I’ve been fantasizing about reupholstering this set of antique oak (Queen Anne?) dining chairs I inherited from my mother when she moved to North Carolina this year.  Here’s a couple of them – the rest are acting as bedroom furniture:

Dining room After - with rug

A few weeks ago, I came across the Calico Corners website (wasn’t that a country-cheesy catalog back in the 80’s? I think my parents ordered from it…).  There I saw and fell in love with Annie Selke’s line of bright, India-inspired fabrics, so I ordered a few samples.

Anuj was concerned.  Where did I think I was going to put this fabric?  I’d never upholstered anything before.  ‘I sewed in junior high school’, I replied in my defense.  ‘I was a Future Homemaker of America.’  (I really was, for about half the school year.  Let’s just say it didn’t exactly help in the popularity department).  When I told him it was for the dining chairs, he let it go.  See, Anuj doesn’t like the dining chairs: he thinks they’re country-cheesy, and the legs and seat are coming apart so they’re not even safe to sit in.  As far as Anuj was concerned, there was no plan to feature them in the house.  And my samples?  They were yet another fantasy of mine that I would forget in two months.

I, however, am hatching a plan to transform them from their tired, wobbly status into chic, contemporary conversation-starters.  I’m going to reupholster the seats (easy for newbies, right?), and either restain or paint the chairs.  Then they might look something like this:


Now, I’m not crazy about the fabric-paint combo, but you get the idea.

Anyway, I got the opinions of Anuj and friends who were up for New Year’s Eve and the consensus was Annie Selke’s ‘Scramble’ in Slate:


No sooner than that was decided then my February issue of House Beautiful arrives in the mail.  What’s on the cover?


Yep, a set of dining chairs upholstered in Annie Selke’s ‘Scramble’ in Slate.  I take this as a sign.  (I know, I know, I had a ‘sign’ last month, too.  I’m not going Shirley MacLaine or anything, I think the universe is just spinning in my direction lately).  I won’t be stealing the whole look, but overall, this completely validates my choice and inspires me to tackle the project tout de suite.

Also: I now have a visual to help Anuj imagine our chairs in their new look.  Now, if I can just get this fabric from Calico Corners before it sells out…