Bringing the Iconic Peacock Chair back to life

This was a find we could not walk past, the iconic Peacock Chair found at the local hospice shop for $10. There's something about these chairs that's always made me want one, it's relaxed and exaggerated, detailed but yet simple at the same time  a perfect juxtaposition that can work in with many interior styling and even more so if you customise one to suit your space.

Think vintage with a colour like Liberty, or a soft pink like Grassmere,  Coastal Style in a mid blue like Toulouse, Hamptons style in either Carbon Black or a Dark Blue in Obsidian blue , Country Style in Olea (olive) or a vintage green like Greenhouse, Boho with the bright and bolds like Wendy's Pink, Bright Buttercup,  Azure Kingfisher, Tropical Lagoon,  Contemporary in a grey like Clubhouse Grey, Stormy Creek  or in slick Carbon black, there are endless ways to define and re-interpret the iconic Peacock chair to suit  and it's an easy one to slot into your interiors as a feature.  

With Age comes Imperfections 
When I saw this chair I saw it with  Artisan Paints and Products , I didn't see the imperfections but more for what it could be. I think this is the beauty of discovery and understanding Artisan Paints and decorative painting, it makes you see things differently.... forever.  For this particular one we are planning on a bit of boho tropical vibe with a touch of luxe.  Peacock chairs can be pretty hard to find; in particular one thats in perfect condition. If you do find one, it's quite likely that it's in a similar condition to the one we found here, bits of cane and rattan undone moved and unravelled,  its having a major bad hair day and nobody's loving it,  with things sticking and poking out all over the show. Often put into the too hard basket and either donated or passed onto a second hand shop. But I've always loved these chairs and think they're worth doing up and in this blog I'll show you how to creatively pull all that loose unravelled bits together with an item that is often found in any household arts and craft box/supplies.

Apart from that though it's structurally sound, no major parts in the actual structure is broken just all the decorative bits that have  more or less unravelled over time but that's no major as you will see later on...

Colour and Paint of Choice and Why

Colour of choice, how ironic... I've chosen Artisan Peacock for a Peacock chair lol. Paint of choice is 100% Artisan Velvet Luxe, there's no way I will even attempt to paint and wax this, excess wax will get stuck in between all that cane work and will turn south pretty quickly . Velvet Luxe means I can go straight over this  and once I've gained my coverage Im done (no waxing required) . We need this be as easy as possible. 

Take a look at the cane work, all of those open weaves, something like this would make me shudder at the thought of painting it once upon a time. 

Thought process -Stop to review your piece before you decide what to do with it:

Im a firm believer in working in with what's in front of you rather than against it. A makeover should be creative, fun and quick, not arduous and never ending. First thoughts are what's a style of painting  that will make this quick but be in keeping and suit the style of the chair and what Im looking to achieve? Im in the middle of winter and as I write this;  this weeks forecast is loads of rain and even a storm,  so spraying it is not an option, spraying also means a lot of over spray and a lot of paint gets wasted;  you need a good open space to do it in and before you ask, yes you can spray Velvet Luxe  with a good quality sprayer that will push a thicker paint through and if you are looking for a full coverage type look then it might be the option you go for. However I'm doing this inside in my studio and probably parts of it in my lounge by the fire;  Im a big fan of hand painting where you can, spraying does kind of go against everything I've done in my painting career of hand painted finishes and I know I can get this done in a couple of hours by hand with the right brushes tick it off my list and have it  look amazing for my home. 

Here's the Painting Plan.

Im going to do full coverage on the main frame of the chair , this will work as a solid block of colour to frame the woven back and seat . When it comes to the back and seat,  I'm going to do  a light coat of Velvet Luxe on the seat and backing allowing parts of the original rattan to come through in places, possibly even wet distress it.  I'll only aim to get about 80-90 % coverage in these areas  allowing some of the original rattan to come through, so areas of it will almost look like its been washed in colour. A fitting concept for the peacock chair and more importantly it also means I can power through it with my brushes, be done in an hour or so  without needing to be too particular. Hand Paint it with a brush you question, read on I have captured some videos for you below.


The Tools

The right tools for this is a must and is non negotiable in my opinion... it's going to be the difference of packing it all in or enjoying the ease and instant gratification as you go along. There are two key brushes you will need 

1: Staalmeester Pointed Tip series 2022  size 12 : (95% of the chair will be painted in this), Super soft flexible bristle that is easy and gentle  on the rattan and weaves allowing you to sweep over it quickly and easily. TIP take the pressure of your brush completely while painting fine areas to utilise the absolute tip of the brush which will get into some pretty fine areas for you, press down slightly and put pressure down to cover wider areas. It's all in the pressure you put on the brush as you paint. The Bristles will flow Velvet Luxe back and forth across, in and out of the weaves for you. The Staalmeester Brush together with Velvet Luxe work seamlessly together and will respond exactly to the motion of your hand and work well on open weaves for you.  

2: Staalmeester  Series 1090  : Detail Brush for any teeny weeny areas that might need to be touched up at the end ; and it touches up flawlessly given the special ONE mix  bristles 

Take a look at the Pointed tip in action on the seat below: 

 Here you're relying on two things, 1. the pointed tip brush to do most of the work for you with you guiding it through placing different pressures to get into different areas, 2.  Velvet Luxe and its self levelling qualities to self level as it dries giving you a nice,  flat and smooth finish for you. In order to get into the different areas you need to work your brush in circular motions to get in everywhere then take the pressure off your brush and brush out in a linear motion following the lines of the chair.  Always load a small amount of paint onto your brush, just wet the tips of it in paint, so that you can brush just a light coat over it. 

Chair Frame
This is easy there's not much explaining to do; its large enough that the pointed tip will just breeze through, see Video below. For this area we will be doing 2 coats for a solid block colour to frame the seat and backing. But keep each coat thin meaning little paint on your brush, build up the coverage slowly 

The  Open Weaves
Trickiest part but all you do is load a small amount of paint on your pointed tip brush choose one section to start with; sweep your brush over that part working in both circular and then linear motion, then IMPORTANT work on the back of that section straight away, there will be some excess paint there waiting for you, so  use your brush to spread this over the back, so your going to paint a section in the front and then head over to paint the opposing section on the  back, section by section, front back, front back until you finish, see video below 



Let's take a quick look at where it's at, this is two coats around the frame, the paint is still wet when these were taken, so hasn't quite done self levelling part yet.  I've done one coat and a bit on the open weaves. This "bit coat" means I did one coat and once dry I brushed over in just some areas I felt needed a little more, I've stopped here for now, as Im going to move onto repairing and binding up the loose cane then I'll come back and touch up and fill in any areas if needed, This first part is just about quickly getting a coat of paint on a majority of the weaves,  as once some of those weaves are binded back up it may expose some areas that might need a little touch up. 

You can see that the frame around the chair  is in a solid block colour of Peacock while the open weave does not have full coverage and you can see bits of the original rattan coming through, but it looks great like this and Im not too bothered by it as a plan to break this up with a touch of metallics later,  if want to expose more of the rattan you can also wet distress, use a slightly damp rag and wipe some of the paint off while it's wet, which I did do in some areas but forgot to photograph 

So now it's time to repair some of those weaves then we can come back to some more painting where needed..

Binding up the unravelled areas: 
By painting it all in one colour the chair visually all becomes one, where a different material was originally used to bind it... well you can't see it any more because it's been painted, so Im introducing a new material in to hold it all together and at the same time  work as a detail .... most of us will have this lying around in our craft boxes and if not, you can pick one up at an emporium for a couple of dollars, it becomes quite a beautiful feature so choose a colour that works in with the look your looking to achieve.... drum roll....Im using a roll of satin ribbon,  adds a bit of sheen and glam to the overall look and makes it a little different. If there are any areas that need a bit sticking down, use a couple of drops of super glue to press it down then once dry cover and bind with your Satin Ribbon, once it's all done I will go back and clip any strays off with some nail clippers.  

So now Im going to work on binding any loose areas together and re positioning some of the open weaves, then take another look and see any final areas I might want to touch up in paint and use my magic staalmeester detail brush to do so. If you don't like the contrast of the ribbon and want it all in the same colour, you can also bind it all up first then paint it all together. The Satin ribbon will  paint up effortlessly in Velvet Luxe. 

.... the binding and weaving took way longer than the painting, Im no expert weaver/binder, very basic skills when it comes to that department, but it was pretty easy... just time consuming, tip thread your satin ribbon through one of those large needles and then use that to get in between, I stopped to do this about half way and it made it so much faster. Any loose bits I held down with a drop of super glue, once the ribbon was tightened and cut I glued and sealed the frayed ends with a light coating of super glue, a hot glue gun would have also worked well in my opinion. Then with any fine bits sticking out that wasn't held down with glue or bound up with ribbon was clipped off with a pair of nail clippers. 

as the binding was done, I went back with my small detail brush and just touched up either any areas I missed that I wanted covered or newly exposed from binding/ weaving and tightening the rattan with my Staalmeeser detail brush. Keeping in mind that it didn't all need to be covered as I was going to add a touch of gold to visually break it all up anyhow... the detail brush allows for seamless touch ups given that it has the special "The One" bristles allowing for flawless little touch ups on those fine little details 

notice that shimmer of gold? that was done simply by putting a bit of Vienna gold metallic glide on finger and gliding over the areas I wanted to detail in this champagne gold, so super simple and there is a video online that covers metallic glides for you on this link click here  so on this one gold was added to the backing and the seat and just the bottom ring at the base. It visually breaks it up, adds a touch of luxe to it, whilst working in harmoniously with my 80/90% coverage of this area. 

For the seat I went back and used the pointed tip brush loaded the tip of my brush with metallic glide and brushed and faded it out starting from the centre working my way out. After your done give it a light buff with rag to smooth and polish it all out...

and here is the chair more or less done, put to the side in the early evening, waiting to be photographed properly on another day, with the metallics glistening away... 

Peacock is a big fav of mine this week, watching it adjust during the day and night it looks beautiful in all lighting and even though I've used the colour as it is in Velvet Luxe, Im pretty inspired to use in in Premium Chalk Paint in different ageing techniques too.  It's a great lively colour with a beautiful depth to it, it can throw off a slight blue hue and in the evening deepens to an emerald like green. I thought it would be quite bold and loud in my home but in fact it's  very easy to place inside and I have every intention of placing it downstairs some in the room where the walls are painted  Bruised Petal Matte Estate... so I will photograph it there for you to see with full midday light hitting the colours side on so you can get full scope of this gorgeous colour! 

She's still imperfect but that plays a part in the beauty and authenticity of the chair. She still has that hand made and hand done quality to her.  We love the presence she has now  in Artisan colour, full of life with those little touches of individuality that now makes her a bespoke piece for our home. For a $10.00 pick up (the guy also threw in a wine rack for free because he felt so bad about the condition of the chair) a concept for it that was forgiving and made the job fast,  it was well worth the effort to bring this iconic peacock chair back to be enjoyed in our home for many more years to come as a chair and as  decorative piece in our home.  




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