Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Caveat Emptor

Somehow during my two years of high school Latin, I missed an important lesson . . . caveat emptor or "buyer beware." I should have known better. I should have checked things out more thoroughly, but my enthusiasm clouded my judgment.


Remember this table and chairs . . .
I bought them several weeks ago at the Habitat for Humanity store. I looked them over, noticed some fretwork missing, some scratches and wear, but nothing that would prevent me from buying them. My big mistake? Not sitting in the chairs. I didn't think I needed to . . . they felt solid. I pushed on them. They weren't wobbly. Plus, they had plywood seats with rusty, jagged holes where the screws had been attached. Who would want to sit on that? I might tear my clothes.

So, I got the table and chairs home, put them in the garage until I could get my husband to help me move the table upstairs. Then got to work on sanding and painting the chairs. This was quite the process. I finally got them to the point where I thought they looked just right. But I was still on the hunt for the perfect fabric. Remember this post, where I obsessed over my options?

After ordering swatches online, getting my sister to bring me some from Memphis, and hitting every fabric store in town, I still didn't feel like I had found "the one."
I felt I needed a fabric that had the color of the chairs in it as well as other colors. I wasn't willing to change the chair color, so I kept searching. Then, I remembered a tablecloth and some curtains I had seen at World Market.
So, I bought a couple of curtains to use as my seat fabric. I love a good Tree of Life pattern, and I really thought the vivid colors of this one worked well with my chairs.
So, I cut the fabric, draped it on top of some foam and sat down to test the height of the chair with the cushion. Then I heard the crack. 
That's right, the fretwork on the back of the chairs was broken in two places. And not just on one chair, but on three out of the four chairs! Nice. And, it's not even wood. The fretwork is composite or plastic, if you will. The outside frame of the chair is wood, but not the backs. 

So, I'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons. My friend Becky had this stuff in her garage:
I glued and clamped and let the chairs harden for 24 hours, then repainted the patched area. The result? Only time will tell. They're holding for now, but I don't have much confidence that they can take much wear and tear.  I need to put signs on the chairs that read "lean back gently."
I think they look nice . . . pretty much what I envisioned. I just hate that they might snap at any moment. Not a good feeling. I haven't attached the seats to the chair yet. Still need to find the right screws. Now, I just need to buy or have a banquette made for the other side of the table, but that has its own set of issues. By the way, I sold the old chairs on Craigslist, so those are no longer an option either. Way to burn my design bridges, huh?

In some ways, I feel like this was a DIY disaster. Do you have any projects that did not turn out the way you planned?

Editor's Note: I'm so sorry I've been gone for two weeks now! I was sick for the first week with some mysterious illness that basically made me feel like hell with the vague symptoms of a headache and nausea. And, no, I'm not pregnant. Then my husband was out of town for 10 days on a scuba diving excursion with his dad, and I just didn't have the energy at the end of the day to write a blog post. I so admire single parents. I endeavor to be better about blogging once my son finally starts back to pre-K on Friday!

13 comments:

Susan said...

Love the chairs! I think the curtain fabric looks amazing. Sorry that you had to go through such trauma to get them to work though. I wonder if you could devise a way to hang them from the ceiling while they aren't in use so the kids can't destroy them?

A Perfect Gray said...

bummer! they do look great, but I know it's tough just hoping they will hold up. That whole experience is so 'me.' I tend to buy on looks alone. "Pretty? I'll take it! Comfy? Sturdy? Who knows..."

hope it all works out. I love that faux bamboo style...

bluehydrangea said...

Dang!! They do look fabulous but looks aren't everything, or are they? Glad your back! Sorry life has been so crazy!!

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine missing something anything from High school Latin with MR. Monotone...the chairs look great, and when we visit, I will keep my youngsters away from them ;-)

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Oh no! I have been down this road myself. See something you want or love and get so caught up in the find you don't search out the flaws. Btw, I have had good luck with that glue - it's pretty strong stuff, so I think you'll be okay. I do love your fabric selection with the paint color - I remember seeing those table linens at World Market, and it is a beautiful pattern!

Haven and Home said...

I am sorry it did not go as planned! They look great though! Hopefully they will last for a while.

sherry said...

Well...they LOOK great! And that little poochie in the picture is just as cute as the chairs!!!

Matt McGee said...

um, that little poochie is not little

Julie Holloway said...

I hope you're feeling better!!! I still love those table & chairs...and the fabric you chose and the fabric---so perfect!!! Sorry about the crappiness of the chairs. Julie

Style Chronicle said...

Bummer! I saw those in the H for H store and thought they were great too. Who knew? If it is any consolation, they look gorgeous!!

CRICKET said...

I am so sorry! I loved this table/chair combo. I have vowed never to have old/antique dining room chairs AGAIN. When I was first married my husband and sister in law both leaned back in some antique chairs and fell to the ground. Thankfully they were family and we could laugh. Skip ahead and we had a heavy set couple come to dinner - well I was uncomfortable the entire time wondering if this was going to happen again. Pottery Barn is my best friend when it come to inexpensive, well made chairs.

The Zhush said...

Oh, that stinks! They really do look gorgeous if that is any consolation, I hope they miraculously hold out for you! Good Luck!

monkeygrasshill said...

Pretty much EVERY one of my projects not going as planned. I'm never completely satisfied with the end result. Too bad about your chairs though. That's such a bummer to put in all that work and have that happen.

Julie