Life Long Chairs

I admit they’re not much to look at right now. But these chairs are going to be stunners with a bit (well, a lot) of love and attention. This love and attention is probably going to cost about as much as buying two new armchairs, but I don’t mind. These chairs have been an important part of my life so far and I want them to be again.

Three years before I was born, my parents and brother moved into a house they had built. These lounge chairs were bought at the time. Locally made in the style that we now call Mid Century Modern. I think the original upholstery was a tweedy burnt orange with piping.

One of my earliest memories is sitting on my mother’s lap in one of these chairs. I was probably 3 or 4 years old. We had an oversized pendant light in our living room. I would take my mother’s hand and move it around until I could see the pendant light reflected in the facets of her diamond engagement ring.

They were re-upholstered in the 1970s. Over that decade they, along with the whole house, transitioned from bold Mid Century hues to 1970s textured creams and browns.

My mother died more than 20 years before my father. Hence the very neglected look of these life-worn chairs. But the frames are still solid – with professional restoration the timber will glow back to life again.

The upholstery fabric I’ve chosen is a “refined tweedy weave with multi-coloured yarn structure to give depth and character” from Designers Guild. To me it’s the perfect mix of contemporary life (hard wearing and forgiving of stains!) with just a hint of those long ago Mid Century burnt orange flecks amongst the green.

When I take these re-imagined chairs into my new apartment in 2021, there will be an echo of my parents first taking them into their new home in 1959. More than sixty years will disappear in that moment and these life long chairs will be simultaneously old and new once more.

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