Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Sandwich Shoppe's Stylaire Step Stool

Like most newly purchased homes, our house was empty when we moved in. The Sandwich Shoppe on the other hand? FULL OF CRAP. From what I've been told, the Sandwich Shoppe had been closed up for decades and closed off from the house in the aftermath of a kitchen fire. One of the numerous items stored inside the Sandwich Shoppe when we bought the house was this antique retro Stylaire step stool:

Which had obviously seen better days. I think someone decided to turn it into a splatter paint art project. Or perhaps they simply dropped a bucket of paint on top of it??

It stayed in the Sandwich Shoppe for a long time. Sitting in a corner. Sad and alone. Serving as a place to set lumber and tools on...

I didn't get rid of it because I just knew, one day, I'd want to spruce it up. Then, I came across this picture on Pinterest:

That's MY ladder chair! Only prettier!!!! In red!!! I love red!! Must. Duplicate.

I now had a plan for my sad paint splattered golden brown step stool, but lacked the motivation to jump on the project and beat it into submission right then and there.

Enter Pinterest again.

Well, HOT DOG!! Clearly, I need a red vintage step stool (and cherry heels) in my life in order to achieve smoking hot 50s housewife status.

Must. Duplicate. NOW.

So I hand sanded the chrome legs  to remove the rust.

Used a razor to scrape away large glops of dried paint.

Hand sanded every surface as smooth as possible.

Stared at the rubber  pads with malicious hatred because they were not cooperating with my paint removal plan, said screw it, and decided to just paint them black.

I used an entire roll of painters tape to protect the parts not destined to be spray painted a glossy fire engine red. Or, I guess, Berry according to Valspar.

I was mostly finished covering everything with painters tape when Stephen said, "You know... You could just take the whole thing apart and spray paint it separately. Then you wouldn't have to use the tape. You could even re-chrome the legs." I gave him the horrified look that deserved. Then I assured myself that it wouldn't have been worth it anyway because all the legs are riveted in place. Then I imagined myself with the muscles of Rosie the Riveter so that I could take my husband in a wrestling match for coming up with such a suggestion when I was almost done applying painters tape.

What?? I'm docile as a lamb. Scout's honor.


Back to the chair.

I applied three coats and then painstakingly peeled off the painter's tape (bloodying the tips of my thumbs under my nails in the process - there's got to be a better way)...

And voila! Instant vintage house goddess step stool. Excuse me while I have heart palpitations.

I may have (in all sincerity) informed Stephen that I was leaving him for the step stool. It's allure is just too much to resist.

It even looks fabulous with floor stripes!

Have I mentioned that I'm almost obsessively in love with the new bathroom floor? Why else would I drag my step stool into the smallest bathroom in the house?

As for the rubber pads - the black paint really did the trick! Good as new!

For now, the step stool is hanging out in the kitchen (or maybe the laundry room) until the Sandwich Shoppe is finished. As for the kitchen pantry curtain, say goodbye to it's current state. I'm about to change it up a bit. Again.

I sat Joseph on the spiffy new step stool and he looked at me like, "What are you crazy?? How the heck am I supposed to get down from here?!"

Aunt Sarah - Joseph wanted me to tell you that those are his Phineas & Ferb socks.

To which I responded, "You're not! You're supposed to look adorable and not give me any lip!" Great mothering techniques at work there.


I am absolutely thrilled with how this project turned out. And it only cost me roughly $4 in spray paint. I had everything else on hand. Not too shabby when I found them being sold online for anywhere from $50 to $100.

Now... I'm off to find myself some cherry heels (and maybe a 5 foot tall piece of silverware...) so that I can achieve 50s housewife goddess status!


  1. that is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!!!!! what a fantastic job! that with the floor blows the other pinterest photos out of the water! (throwing in an adorable little boy certainly doesn't hurt either!)

    great job! and i am glad you went the tape route - because who knows if you would have been able to get it all back together in the perfect way it was done before... :)

  2. OHMYGOSH!!! It's SO BEAUTIFUL!!!! I will keep my eye out for cherry high heels. :)

    And the socks?? So proud. SO proud. :)

  3. That is really an unbelievably DIY. How fantastic.

  4. Do you even know how much you are inspiring me? Because I have this exact same stool in yellow that needs updated. It was Ryan's dad's and Ryan's grandfather's before that. I think this may be a fall/winter project.. It looks awesome!

  5. Wow, it looks fabulous! We had that same stool in yellow in my childhood home. That was some functional stool. Great memories. Wish I still had it. Enjoy!!

  6. My Grandma has the same chair, only it kinda looks like the original one now (my dad was destructive as a little boy, who knew?) That was always my favorite spot to sit in at her house. Sadly, my Papa has moved it to the attic, but alas I will have my chair back and take tips from you!

  7. Donna 59 in Myrtle BeachMay 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Have the same one,but my husband took it all apart
    And put it al back together again and painted
    it a nice color with a palm tree back ground.

  8. Oh my gosh!! I was SO excited to find this blog!! I was looking up Stylaire because on my way home from dropping my granddaughter at day camp, I spotted the EXACT SAME style of stool (with less paint splatters!) sitting at the curb next to someone's dumpster!! I slammed on the brakes and pulled into the driveway and now it's sitting in MY garage! And it was FREE! I have wonderful memories of sitting on a stool just like that when I was small, helping my Mom (I miss her!!) bake at the holidays. I've wanted one for a long time. Around here, if it's next to the dumpster, that's basically a 'take me, I'm free' sign. ;-)

    Thank you so much for posting this!!! I'm truly inspired!! And it looks beautiful and now I need striped floors, too! Enjoy those cherry heels when you find them! ;-)

  9. I loved your blog on this stool. I found one on Craigslist and couldn't wait to redo it. Had some trouble with the paint drying and setting, but 3 coats-ish later, it is done....BUT wait, now I am wondering if I should polyurethane it so it can hold up to actually being used without leaving marks in the red paint.? What do you think. How is yours holding up?


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