Good Questions: Can I Paint/Stain These Bergeres?

Good Questions: Can I Paint/Stain These Bergeres?

Maxwell Ryan
Nov 26, 2007

Hello AT,

I could use some advice on a pair of button-tufted bergeres with caning detail on the arms...not sure when/where they were made.

I bought them for what I believed to be a bargain, but only because I had envisioned painting/pickling the frame white, reupholstering the chairs in maybe a pale bluish-gray velvet, and adding a down/feather cushion with piping in the same fabric...

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I realize that this will probably require a pretty substantial additional investment, but now I'm questioning whether this is even entirely possible.

First of all, I'm unsure about the quality of the wood underneath the
present stain, so I'm unsure about whether I should paint them white
(which I fear will look too heavy-handed), or pickle them with
white-wash, or stain them with a pale wood stain (ie, Miniwax white

Has anyone witnessed the difference in the outcomes of these
three processes, and would they all require stripping the chair? And
is there a way to evaluate the type/quality of the wood without
stripping it?

I'm also wondering whether it's even possible to stain/paint/pickle the existing caning detail to match the new finish of the frame. Or does the caning need to be replaced? And if so, can anyone recommend a reliable non-bank-breaking spot to do the work?

Also: When I asked a reliable refinisher that I've used in the past to give me a quote for painting the pieces, they told me that they categorically do not paint furniture, they only stain. Is painting furniture a faux-pas...? If anyone can recommend a good, not-too-pricey place to refinish the pieces, I'd love any local suggestions, especially in Brooklyn or Manhattan.

Thanks! Marissa

Related Links:

AT Furniture Restoration resources
How To: Paint Wooden Furniture
Good Questions: Help Us Paint Our Dining Table & Chairs?

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