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It Really Is Better to Give Than to Receive

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive.” I’m not sure that I really believed that as a kid, though. But now that I’m adult, I know this to be true. A few weeks ago I read an article in the local newspaper about a refugee family who had relocated to the Austin area from Syria. Multiple times, their neighborhood had been the target of bombing.  And, each time, their home was completely destroyed. I can’t even fathom what would it be like to have to start over with nothing but what others give out of the goodness of their hearts.
When I saw a picture of the kids sitting around a coffee table in mismatched office chairs while they ate, I knew I had to step up and help. And so, I went to work designing something joyful and happy for this family of seven.  
I had this amazing farmhouse French table that I had gotten months ago on Craigslist. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I loved it! This would be the table I would use.

Then, I found a bench that could seat three kids and I combined it with four vintage cute chairs I had on hand.

Since I was making a joyful, happy set of chairs, I went straight to my favorite go-to fabric by Kim Parker, Ariadne’s Dream by Clark & Clark.

I paired it with a black vinyl fabric for the seat to make it super durable for little kids.

I had a hard time deciding on the paint for this project. So, I started with the table. I stripped it completely and then stained it a beautiful weathered oak by Minwax.  Once the stain went on, I covered it with four layers of a water-based top coat by General Finishes.

At that point, the table legs and apron had to be black. One of my daughters, who I’ll call the accidental artist, offered to paint the detail on the table. She took her inspiration from the colors in the fabric.

I distressed it and then applied a dark wax on top of it to tone down the color and give it some character.

However, the thing I struggled with the most was the paint of the actual chairs themselves. I finally settled on this buttermilk yellow Milk Paint from General Finishes. This one is premixed and goes on like a dream!  And because kids are part of the equation, everything got distressed. If these get scratched or nicked, hey, they are supposed to look like that!

It’s a perfect for a family of seven.

My final task was getting some placemats for durability. I turned to the one brand I absolutely love…Kate Spade. I went for the classic green stripe to compliment the detailing around the table and placed a round natural woven placemat on top. Perfect!

It was a lot of work, but I was so happy to do it. And seeing the family all together and excited about all their new things brought so much joy to me. I guess that saying proved true for me…It really is better to give than receive.

Wendy Conklin

I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!


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