Take A Seat: Restoring A Piece of IU History

While I was still in school at Indiana University, I discovered one of the most amazing places on campus. It was tucked away far from the classrooms and dorms. Not many people knew about it. It was only open at weird times and was located in a warehouse.

I am talking about the IU Surplus Store! It is like a garage sale of IU goodies! AKA Heaven.

“Provides services for the proper disposition of unneeded university property. By returning surplus items into circulation with sales to university departments and to the general public, Surplus Stores plays an important part in the sustainability efforts of Indiana University. Through sales and recycling programs, Surplus Stores is committed to limiting the university’s environmental foot print which is beneficial to not only the campus but the community as a whole.” –IU Surplus Store Facebook

I bought 2 library chairs for $5 a piece. I like to imagine the years of use these chairs provided to students “studying” in the library. K bought one at a different time, so now we have an odd number of 3. Probably should get a 4th the next time we are in Bloomington to even it out…


IU chair done 3

I love that one of my chairs still has its original “Property of Indiana University” sticker on the bottom.


A couple summers later, while going through antique stores in New Buffalo, Michigan, I happened to come across a chair that was also from the Indiana University Library and had been painted black.


The store was selling it for $120. Yikes! Obviously, my chairs did not look as good, but I intended to change that, and as usual, I got in a bit over my head.


IU Chair3.jpg

The point I started to realize this was a terrible idea


Even though I had two chairs that were not exactly the same, I figured I would just stain them the same color and go with the mix and match look.

Since my dad is a woodworker, I thought the process of stripping the chairs was going to be easy peasy. BOY WAS I WRONG!

Nothing came off no matter how hard we tried. It was just layers and layers of lacquer on those beaten up chairs. Long story short, I got very frustrated and the chairs sat in the garage for a number of months.

Since having 2 junky chairs still covered in peeling chemical stripper is not that appealing to my dad, he took my chairs to work to have the professionals deal with it. Thank goodness for them!

I have since moved and recently sold my old set of 6 chairs on craigslist (no need for them in this tiny apartment anyway), so it was finally time to pick up my IU chairs from the shop!

Look at these babies! They look fantastic! 

IU chairs done

IU chairs done 2

P.S. Thanks, Dad! Couldn’t have done it without you 😉