It was one of those perfect getaways, the weather was ideal (actually, it was 98° with 95% humidity), the lunches were delicious (actually, we ate hot dogs on the run), and the sightseeing was sublime (truly).
My husband, who grew up in Westchester County, was introducing me to the towns that dot this beautiful region. We landed on a darling village, Pound Ridge and an incredible antique store (not the 'pedigree' kind of antique store, this one had most of it's 'precious' items strewn across its lawn).
This is where I found our patio table and chairs.
We live in a cozy (aka, small) home on a typical in-city (aka, small) lot and there isn't a lot of space for those large, humungous, oversized tables found in those trendy catalogues - you know, the ones perfect for your sprawling Santa Barbara estate.
It seems that outdoor furniture manufactured pre-70's was appropriately sized.
If I could have recorded the conversation we had with the owner, I would replay it over and over for grins. He was baffled why anyone would pay $500 to have a rusty set of common 1950's iron packed and shipped across the country. "Can't you find something like this on the west coast?" Well, 'no' I informed him. He spent the next hour trying to talk me out of buying this 'perfect' set. Luckily, my husband convinced him that I was not crazy, and that I would not stop until he agreed to boxing and shipping the set to Seattle. I had to say good bye to the glass, but thought that was a fair compromise.
I'm not sure if the romance of Pound Ridge made the set look better, or if the six months it took to arrive in Seattle made the set look more weathered, but either way, once unpacked and in our back yard, I realized what the shop owner was saying - it was a big pile of rusty iron.
I had three choices -
1) LEAVE the set in its original condition (which somehow looks more charming on the terrace of a beautiful home in the South of France)!
2) PAINT THE SET MYSELF USING RUST-OLEUM - which is what I went with initially - I wasn't ready to choose the color, needed when pursuing the powder coat route. If you decide to use Rust-oleum, you will need to wash the pieces down with a mildew cleaner and scrub as much of the rust and chippy paint off as you can (a wire brush is helpful). Dry the pieces thoroughly before applying thin layers of Rust-oleum. Take note: try to choose a calm, warm day to do this - working against the breeze is not ideal - trust me!
My set was black iron and in very rough condition. It took seven cans to cover. I was very conflicted on the color so ended up going with Antique White in gloss. I know, not very inspired, but the set looked so clean after and the light color brightened up the yard!
3) POWDER COAT
Powder coating is a process that involves properly pretreating the metal, a powder application, followed by curing the powder in high temperatures to produce a tough and beautiful finish that makes even the chippiest of wrought iron look gorgeous! But, it is not cheap which means, at least for me, you want to nail the color. I waffled, boy did I waffle, on colors.
My first thoughts went to the traditional garden greens. I love anything English/French and green garden furniture is all that! I found a few gorgeous colors in the Farrow and Ball line.
Unfortunately, because of the process, off the shelf traditional paint can't be used. This meant I had to use their colors. This added another year to my project as I kept contemplating the available colors.
Finally, I decided, this project had to get done. The Rust-oleum wasn't really a long term solution, and the joints were rusting again. Walking into Seattle Powder Coat I had every intention of going with a green, but had a complete change of heart the minute they asked "what color". I do this when I'm out to dinner - change my mind when the waiter comes by to take my order. Other than one questionable entree, when I panicked, this strategy has served me well. It served me well this time as well. I chose a beautiful bronze that blends perfectly with our garden.
Dinner is calling....
Until next time,
la chasse au bonheur