Q: My parents left me a walnut Windsor chair that was the first piece of furniture they bought after they were married in 1920. The paper label on the bottom of the seat says “Phoenix Chair Co., Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.A.” Somewhere I read that 18th-century Windsor chairs were always painted very dark green. I would like to know if it’s OK for me to paint it dark green.
A: Phoenix Chair Co. was in business from about 1875 into the 1950s. If your parents’ chair was made around 1920 and is in decent shape, it would sell for about $50. Walnut is a nice unpainted wood, but if you prefer dark green go ahead and paint the chair. However, it is not true that all 18th-century Windsor chairs were painted dark green. Many were painted black or even left unpainted.