Vintage Steno Chair Update

A few years ago, we were at an outdoor antique market in Aberfoyle, Ontario looking at these funky metal lamps wondering if we could find space for them. As the story goes, they were originally from a psychiatric hospital. What we loved about them were the curvy lines and retro look.

Unfortunately we didn’t have space for them in our small house, so we turned to leave. But then we spied a vintage steno chair that was also metal and sported curvy lines! And I had the perfect place for it too: my future craft studio! With a place for it in mind, we bought it and stored it away for a few years until the basement was finished.

The chair had a beige vinyl floral-patterned seat and back. The metal looked like it had been re-painted a rich forest green. Although we don’t have natural light in our hallway, the vinyl was pretty drab (and busy) no matter what the lighting conditions!

When the basement was complete, although I finally had somewhere to use it, before I could put it into its rightful place in my studio, I had to update it first. As you can see, the vinyl itself was in excellent shape; no wear or tear which is pretty rare for a retro piecel! I thought about reupholstering it.  I’ve reupholstered a few chairs, which you can see here and here, so it wouldn’t be beyond my skillset, but it seemed a shame to rip apart something in such great condition.

I even thought about respraying the metal a different colour. However, for some reason, I really loved the green paint; it reminded me of a European sports car with its curvy lines, like this one I found on Pinterest:

With the green paint staying as-is, I decided to try something new with the vinyl upholstery: paint it!

The paint has to be a product that will stand up to the challenge. It needs to flex because with all the use the seat and back will get, a standard paint would just crack. I researched and found a local paint shop that carried specialty paint made for vinyl. We bought a product call SEM Color Coat in a colour called ‘super white’.

Hubs removed the seat and back and sprayed a few thin coats of the paint. Then we put it back together again.

Here’s a closeup look of the before and after of the vinyl:

Sometimes you don’t have to go whole-hog on every project: a small change can make a big difference. With the busy pattern neutralized, you can really notice those beautiful curvy lines now!

The off-white paint really complements both the chair and other elements in my craft studio.

My desk area gets a lot of use; it’s where I plan the projects for Birdz of a Feather and film some of our YouTube videos so it’s great to have a chair that’s both stylish and functional! The chair lends a vintage feel to my craft studio which happens to work well with my upcycled VW desk (which you can see a peek of below). The desk was inspired by hubs’ vintage VW, which he restored to its former glory.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share.

To see what else I’ve been up to in my craft studio, check out my Craft Rehab category for clickable thumbnails of each project. Here’s a few craft projects you may have missed:

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

If you’re interested in seeing some of the items we recently picked up at the Aberfoyle Antique Market, check out this post.

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Paint Chip Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Paint Chip Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

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4 thoughts on “Vintage Steno Chair Update

    • Thanks Alys! There’s a big show coming up on Saturday so looks like it’s time to score another find. I wonder what we’ll bring home this time 🙂

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