Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | March 18, 2012

Roadside Rescue

A few years ago I was driving down the road and picked up a tossed out 1950’s looking unpainted bamboo, rattan and metal chair with a matching ottoman.  It went into storage.

Bamboo chair and ottoman "before"

This spring I got it out and decided to paint it, along with two other pieces of wicker for the open porch of my studio. I also own a 1970’s raffia shelf unit and an old wicker fernery that I had traded a porcelain chocolate pot set for, many years ago to paint as well. Once completed I think the three pieces will make a comfortable and relaxing seating area on the back porch of my art studio.

I had my husband (The Menard’s paint man) color match the paint chip of the richly colored brown Olympic Star Anise, D17-6 using Dutch Boy Maxbond exterior paint, in a satin finish.

My studio is sided in a sage and tan variegated siding with tan trim.  I had considered a semi-gloss black paint for the porch furniture but decided that chocolate brown was the way to go in case I ever placed these pieces under porch overhang at my house. (You see, my Ranch home is faced with salmon pink and cream Indiana limestone with vinyl brown trim and deep salmon colored doors.)

My art studio front view

After blowing off dust with an air compressor, I painted the dry, dull looking chair and ottoman. I was amazed at how smoothly the dry bamboo took the paint. The piece needed three coats as it was bone dry but looks has a real “designer” look now.

An ESTY search yielded that this is an “Arthur Umanoff style Vintage, Mid-Century bamboo, rattan and iron chair. Umanoff designed for the Elton Company in the early 1950’s. Highly collectible, this unique designer only designed for a short time so his work is unique and scarce. I communicated with the owner of a shop that has one of these chairs, without the ottoman for sale on ESTY. We had a great conversation about age and value. Let me say this, I got pretty excited by the value he gave me for the two pieces I found for free along the roadside.

Close up raffia/wicker/metal chair painted

Although the chair on his site, is being sold unpainted, I think it looks much prettier painted than unpainted, do you agree?

It was very tricky to get the paint into the layers of the raffia so I used a toothbrush and a lot of dipping and poking.  I also had to paint the back and undersides as the lighter color wanted to peek through. In hindsight I think I would use spray paint the next time!

Guess it pays to “pick” in the wealthier parts of town!

Chair and ottoman project completed

Happy porch sitting to you too!

Small House/Big Sky Donna



  1. I like it painted… great job. Your diligence with the toothbrush paid off!

    • Thanks for the compliment. If I was to do this again, I would for sure use spray paint with one of those contraptions you screw on that saves your index finger from going numb!

      Today I finished painting the fernery and the small shelf….photo’s soon!

      Small House/Big Sky Donna

  2. What a great find.

    • Hey, thanks for continuing to read Small House/Big Sky. I appreciate it!
      I feel really lucky to have found the great Roadside Rescue chair and ottoman. A once in a lifetime find for me!

      Enjoy the sunshine!

      Small House/Big Sky Donna

    • I checked out your blog and it appears that you love a great farmstead too! Thanks for following Small House/Big Sky, I appreciate it! Happy Spring!
      Small House/Big Sky Donna

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