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furniture facelift:
s lounge chairs
part one (chrome cures)

by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2

When the boy and I thrifted our first piece of furniture, I figured this way of decking out our digs, through charity shops and moving sales and hand-me-downs, was just a smart way to get through the boy’s grad school years without going broke in the process. With his modest stipend and my not-so-stable income as a freelancer, dropping thousands, heck even hundreds, to outfit our pad with brand-new furnishings? No way; no how. A little resourcefulness was the only way to ensure we actually had things to sit on and tables to eat at in our humble little home. Buying used meant we didn’t have to resign ourselves to a totally spartan existence; we thrift-shopped because it was practical, our Yankee pragmatism deeming it a far more sensible solution than racking up credit card debt.

The funny thing is: somewhere along the line, I discovered I really love shopping secondhand. I liked the thrill of stumbling across the unexpected at an estate sale; I got a little addicted to the rush that comes from scoring a really great deal. Meanwhile, seeing other folks’ IKEA catalog abodes – perfectly nice, but practically interchangeable – I saw how by decking my pad out with a sofa from one contents sale, a dining table from another, a pair of funky lamps rescued from my favorite thrift shop, we were creating a nest guaranteed to look like no one else’s.

So maybe it’s not so surprising then that even now, with the boy finally working his first real job, and our little household now starting to earn a semi-respectable, non-student, grown-up living, I still find myself scouring secondhand sources as I decorate yet another new set of digs. Last week, while doing my usual peek at the latest craiglist offerings ‘round my neck of the woods, I spied an ad for a pair of 70s lounge chairs, one white, one red. The price was good, the chairs so cool. The next evening, I was the proud new owner of two very funky vintage chrome-and-vinyl armchairs.

Of course, getting a good deal on used furniture often means that a little work is in order. My two new (to me) chairs looked pristine from a distance; up close, though, their age started to show through. The chrome was a bit dirty and tarnished; the vinyl had a fair amount of dirt lodged into its grain. One of the chairs also sported a few cracks and tears in the vinyl. The seller had noted all this, so none of this came as a surprise to me. Me being me, I was convinced I could restore these chairs with just a little bit of TLC. So this past weekend, I set to work on part one of my furniture fix-up plans… figuring out the best way to bring the lovely mirror-shine back to my chrome.

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---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home.