Therese Interior Design

collaboration is the key to design

Crazy for Chairs

My guilty obsession.

Find one with ‘good bones’ and it is amazing how many ways you can reinvent seating and for a lot less than you think!

Be it a Desk, Wing, Club, Chaise, Occasional, Slipper or Dining Room seating. If you are on the hunt for one with good bones, think outside the box…ahem, frame.

Where to shop: Antique Stores, Attics, Flea Markets, Consignment Shoppes, Grandma’s house or Manhattan Upper East Side curbside before trash day.

Albert Hadley once noted, ‘Nothing comes cheap, though the educated eye will always spot very nice things for the least money.’”

Rule of Thumb: Chair must have good bones.
What does this mean?  Well made. Built to last.

The following insight made me chuckle – and it is so true.  “Older is better,” says upholsterer George Spicer. “If  it was going to fall apart, it would have by now.”

Tips on how to select a Chair with Good Bones:

Pick chair up. If it is light and flies out of your hand, walk away.  Well-made furniture is substantial.

Sit on it. How does it feel? Are you rocking to and fro? Fine if it is a rocking chair, not so if it is a desk chair.

Turn chair over and inspect the joints. Seat frames at each corner should be reinforced with wooden blocks.

Look for dowels and not glue.

Beware staples and gauze on the bottom of chairs as this is not some odd art project.

Check out the legs. Run your hand over length of any exposed wood. Knots, although lovely for design, will lead to cracking. Check for smoothness and look for even finishes. Roughness and changes in color indicate inferior craftsmanship.

Signs of higher quality chairs include counter-sunk screws and good bracing in the bottom.

Is it a harder solid wood like cherry, maple, walnut and mahogany?  You might want to avoid pine as it is a soft wood.  Soft woods ‘shift’ over time and they scratch easily.

Avoid veneers.

Over the years, we have had fun reinventing seating for our Clients. If you are on a tight budget, you might want to try spending $149 on a Ballard Parsons Chair and then ‘dress it up’ seasonally with slipcovers.

OR visit your local Estate Sale and invest in a Shabby Chic Vintage look

I picked up one such item for $2, left its frame spattered with white chipped paint and added purple crystal beading and a purple/white polka dot seat – it rocked the room!

Want to have some fun?  Compliments of Wild Chairy.  Always think outside the frame…

So what are the new textile trends?  Well Home Fashion follows Couture.  So take a look at the runways. Pattern on Pattern.

Dare to layer.  Why not reupholster your dining room chairs with the Model’s ‘skirt’ and outfit your dining room table with cloth in Model’s ‘blouse’ utilizing tableware in the hues of fashion for Spring 2013?

Recommended Upholsterers. I have a few.

Victoria of The Clearinghouse Exchange in Greenport. Her workmanship is spot on and she has an enormous warehouse filled to the brim with one of a kind finds from the Hamptons, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, Connecticut….

Victoria even has specials where the chair frames are free and you only pay for upholstering which she does on site. Victoria also showcases reams upon reams of fabric to play with. Check her out:

I also like Lou of Rocky Point Upholsterers. For over 50 years he has perfected his craft and his workmanship is second to none. Lou is solid.

So let’s talk Chairs.

My favorite chair of all time ….

Klismos.  The Egyptians knew what they were doing. The lines are surreal.  The beauty transcends time.

So what is your favorite chair? You’ll be amazed how much of your TRUE Design Style and Sensibility is defined by the type of chair you gravitate towards.

Are you Traditional?

How about Transitional?

Maybe Modern speaks to you?

Eclectic a.k.a. Crazy Fun Loving?

Rock on and think outside the Frame.