Friday, August 12, 2011

The History Of A Chair

I've always been fascinated with the back story of just about anything.  I love antiques, historic homes and old photographs because of the stories they have to tell.  Every renovation we've tackled in our home has revealed some type of hidden treasure from the past and I delight in those discoveries. As the receiver of many family heirlooms, I'd like to think of myself as a respectful keeper.  I'm mindful to take good care of the items I've been so generously given, but I don't just store stuff to collect dust.  I use it.  Which brings us to my story today. 


My husband's grandparents (the great-grandparent's of my children) bought a pair of pea green club chairs while living in Bristol, Rhode Island in the late 1950's or early 1960's. A full Colonel in the U.S Army since WWII, Mike's Grandfather went back on active duty in 1969 and moved to Hampton,Virginia.
 Green chair 1

The photo above shows my husband's parents (in his grandparent's Virginia home) after they got engaged in front of one of the very same club chairs, Christmas 1969/ New Years 1970. 
 Green chair 2
And here's a photo of my father in law sitting in one of the club chairs after graduating West Point.

Fast forward twenty four years to 1994.

Two starving college students decided to get married. Mike and I were not only dirt poor, we didn't own a salt & pepper shaker between the two of us, let alone a stitch of furniture to furnish our first apartment. Mike's family was kind enough to give us the pair of club chairs and his aunt Linda and uncle Bob paid to recover them from pea green to a stately plaid as our wedding gift. Tufting wasn't really en vogue in the early 90's, so the chair backs were left smooth.

*Here I am on my wedding day, sitting in the club chair that has been recovered in dark plaid fabric.

The chairs remained plaid until the year 2000 when Mike and I began major renovations on our home. Wanting to lighten things up, I ordering slip covers for both chairs in a neutral beachy floral. In an effort to bring the style of the chairs into the 21st century, I raised the skirt line.

In 2004 Mike and I brought our new baby girl home from the hospital.  My Nephew held our sweet arrival while sitting in one of the old slip covered club chairs.

My son was born in 2006 and one of the club chairs made it's way into another family photo.

In 2009 our now five year old daughter poses in the very same club chair in her Matilda Jane party dress.

Although I still love the look of the slip covers, after eleven years (two kids and numerous pets), holes began to appear in the fabric.  So the infamous club chairs went through yet another transformation in 2011.  This time I decided to forgo new slip covers and reupholster the chairs all together.  I thought it only fitting to return the original tufting to the back of the chairs and lose the skirts entirely (since cute wooden legs have been hiding under those skirts the last 60 years!)
 club chair 2011 001

The tufting is subtle but if you look closely you can see it. *grin*
 club chair 2011 001

By The Yard in Tempe, AZ did the work and the chairs turned out so great.   Seriously, I'm in awe of these chairs and I love the family history I'm reminded of every time I look at them.  They will always be a part of our home and who knows...maybe a part of our children's home one day as well.

I hope you enjoyed viewing this post as much as I did putting it together.

~The Lemonista

In response to Casey's question below: Not related :-) Although I'm often told that I look like my husband's family. 


  1. LOOOOOOVE that chair!!! Love the history.... LOVE the fabric. So pretty.

    Just out of curiosity- The woman in the top picture collage on the top right hand side.... is she related to you?? Because the chairs seem to be more on your husband's side of the family but she look remarkably like you! Just wondering...

  2. Absolutely stunning. So love them. Great job thoughtful keeper.

  3. Ahaha...I was thinking the same thing. Elyse resembles her as well< I love your chairs! I have a set of my grandma's chairs that I want to recover as well...they don't have arms...I wonder what they are called...I'll have to send u a pic!

  4. Wow... Great Post... Love all the pictures and the history of the two chairs... So cool!! Love

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  6. What a beautiful story Erin.Deb