood with a lovely glittery gold paint for detail.  No problem, just strip the pain off right? The problem was this:

KSD Armchair Before c


The entire chair is carved and is very detailed.  The detail almost looks like scales, which is where the second nickname,The Dragon Chair, came from.  I took one look at all that carving and thought that this would take me the rest of my life to finish.  I think the words “labor of love” were actually used.  Except I wasn’t so sure I loved it.

So the chair sat around being pushed aside while I worked on other things I could get done in under a century.  One day I sat in it and started picking at the paint on the arm and I discovered 2 things.  First, the chair was comfortable and regal.  Second, under the back paint there looked to be really nice wood.  Well you can imagine how my curiosity now became the driving force.

I finally put it on the work bench and started pulling the upholstery.  I thought this would be the easy part. Hahahahahahahaha.  After literally hours pulling hundreds of tiny staples I was excited to be getting somewhere when this happened.

KSD Armchair Before 2 I mean are you freaking kidding me?  Another layer of ugly fabric that totally doesn’t match the chair???  After more time and staples than I care to think about the upholstery was all off.

Next I slathered Soygel all over it and hoped for the best.   In fairness, the paint on the flat surfaces came off pretty easily.  The carved parts, no.  I sat there with a soft toothbrush and dental tools working to get everything out of the crevices.   Somewhere in my delirium it occured to me that maybe I should leave some of it alone.  I had planned to use some kind of glaze to highlight the carving so instead I thought I would leave some of the old paint to do that job instead.

The leftover paint gives a worn old world look on the beautiful, very blonde wood and really shows all the carvings you barely noticed before.  I finished the wood with a few coats of PolyWhey in Satin for floors.  The floor finish gives a duller more waxed look then the furniture finish does which I thought worked with the old world thing. To really showcase the carving (and not compete like the previous fabrics did), I upholstered with solid black organic cotton.  Here is the after.

KSD Armchair 1


A close up:

KSD Armchair 2 And the back:

KSD Armchair 5


Now this chair is ready for a glamorous new life.  It has such a grand feeling and when you sit in you feel like you should have an evening gown on and be holding a glass of champagne.   I really do love it but TB may leave me if I tell him I want to keep it.

If you love it too, pop over to The Shop where it is listed for sale.

Linking up here:

So you Think You’re Crafty

Redoux Interiors

The Shabby Creek Cottage

House of Hepworths

My Repurposed Life

Miss Mustard Seed


  1. Betsy

    Wow, a real labor of love indeed. You can see all the detail now…great job!

    1. The Ridiculous Redhead (Post author)

      Thanks Betsy!

  2. Jenna

    Gorgeous! Love it! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

  3. Jayne

    WOW! That chair looks beautiful, what a great job you did, I don’t know if I could have stuck it out like you did 🙂

  4. Maureen

    It looks beautiful! I especially love the ‘scales’!

  5. karen

    Pulling staples is the worst! I love the way it turned out. Thanks for sharing at Redoux!

  6. gail

    love the details, glad you decided to stop, and make it easy on yourself. 🙂
    catching you!

  7. Pingback: Catch as Catch Can 128

  8. Gillianne

    One word: stunning. And just my style for adding interest to a room done in textured neutrals. Sadly, if I brought that handsome chair into my house, 2 others would have to leave (I live with a minimalist). Often, simple really is best.

  9. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life

    This chair is totally awesome and wow, you really did a fantastic job on redoing it. Such wonderful detail. Hugs, Marty

  10. Pauline

    This chair is lovely and your time and energy certainly paid off, i have bought a lovely chair with lots of detail in the wood and im tempted to keep it as natural asbi can, i know people are painting these wonderful chairs but i think they look very nice in orginal wood

  11. Caleb

    Great job bringing the beautiful chair back to life. It looks great.


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