A Story from Brimfield - Juniper Home

A Story from Brimfield


The day after we got home to Cambridge after our long summer in New York and Brussels, the Brimfield Antiques Fair started. I was exhausted after traveling, but the idea of moving boxes and getting settled back into our house was more exhausting than antiquing. So I left the house at 4:00 in the morning and made the hour-long trek out to Brimfield, MA.

I feel like I have days were my shopping skills are on fire and other days when I’m feeling happy to be shopping, but also a little slow-going. Unfortunately I felt the latter that day. I saw some cool things, but everything felt so expensive this time. I bought a few small items, like some antique block-printed linen and a few dinnerware items, but nothing too exciting.

The sun was starting to set. The vendors began packing up. Suddenly the idea of going all the way home from Brimfield having spent only a dew dollars and with nothing really cool to show for it bumped my energy up. I was racing from vendor to vendor, eyes darting, searching for my treasure.

At the very last vendor, who had a really prime spot at the beginning of the fair, right on the road, a group of five chairs caught my eye. Four side chairs and a Captain’s chair. They were sooooo dirty and completely trashed. The vendor was sort of confused when I asked about them.

“Those? You WANT those? Are you a professional restorer? No? Well, they’re going cost you a fortune to refinish so you can have them all for $30. No one wants them and they are taking up too much space.”

I sort of looked at him stunned, trying to process the information. “Umm ok. I’ll go get my car.” And before I knew what was happening, I found myself the confused owner of 5 really old and very beat up chairs.

The next day I started pulling out all the old nails and brads from a chair. After an hour of intense work, I had crazy blisters, a few cuts (and probably tetanus!). So all five of the chairs sat in my basement for a few weeks, untouched. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.

After dedicating nearly a week of my life (and about a quart of blood) to the refinishing of these chairs, here is the final result.

I’m happy. They are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But they were $6 each, so who cares? It was a fun learning experience.

What did you think?
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10 thoughts on “A Story from Brimfield

  1. those are so fab! what products did you use to get them to look so great? we need a play-by-play. can i hire you?

  2. Nicely done. I wouldn’t expect anything less than amazing from you though. :)

    Did you once post a step-by-step of how to recover a wingback chair?
    Love ya Jen!!

  3. I just wanted to say hello. I have you listed as a “favorite” on my blog. I absolutely love your blog. You do a wonderful job. I love the “converting new to old photos” post. How awesome is this!! I am going to try that for sure….maybe for Christmas cards this year.

  4. Okay Brigham is sitting behind me as I read this and I told him, “If those are the gorgeous chairs I noticed in her dining room last week I’ll die.” And sure enough, as I read on, you HAD already refinished them and they look great. Seriously, you are good!

  5. You might as well be conducting brain surgery. Seriously to see the design potential that you see is just as allusive to me as brain surgery. You are oozing talent. I really admire that about you.

  6. Wow, you are so talented! These chairs look amazing.
    So I have been reading your blog for a little while now and just realized that you know my brother and sister-in-laws {Nate & Heidi Garner} and that I know your brother and sister-in-laws {Eric & Holly}
    I thought that was just too funny and had to share :)

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