Duncan Phyfe table.chairs and buffet

by Julie
We are doing our home in a western design. I have my grandmother's dining room set, which just doesn't go. Any suggestions how I could make this set match our decor? I hate to part with it.
After, or at least a start.
  19 answers
  • Ibolya  Shirley Ibolya Shirley on Jan 30, 2013
    Something as simple as changing out the seat covers may do the trick, along with a trimmed out piece of foam board cut to match the top of cabinet and covered with same material or contrasting finish. But if you don't mind changing completely you can lightly sand or completely strip and redo to a distressed look or something to match you decor. Sometimes after the seats are changed out a simple decorative paint trim around raised portions of doors and drawers will do the trick.
  • Kimberly Barney Kimberly Barney on Jan 30, 2013
    Oh, I must say it upsets me to even think about painting the Duncan Phyfe dining room set. If you want to go with a distressed look, go get some inexpensive furniture. Gunsmoke and the other old westerns always had nice wooden bars and tables -- not distressed. I would suggest going plainer with the seat covers and leave it at that.
  • Julie Julie on Jan 30, 2013
    I appreciate everyones input. I started recovering the seats, I guess I'll finish that. Maybe add a tablecloth and do as one of you suggested and add baskets and pottery to the buffet. Thanks again.
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Jan 30, 2013
    This dining room set is too beautiful in addition to being sentimental to alter it. I'm not familiar with western theme rooms but I'm sure you can add decorations to the room to accent the furniture.
  • Susan Susan on Jan 31, 2013
    I agree with others that you probably shouldn't do anything major to change it (ie. paint). You could slipcover the chairs, or just reupholster. Also, you could put different handles on the buffet, keeping the ones that are there now so you could put them back on. Maybe a more western looking mirror above the buffet, and some accessories along with a burlap/natural material table runner could really change the look.
  • Julie Julie on Jan 31, 2013
    Susan, love the mirror idea. I hadn't even though about that. Thanks.
  • Susan Susan on Jan 31, 2013
    Julie, you're welcome! Post some pics for us when you decide--I'd love to see how it looks!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 01, 2013
    My heart is beating too fast! If you cannot honor that furniture, give it to a relative who will or sell it. Remember...a home is not matchy, matchy. Just like you have kids that don't all look the same, you would not change them. I saw an article in a magazine 40 years ago about a person who did every room in a different style. She had a lower level bedroom that had an undesirable sliding glass doors so even back then she played into it and made an oriental zen bedroom opening out to a small fenced in zen garden! Her house was stunning! In our traditional house we have mahogany antiques in the living room and a teak platform bet set upstairs in the master...even have a board of teak attached to an old Singer sewing machine base for the TV. Keep this set and introduce it to western. A plant sitting in a battered western hat at the side of the buffet would be adorable!
  • Julie Julie on Feb 01, 2013
    I was the only family member willing to take this set and I have tried to sell it. I have decided to keep it and incorporate it into our living style with all the suggestions. Love the hat idea, Ms. Jeanette, thanks.
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 01, 2013
    I was looking at western theme fabrics to cover the seats of the chairs. I saw these on Ebay. This is just a idea to keep your theme. My favorite is the second one since it is so colorful.And I like jeanettes idea of a plant in a hat. You could also use an old pair of cowboy boots. You can line the boot with a plastic bag then put your potted plant inside. That way when you water it you won't need to take the pot out and the boot won't leak from water overflow. Hang an old wagon wheel or even a new one and distress it , on the wall. A couple of spurs in an old wooden bowl on the table or on the buffet, a vintage oil lamp on the buffet. the ideas are endless if you have access to these type of decorations :)
  • Becky Newberry Becky Newberry on Feb 01, 2013
    paint the chairs with a turquoise or creamy colored milk paint and then distress, do the same with the table legs, put a new top on the table out of pine boards, shellac heavily, and for the chairs i would recover in a nice burlap material.Id do something similar to the side board, you could also use crumpled up brown paper torn up and applied to the top of the sideboard for a leather look :-)
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 01, 2013
    Becky, I did the crumbled brown paper on a Duncan Phyfe table top that was "distressed" by a child goughing it with a fork! After I put the brown paper on I used a little stain and then highlighted areas with antique gold acrylic paint and then 5 coats of glossy poly. It turned out beautiful.
  • Julie Julie on Feb 01, 2013
    When I get something in my head, I want it done NOW! I used some shutters I had and draped 3 of my grandmother's aprons through the slats. I used pottery and baskets I had laying around. I recovered the chairs in some blue fabric I had and threw an old tablecloth on the table. It's a start! Picture to follow.
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Feb 02, 2013
    @Julie - I browsed the sites that claim to have western design/decor. Wood seems to be fairly prominent in the designs. I think you can make the pieces, which by the way are gorgeous, fit in by what you pair them with. Consider a table runner with a western/mexican pattern ( sites seemed to mix the two themes). You could add a western lamp and mirror, as suggested earlier. Perhaps the chairs could be covered in a similar pattern or colour coordinated. You could also have a cow hide rug in the space. I too recommend changing the hardware - I did see a lot of star pulls used. You could also consider a barnwood wall, maybe behind the buffet. Also saw a lot of steer horns hanging on the wall, if you like that kind of thing. Here is one site that seemed to marry the western to some modern pieces - http://www.houzz.com/Western-decor/p/40 - you may find more ideas there. Thanks for posting - I love a good google challenge :) Please keep us updated!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 03, 2013
    Good for you for not painting this Julie, because over the years you might regret it. There is so much you can do to make it fit in...introduce it to western. I see you used the red and the blue checked patterns.
  • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Jan 01, 2015
    I would just make a western runner for top of table. Recover the seats with leather, cowhide or western print material. And use western decor. And pur a large throw rug under table with horses, or cowhide print. Add cowboy hats to wall wrap stuff with rope material and hot glue, very easy...
  • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Jan 01, 2015
    As far as the other table, add a match runner for top and you could replace the hardware to western hardware (Texas star) the bronze color. But keep the original hardware. It's a beautiful piece as is. If you lived in Texas, I'd buy it! Lol
  • Teresa Teresa on Jan 02, 2015
    I agree with doing a very nice, upscale western style table runner with coordinating placemats (these don't have to be in leather) The table runner should not be solid leather. I wish I had my new store up so that I could send you my portfolio and you could see several things that are possible. I do not think that you should re-do the drawer pulls. The chance of finding ones that measure up are so slim-which means more work on your part. You can also add a granite lazy susan (they are popular in Texas so I hope you know what I mean-if you don't, I can send you a picture of mine.... then put a pretty leather table topper on top of the table runner in the center, then your lazy susan. So many ways you can pull this off---just a matter of pulling it all together! LOL Good luck
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jan 05, 2015
    Ok wait...Hold on...Um, if you are trying to emulate the western design...I hope you realize that many, many of the early settlers of the West had very fancy Victorian furnishings & accessories like steamer trunks and victrolas as they moved West...Right? The dining set you have can very easily pass as Victorian w/ some western accessories. First thing you should do is edit the furniture in the space...You have just too much for such a small space. Take the clock out & place it somewhere else in the house. Take the microwave w/ stand out of the dining room & put it in the kitchen. Take all of the stuff off the buffet including the shutters. Move the buffet to the other side of the table & place it under the artwork on that wall. You will need to push the table a little bit towards the kitchen. Make sure there is enough space for people to get in & out.Take out the black or blue gingham curtains change them for a cornflower blue curtains. Change the mini blinds for white sheers that will be more in keeping w/ the western design. Change the red gingham tablecloth for a wide ivory linen table runner. You can place some of the pieces that were on the sideboard in the middle of the table. Mix up the teapots w/ some rustic pieces. Keep the display small & change that when you get bored of it. Change the seat covers to a darker shade of blue so it ties in w/ the curtains. If you want to eliminate the yellow fake wood on the back of the cabinets from the kitchen you could add bead board & trim it out. I would paint it white so it brightens up the room. Last thing, polish all the beautiful dark furniture. It should look amazing. Hope this helps.