On the spectrum of decor, Missy and I are different shades of black. We’re not at each other’s throats or clamoring about the other’s foolishness – it’s not bootcut versus straight-leg jeans, in other words. Missy likes the clean lines, visible functionality and simplicity of midcentury modern design, while I’m drawn to the clean lines, visible functionality and simplicity of the craftsman movement. Different strokes, but when push comes to shove, we’re basically the same folks. Neither one of us, for example, likes ornate, frilly details (except as an occasional fabric pattern).
It’s only fair, then, that our second chair project this week falls closer to Missy’s end of that spectrum. We went to ReStore to price 6×6 posts for a short fence (no dice – lumber was very scant this week), and found this 50s-era office chair for a princely $10. Even I, who usually appreciates modernity from a safe distance, could admire its “form”, to use some furniture-nerd lingo.
Ugly, but solid - 2:30 this afternoon
It's for the office now, for Missy's studio later, but not going anywhere in this condition
It’s a chair with internal tension – its shape makes it squat and sturdy and the metal gives it an industrial vibe, but at the same time, there’s a whole lot of open space and the metal legs are pretty spindly. Even better, I think we ratcheted up both ends of that tension with $3 of fabric from JoAnn and a $6 hunk of white oak from Menard’s.
In progress (I was this close to taking the back off, just so I could say we completely stripped it)
Missy reupholstered the seat with a black & white floral fabric (leaving the black leather on the backrest), while I swapped out the 1×1.5″ maple armrests for much beefier 1×3″ oak. I also lengthened the arms by 2.5″ (1/2″ off the back and 2″ off the front) to give them more substance. One small detail that no one but a wood geek would notice – both arms are rift-sawn oak, but I oriented them so the ray-flakes are visible on the outer edges.* The finish is two applications of Provincial stain by Minwax (leftover from refinishing the floor in the entry, so I didn’t even have to buy it).
Total cost: nineteen simoleans.
Laying out the new arms
The new wings go on
The daughter approves
The shape and arms remind me a lot of a Stickley prairie-box chair, one of my favorites
Ray flakes on the edges of the wings
There's more that unites them than divides them
*If I had access to some, I would have bought a 1×3 of quarter-sawn white oak, which would have the ray-flakes on the broad sides instead of the edges. Alas – we lack a good lumber store.
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