The Color Block Arm Chair

In Furniture, Tutorials by Kelsey Johnsen

The Color Block Arm Chair:

Art to Live with and Sit on

I was headed home from a lunch date with a girlfriend. We had discussed her recent trip to New York City. She was wearing the most incredible scarf, swirling shapes comprised of pinks, oranges and lavenders, something she had casually spotted at a boutique. She described the incredible fantasy of the shop windows along 5th avenue, the whimsical way in which clothes and accessories, chairs and rugs had been transformed into immersive art installations. She outlined her steps in navigating her way through the works of Barnett Newman, Frank Stella and Henri Matisse during her exploration of the Museum of Modern Art. I left lunch dreaming of my own trips to New York, the shops and the art that I had seen. I remembered the the decedent, pastel pastries I had tasted at some of the local bakeries and bright blooms at the flower market. I could feel the inspiration bubbling and churning in my head, heart and soul.

I was driving home, then, as all my most loved treasures do, an armchair in a yard sale lineup, brought me out of my dreaming spell and the brakes on my car to a screeching halt. I pulled my car up to the front lawn of this chair’s former home, and hopped out to investigate. The scale and the clean but interesting lines of the frame, struck me from afar It was just cute. There was no other word for it. So I let my loving feelings for this chair, prompt a rescue and the cute little arm chair was now resting in the rear of my SUV.

When I got back to the studio I unloaded the chair and set it next to my desk. I opened a sketchbook, and began drafting the outline of the chair. I grabbed pots of “One Step,” and a paint deck from the hardware store. I made puddles of paint on my paper and pulled hues from the sprawling deck, thinking all the while about that lovely scarf my dear friend had draped across her shoulders. I decided upon a pink that was reminiscent of a lightly shaded peony, an orange that felt like a sherbert popsicle and “Frankly Scarlet” was just the pop needed to set the design aflame. I wanted this chair to become a piece of art in its’ own right, something sculptural and unexpected, a statement piece for any daring space. I considered what it might be like to act as if it had been dipped in a vats of paint, color by color, to reveal this series of brightly colored stripes, reminiscent of ribbon candy or a spring frock. I laid out the stripes’ placement and scale on the the sketched chair in my notebook. I arrived on a composition that felt perfect and set about making the jilted chair into a work of functional art.

 

SUPPLIES

DIRECTIONS

 

1 | PREP THE ARMCHAIR

Clean wooden areas of the armchair with Amy Howard at Home ® Clean Slate™ using a Lint-free T-Shirt Rag.

Brush away any loose debris from upholstery.

Mist upholstery with water to open up the fibers.

 

2 | PAINT THE BASE COLOR

Using your Soft Sable Brush, paint the entire chair (upholstery, legs, and all!) with two coats of One Step in Ballet White. Allow to dry 30 minutes between coats, lightly sanding fabric areas between coats and after second coat with 400 grit sandpaper just to soften, and brush away any dust. Allow to dry 30 minutes after second coat.

 

3 | PAINT STRIPES

 

Measure off your first large section on left, and tape over front and back of chair. Ours was 14” from the left side, but since every chair is different, you’ll want to adjust yours accordingly for the best look.

Brunish the edge of the tape well with the wooden handle end of your brush to prevent any paint from seeping under.

Using your Soft Sable Brush, paint the entire left section with the custom pink One Step Paint color. Paint two coats if necessary for complete coverage, allowing 15-20 minutes dry time between coats.

Remove tape after 5 minutes, and allow to dry 25-30 minutes more.

Measure off the next narrow orange section (ours was 3 ½”), and tape over the front and back of the chair, taping off both sides of this band (see photo), and burnishing the edges of the tape well again.

Using your Soft Sable Brush, paint the orange band with the custom orange One Step Paint color. Paint two coats if necessary for complete coverage, allowing 15-20 minutes dry time between coats.

Remove the tape after 5 minutes, and allow to dry 25-30 minutes more.

Measure off the last narrow red section (ours was 1”), and tape over the front and back of the chair, taping off both sides of this band (see photo) and burnishing the edges of the tape well again.

Using your China Bristle Brush (or another narrow brush), paint the narrow band with One Step Paint in Frankly Scarlet. Paint two coats if necessary for complete coverage, allowing 15-20 minutes dry time between coats.

 

Remove tape after 5 minutes, and allow to dry 25-30 minutes more.

Lightly sand with 440 grit sandpaper just to soften, and brush away any dust.

 

4 | FINISH

Using a China Bristle Brush, pick up enough Clear Wax to cover the bristles well, and offload some of the wax to avoid too heavy of coverage.

Apply the Clear Wax over the entire chair moving the brush in a cross-hatch motion, avoiding straight strokes or lines.

Allow to dry about 20 minutes, long enough for the wax to come to tack.

Buff the entire chair with a Lint-free T-Shirt Rag, like you would buff a shoe (hit/drag motion) to achieve the desired sheen.

Enjoy the Bragging Rights! ™

I was absolutely smitten with this chair! It had been cute; now it was FABULOUS! It was exactly like the kind of thing that would be prominently featured in a swanky, Manhattan hotel lobby, or the showroom floor of a atelier’s chic studio. I had easily turned this wistful chair, into a functional, beautiful and surprising work of art! It was now ready to exist in this world as a bold statement of style!

Click Here to Shop This Look Now!