Good Life Weds! Beach Cottage Beach Decor ~ The Vintage French Cafe Chair Makeover

Wed 30th, Nov, 2011

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G’day Beach Cottage lovelies!  How you going?

Do you love vintage French cafe chairs, do you love coastal style, do you love some serious vintage treasure hunting stories, do you love beach decor, do you love painting in the back garden under the shade of an old camellia tree?

Come on in! 

So this is the first of the vintage French cafe chairs that I received last week and about keeled over in delight, I cannot tell you how long I have been thrifting for these, probs about the same amount of time as I have have been hunting down vintage Christmas decorations…that would be a long time.

Oh and the resisting buying reproduction ones….that was hard…and when as I said before on this post, I was messaged by lovely Beach Cottage readers about 8 of these for a bargain price, I did not hesitate…even though they weren’t all perfect….imperfect is is pretty good for me though ‘cos I think beach decor is all about shabby and imperfect with a coastal twist…

quite nice before, though this photo makes them look less orangey brown than they actually are…




after with some beach cottage white


So I started off with the basic chair and I was just going to whitewash them with a mix of water and paint, for a whitewashed look to mix in with all the other stuff and I thought white would make French cafe chair more you know, like beach decor

… I have used that method a lot here in this old cottage, for various pieces of furniture but here it wasn’t working…the depth of the rusty leg colour and the orangey/brown of the old paint were too much…and with a watery paint whitewash over the top it just looked somehow wrong…

So I just lightly sanded down the chairs and gave them a clean up…


and then painted them with a ‘thick’ whitewash…I just used regular white paint and then sloshed in some H2o to tone it down a bit so that the chair wasn’t too matte and perfect, if you see what I mean…
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I did the legs a bit more watery, so that they looked patchy…


I was undecided as to whether or not to distress the edges with sandpaper or not, so I left it like this for these photos, thinking some regular distressing would probably take place anyway with the Beach Cottage Crew…but actually I will be sanding these a little bit for a touch of vintage, worn, by the sea, beach decor a la Francais, if you know what I mean ;-)



The hydrangeas are from the garden, woot woot…do you think I lurve ‘em????

You’d be right, these make my heart sing all bunched up and picked by me….in floaty long skirt with a basket over my arm ;-) ;-)




The rest of these cafe chairs are still yet to be touched, I will be leaving some without paint and just sanding back heavily…after inspecting these, the paint is worn enough on some to sand it off more and make them rustic, au natrel…love that for the coastal beach decor look…yum!





I am loving this project, and can’t wait to see what the rest of these turn out like and more, fill this old cottage with them…there are little things in life that are worth so much more than money and finding these, in this condition, like this, for oh about six dollars each was pretty magnificent…

That my lil’ Beach Cottage friends is why I am a vintage treasure hunting addict….

Catch ya later, get ready to get sparkly Beach Cottage Christmas always rolls on in December 1 and this year I am throwing sparkle on anything that doesn’t move..


beach decor


 find more Beach Cottage beach decor tricks & makeovers here



Welcome to Good Life Wednesdays…please don’t forget you must link back to abeachcottage.com if you are in :-)

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55 Responses to “Good Life Weds! Beach Cottage Beach Decor ~ The Vintage French Cafe Chair Makeover”

  1. brandi says:

    Beautiful Makeover on your chair, Sarah! Your hydrangeas are just as beautiful!

  2. Kat says:

    They are perfect!
    Those flowers make me think I need to grow some hydrangeas.
    Cute stripey shoes. Big W? ;)

  3. bridget says:

    yes they’re lovely Brandi…but stuff the hydtrangeas.i loved the chairs in their original state, but I knew exactly what you were going to do with them Sarah! Even more jealous that you’ve got eight….

  4. sue austin says:

    Sarah, I love these chairs and I sell them in my antiques shop when I can get them. However, they can really scratch your floor!

  5. Nel says:

    So I have been thinking about Hydrangeas on my balcony in pots for a little while now…today is the day!! I walk past them on my walk every day, have always loved them so it’s time to visit that local nursery :) So inspired by how beautiful they look in your home and on your fabulous french vintage chair!! What an absolutely fantastic find. xo

    • sarah says:

      Nel, Bunnings has quite a good assortment as does Harris Farm…I got some lovely big ones in there for a great price xo

  6. Deb says:

    Sarah, you are living in heaven there. French bistro chairs and hydrangeas, you lucky thing. I am so glad you painted them white, they look perfect.
    I think you have inspired me to get the paint brush out. Oh and to hit the nursery for some hydrangeas.

  7. samaa says:

    Gorgeous chairs! I feel like going on vacation…to your house :)

  8. Whoa! You lucky lucky girl!!!! I can’t believe that you nabbed those beauties!!! Those are to die for, Sarah! I would have gladly given my firstborn for them. (Well….I don’t have any kids, but I’d gladly give up a step-grandkiddo….lol!). LUV LUV LUV them!!! And your hydrangeas make me miss my garden so very much…… ♥

    xoxo laurie

  9. Kirsty says:

    So beautiful Sarah! The chair and the flowers! I really want hydrangeas but I think it’s just not shady enough for them in our garden and I am awful at keeping potted ones alive. Do you have any hydrangea-car tips for black-fingered types like myself? ;)
    I’d love to have a few bushes for flower picking! x K

  10. Leah says:

    Your chairs look lovely. What a bargain!!! And your hydrangeas, just tooooo gorgeous!! Leahx

  11. They look amazing. I was totally green when you found these chairs! Score! Amy x

  12. Kristen says:

    I absolutely love the chairs, and I can’t wait to see a sanded down version! Congrats on the deal!

  13. Sibylle says:

    I love the Chairs and flowers!

  14. Suzane says:

    Your photography is a sheer delight!! Beautiful Hydrangeas do you have any tips on keeping them fresh longer once cut from the garden??

  15. Anonymous says:

    love the old cafe chairs!! love the redo!

  16. Nadine says:

    BEAUTIFUL hydrangeas!

  17. Kerry Rossow says:

    It feels so strange that while you are photographing vibrant hydrangeas, I am photographing fall fields!
    Thank you for hosting!
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

  18. Sanghamitra says:

    Fantastic post and stunning shots as always :)

  19. Alice says:

    Divine, loving the flowers too….

  20. Oh! Your photos always get me! It is so grey here.

  21. Rukmini says:

    This is fantabulous! Our garden chairs are similar but we remember, once we got them in and we had visible scratches on the linoleum flooring. But apart from that, they are our favorites.

    Obviously, swoon hydrangeas!!! I love the colors. Seriously Sarah, tell me I’m invited!

  22. Linda@Coastal Charm says:

    Thanks so much for hosting…LOVE the chairs!!!!


  23. Jen says:

    Wow, that white just spiffed those chairs right up. I can see why you are so tickled about them, they are quite charming sitting there with all of their history and stories tucked away… Can’t wait for the sparkle posts… bring it on. ❈

    • Jen says:

      Oh, and twinkle lights – Did you see those little battery operated white match stick ones they had at Ikea. I wish I had bought more, they are awesome for places where you don’t want a cord hanging down or there is no outlet. Have them tucked into some silver garland on the mantle. Love em!

  24. Catherine says:

    Just found you via Centsational Girl and I’m so glad I did! Your site is just gorgeous… I’m your newest follower!

  25. kirsten says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I love the makeover! I think you are inspring me to go french cafe chairs instead of wooden benches around my dining room table! Do you do consultations??

    Love the hydrangeas, they make me want do a pink & mauve christmas table!

  26. Blimey $6 each- that’s amazing- betcha love those BCFB gals that pointed you towards these!

    Sarah- they look gorgeous white- sitting under that lovely big old Aussie tree…glad you leaving some natural- it’s nice to have a mix like they truly do in french cafe’s ;)

    Hydrangeas divine!

    Stripey plimsolls divine- Big W?

    Blue & white floral tote- cuuuute!

    Melissa x

  27. PS- thanks for the skirt direction yesterday- Ally! Lovely xx

  28. Beth says:

    Don’t know what I’m in love with more, the chairs, the hydrangeas or the shoes!

  29. Thanks for hosting! I love the idea of using a chair as a table! Very cute!

  30. Candy says:

    No need to distress the painted ones. It didn’t take long for mine to do that naturally. My son thinks they are THE most uncomfortable chairs ever but he’s young and not so crazy about the shabby look…lol I adore mine and wouldn’t take anything for them. Do put some little felt tips on the feet to prevent scratches, though. Your photos are lovely, as always!

  31. Barefoot Liz says:

    They look so pretty in white! Are they comfy though?

  32. Tammi says:

    Holy Moly what a difference…I love it white but reckon with your golden midas touch the ones you leave au natural will look just as good.
    And don’t even get me started on the hydrangeas….they are magnificent!!!

  33. alison says:

    $6 each!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  34. adorable chair! I wish I could find one to paint!

  35. Hello Sarah. What a beautiful, beautiful haven you’ve created. I just love your blog. When I first started Sequins and Sand (eternally summer) I saw it morphing to include beach house creations and inspirations, my other passion. In you I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit. Well done Sarah. I’m so glad I found you!
    Rejuvenating our old french cafe chairs and metal table is my project for January. Thanks for the great tips. You’ve set me on my way and I’ve bookmarked it!
    Have a wonderful summer.

  36. [...] pink ones…were spectacular!  the post was actually more concerned with the makeover of the vintage french chair, but really it was the hydrangeas that stole the [...]

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