1920’s Vintage Vanity Chair & Best Garbage Pick Yet!

I was dressed up, thus reluctant to stop, but I couldn’t help myself!

Last year I was on my way to work. I was dressed in a suit, heels on, make up done, good hair day. Of course, I drove by a neighbor’s house and saw what Karen and I would call a “picker’s dream”: farm tools, antiques and furniture… curbside for garbage day!

I am so glad my fear of being spotted by someone I know didn’t stop me. I hit the jackpot! I have to say that I think this was my best garbage pick yet, my favorite item ended up being this unique wooden 1920’s vintage vanity chair:

vanity chair first before pic

I still can’t believe someone would set this out for garbage day. I filled up my SUV and by the end of my “pickin”, I was perspiring (okay, maybe I was sweating).

I couldn’t contain my excitement so I stopped at Mamita’s (my mom’s) before I went into work. I wanted to show her all of my finds and see if she could tell me what some of the items were.

You see, I used to cringe when Mamita wanted to garbage / tree lawn pick. This habit of mine is probably just a few years old. So on this day I had to let Mamita know that I finally embraced her habit! The item I wanted to share the most with her was the chair.

We had a hard time figuring out the era and style. I had someone describe the chair as having restrained cabriole legs and the back as scroll and acanthus carvings with lattice work. Okay, that was a start. I posted a picture of the chair in an Antique Community on Google+ and someone else told me they would place the chair from the 1920’s or 1930’s.

Another antique community member told me that the chair stumped her so she reached out to a few colleagues and this is what she had to say about their responses:

“Some people said it was either a vanity chair like we thought, or a slipper chair. Either way, their styles could be made randomly to match the vanity. There was also the thought that the style was a peacock chair which is usually a style from Canada but not normally wood. It doesn’t seem to fit a specific mold which means you have something pretty unique here as far as looks.”

No clear answers, but I didn’t care because this vintage vanity chair was getting a second chance!

This is what I was dealing with: the back was broken off the frame. So sad, but I knew Mamita could fix it.

vanity chair broken back

The upholstery was old and dirty and the springs in the chair were damaged. On the bright side, the casters were in good condition, and the rest of the woodwork was in good shape.

 vintage vanity chair casters

Here is a step-by-guide of how we resurrected this sweet little chair:  

Step 1: I took the chair to Mamita to disassemble it. She took the upholstery off and removed the springs and filling from the seat

vintage  vanity chair stripped

Step 2: Mamita repaired the broken back… and kept reminding me how much she loves me to go through all of this work. :) 

How she repaired the back: She used Gorilla Glue and finishing nails to reattach the back to the arms, she then used clamps to keep them together until the glue dried. I used wood filler to fill in the hole from the nail head, and to fill in some of the gaps where the wood was broken. Once the wood filler dried, I sanded it and we were ready for the next step.

vintage  vanity chair wood filler repair

Step 3: Mamita enlisted the help of my brother Ruben (family project!) to cut a piece of wood to create a new seat.

vintage vanity chair with new plywood seat

Step 4: I came up with a design plan and ordered fabric on ETSY.

vintage vanity chair fabric

Step 5: I took the chair home, sanded it primed it and painted itfirst with a chalk paint, but I quickly realized a matte finish would not look good on this chair

vintage vanity chair primed

Step 6: I switched to a satin latex paint, the same grey Karen used on the floral piano bench.

vintage vanity chair painted

Step 7: I took the chair back to Mamita. She added foam and batting to the seat and upholstered it.

Mamita is not going to be happy that I’m sharing this, but let’s just say her first attempt at upholstering this vintage vanity chair resulted in my Uncle Eddie naming the chair “The Hamburger Chair”. Way overstuffed. I don’t think I have ever laughed (with tears) so much in my life. Mamita redeemed her upholstery skills and came through for me… the second time around!)

Step 8: I brought the chair back home and carefully added a coat of polycrylic to protect the paint and make it a bit glossier.

 vintage vanity chair with polycrylic

Step 9: I bought pom pom trim in a matching cream color and glued it on around the base of the chair.

 vintage vanity chair pom pom trim

Step 10: Excitement! This chair clearly took some man, I mean, woman power.  I’ve heard people describe the work that Karen and I do as a “labor of love”.  They are probably right, but all of the combined hours of work on this chair were worth it.

vintage vanity chair after

Step 11: Get our cute little cousin over to show how fabulous this chair really is.

UPLOADING  1 / 1 – vintage vani…ir model.jpg ATTACHMENT DETAILS  vintage vanity chair model

Isn’t she adorable??

Vintage Vanity Chair (sold!)

Seat height is approximately 16″

vintage vanity chair before and after

 Happy Salvaging! -Kathy

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    • Margaret Siemers says:

      I am so pleased to see the wonderful job you and your family did on this little Mystery chair. I had wondered if you ever found out what it was, and if you were able to fix it.

      Repurposing damaged items is a talent, you definitely do have that talent. I would rather see something wonderful like this saved than on the garbage pile.

      • The Salvaged Boutique says:

        Thank you, Margaret. And thank you again for trying to help us figure out the mystery. I agree, I am just happy I didn’t keep driving that morning. Otherwise this chair didn’t stand a chance :)

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      We are lucky to have you as a friend and as a customer, Shan. I know you will take care of this little beauty! :)

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Pam! Thank you so much and thank you for giving us the opportunity to link up. By the way, LOVE your website header! -Kathy

  1. Courtney Conover says:

    Okay, first off, you had me at “good hair day.” That puts EVERYTHING in perspective for me. lol

    Secondly, I in no way possess the talent that you two have in the refurbishing department, but I found myself identifying with several things throughout this post — one of which is the term “picker’s dream.” I have a similar term that I use to describe dream items I find on eBay that don’t have any bidders: I call them “sleepers.”

    I am in awe of that “new” chair, and, particularly, that side-by-side photo at the end.

    This is awesome.

    Stopping by from SITS. :-)
    Courtney Conover recently posted…How do you curb your enthusiasm?My Profile

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      “You had me at good hair day”….so funny! Too bad with the heat and humidity my good hair went out the window. But it was still worth the mess of my hair, or what Mamita would call a “sereta”. Make sure you roll the R 😉

      Thanks again for visting! -Kathy

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Stephanie and thanks! We really changed it up but I thought it was a fun little look for the chair

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Leigh! So funny! I sometimes wonder where we find the time too….many late nights and very early mornings! Thanks for the comment :)

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Thanks, Jennifer! It was a “garbage” jackpot for sure. That probably sounds like an oxymoron, huh? We hope you have a great weekend too!

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Thanks, Stephanie! Funny thing is we still make plenty of mistakes. My Mom actually overstuffed the chair the first time around. My uncle called it the “hamburger chair”…pretty darn funny. She had to start all over again but she was happy with the end result!

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Thanks, Susan. I agree, the scroll work on the chair is so unique. By the way, Happy SITS Day to you!

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