upcycled chairs padre hotel

Do you have places in your past that make you smile when you think about them? The Padre Hotel is one of those places for me. It was an old hotel in Bakersfield, California that was condemned above the first few floors because it had an eccentric owner who didn’t want to upgrade the building to the current code. He was quite a character, and always had an ongoing battle with city officials, eventually erecting a mock missile on the roof that was symbolically pointed toward city hall. Anyway, this hotel had a somewhat seedy bar on the first floor with a long time piano player, who was happy to entertain everyone from the people who looked like they lived at the bar to the twenty-somethings who were in town for the holidays.

After the owner died, the hotel was sold a couple of times and after several years was restored to its former glory along with thriving restaurants and bars. I haven’t seen it in person, but my friends who still live in Bakersfield post about The Padre on Facebook rather frequently. Here’s how it looks now:

Padre Hotel

Anyway, before renovations started, {and when we stilled lived in Bakersfield} there was a huge garage sale and we bought these two chairs. I think we paid $5 each. They have sturdy wood frames and vinyl fabric. One of the frames was painted brown and one was stained brown. They have been in our basement in Missouri for eight years. Until now. My husband, Brian, refinished them this fall and they are now residing in our living room. We are pretty sure that these chairs were in the bar because when he disassembled and sanded the chairs, they smelled like a bar. The vinyl was very sticky on the back. With what, I’m not sure and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. I used my homemade laundry detergent to clean the vinyl because when I looked it up online, the suggested cleaning ingredients were the same ones in my laundry soap. It worked perfectly and didn’t damage the vinyl.

To do this project, Brian disassembled the chairs and sanded the wood like crazy. He reassembled them using wood glue and clamps, repairing a couple of spots along the way. Once they were dry, we chose a stain color called Beechwood, that we thought would look like washed up driftwood. It didn’t look like that at all. It looked more like the solid grey of an aircraft carrier. Definitely not what we were going for. So Brian sanded again. The second stain we chose looked more the way we wanted; not that different in color from the original chairs, just a LOT more cleaned up. Now the wood grain shows. Brian also painted the feet of the legs black. He gave each chair a few coats of polyurethane, sanding between each coat. Once everything was dry he reattached the vinyl seats with huge screws that hold them to the frame.

Here are the chairs before the refinishing process:

padre hotel chairs before

Here are a bunch of shots of how rough they were when he started the project and then the process of sanding and gluing:

padre upcycled chairs process

Here’s how they look now:

upcycled chairs padre hotel

I just love how these turned out. The mid century look is just what we were going for and it is always nice when the pieces in your home have some personal history attached to them. I’ve never found myself attached to a piece of furniture that I bought new at a furniture store. I guess I’m a cheap date, because these $5 chairs are perfect!

Stay tuned, because the chairs inspired us to get the mid century coffee table out of the attic. Brian is currently refinishing it to match the chairs. {Yay!}

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15 Responses to Upcycled Chairs from the Padre Hotel

  1. Dana says:

    Love these, Betsy. Kudos to Brian and his incredible skills and kudos to you for the foresight to save these. I do hope you come back home and go to the Padre. I had a work meeting in town and the team stayed there. They loved it. We do like the rooftop bar in the summer and coffee shop year round. Yep, we do frequent it and it is walking distance. :)

    • Betsy says:

      Thanks, Dana! Whenever I see all of you posting about drinks/breakfast/dinner at the Padre, I wish I could be transported to join you! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. Mel says:

    They look beautiful, great job!

  3. Susie @Bowdabra says:

    Thank you so much for stopping in and sharing your cool furniture idea in our Crafty Showcase http://bowdabrablog.com/2012/12/01/saturday-showcase-craft-project-linky-9/ this week! We love seeing what you have been up to and visiting your blog.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Susie @Bowdabra

  4. Beautiful chairs, and how nice that they have a little story to go along with them!
    Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday! I’ve pinned this and look forward to seeing what you’ve been up to this week :)

  5. You are so talented!! We hope you will come back this week! Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday’s Adorned From Above Blog Hop. This weeks party starts at 12:01AM on Wednesday and runs through Sunday night. Have a great week.
    Debi, Joye and Myrna (The Busy Bee’s), Linda (Two Succulent Sisters)

  6. […] over the years. So far I’ve shared the kitchen island, the cupboard with legs, and the Padre Hotel chairs. This is his latest project: a Lane coffee table upcycle. We thrifted this coffee table early in […]

  7. Kathy says:

    How cool! The chairs look gorgeous and if memories of the Padre are correct, you definitely don’t want to know what was on the back. Love that you have these chairs… and love the Padre, then and now.

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