Thonet Love

Do you know what a Thonet chair is? Specifically a Viennese cafe chair?

thonet chairs

I love them. But, you know, I love pretty much love all chairs. Except this one. What the heck?

ugly chair

Anyway, I’ve wanted some Thonet chairs for quite some time. I love the bent wood and the caning. Not sure why. You just love what you love sometimes. I wanted them for dining chairs a few years ago, but could never find enough for less than the cost of a car. I wish I didn’t love good design. What’s with people thinking their old crap is worth a kazillion dollars? Why can’t I love black lacquered particle board from the 80’s?

I ended up buying different dining chairs, but am always on the lookout for a Thonet chair. Or y’know…all chairs. I’m always looking at chairs. I have a problem, y’all.

So I found this chair at Ross.


It’s obviously not Thonet. It’s not even wood. It’s metal. (Apparently the Thonet family company does make chairs out of tubular steel now, also, but my true love is the bent wood.) And the faux caning is plastic. But it was the last one so it was on clearance for $9.99.

clearance tag

You know I went to all eight metro stores looking for four more. (You can’t just call. They’re so rude about checking stock and it’s not like they can just look it up in their system because of how they do their inventory. They just get whatever whenever apparently.)

One lady told me she went to six stores to find four matching patio chairs and it took all eight Rosses to find five bar stools for our last kitchen. So I had hope. Whomp whomp. I didn’t find even one more. Figures.

That’s just as well. I really don’t need another set of dining chairs. But I did need an individual chair for the built-in desk area upstairs. I’ll show you that area as it comes together, but today’s post is just about the chair.

So it was red metal, with fake caning in a not-convincing color. It was a very light, creamy color. Not like any real cane/wicker/rattan I’ve ever seen. I decided to paint it.

faux cane

I didn’t want paint dripping everywhere through those holes and I wanted a bit of dimension/texture to help this look like actual wood, so I decided to dry brush it.

I could tell right away that the paint wasn’t adhering. Duh. This is plastic.

So I wiped it off and went to bed.

The next day I took it outside and sprayed the seat with plastic primer.

plastic primer

I gave that an entire day to cure and then I tried the dry brushing technique again, using Rustic Oak that I had leftover from the shims that were painted on the craft/dining table.

rustic oak

Much more convincing.

dry brush seat

I don’t want/need/have red upstairs, so I sprayed the rest of the chair with Sea Glass that I used on some accessories when I did the console table and gallery wall at the other end of the hall from where this chair will go. (I protected the newly-painted seat with plastic and masking tape, of course.)

sea glass

I think it turned out great, and will work perfectly at the desk up there.

painted thonet

The paint on the seat seems like it will be durable. I’ve had good luck with that plastic primer before.

The color looks pretty much like the wood floor below it, and my MIL thought it was real wood caning when she saw it. Success!

cane seat

I’ll show you more of that area next week. Also, yes, we’re still working on the bathroom, but it is at a point that takes both the hubs and I. I can do things like this quick chair makeover all by myself while he’s at work (or sleeping) and the kids are playing (or sleeping). (Maybe I should sleep?!)

We’re going to Six Flags again this weekend (yes, AGAIN! We’re getting our money’s worth out of those passes. This time we’re taking the cousins!) and we’ve got some work to do at a rent house, so I don’t know how much bathroom progress I’ll have to show you next week, but I promise to let you know just as soon as we accomplish anything in there.


Tell me what you think