Champagne Taste, Karkov Budget

I'm going to be honest. I am a dumpster diver. It is one of my favorite things to do - search the sidewalks for discarded furniture and take it home. Living in New York where space was a premium, I frequently found pieces in like-new condition that had gone out with the garbage simply because they didn't match a new shade of paint. And when the weather was poor and the pickings were slim, I turned to flea markets, vintage stores, garage sales, auctions, the Salvation Army, eBay and Craigslist for inexpensive steals. (Also excellent sources for colored glass, another personal obsession.)

I've found more free chairs than we will ever use, bar tables, side tables, foyer tables, a bureau, an ottoman and my biggest score of all, a Provencal-style console table in excellent condition. Jon, The Husband, did not always appreciate the "before" furniture chilling in our 547 square foot studio, waiting for its new coat of paint.

But now we have a house! Rooms to fill! Try and stop me!

Enter the rattan-backed, solid wood chair and couch. These were purchased at an auction for $75 total. Since the center back piece of the couch has worn through, I had to create a covered section for support. I used a natural-colored linen muslin for both seats and trimmed the edges in jet black grosgrain ribbon, all achieved with staple and glue guns, a hammer, spray adhesive and a little elbow grease. Obviously this is not a long term solution, but I plan to get them professionally upholstered and the seats revamped down the road (dang, is that expensive).

They remind me of something Gatsby would have had on the porch of his North Shore home. I love the graceful swoop of the arms, the beveled wood details on the legs and 'shoulders,' and heavy basketweave.

The wood could use another coat of paint, but I'm not sure what color I ultimately want (plus, I kind of like a little wear - it reminds me they're likely older than I am). I'm thinking when we're finally in Florida, I'll go crazy with the color. Hermes orange for a guest sitting room? Happening!

Next for Show and Tell Tuesday (hmm, that one might stick) are my newest garage sale purchases. We needed dining room chairs and I found a set of 6 on Milwaukee's Craigslist. In the process of removing the seats covers, I discovered this:

"Nachman Patented 3-28-1922"
Husband quickly searched the internet for any information on Nachman furniture and found the same set of chairs on eBay for $1800! Our cost? $20 bucks a chair. Sco-re. I had already removed the upholstery (if you can call it that, let's be honest) and discovered another layer of fabric, which I left underneath in case it is original (though I highly doubt it). I covered 4 of the chairs in my new fabric (both Ikat variations, LOVE) and cleaned the wood. Here's a photo of the final product (hideous former fabric on the left):

Check out the carved details on the backs and legs. Seen as a group, each of the chairs have slight variations - marks of handmade work. If the labels on the seat bottoms are correct, these chairs are almost 100 years old!

These are traditional pieces, but I love modern, too. In fact, the black basketweave chair sits next to a Louis Ghost chair in my living room. Enough for today - wine is calling.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god! How have you managed to find 4 awesome chairs...and recover them? I found 2 awesome chairs...and they are still sitting un-recovered. Come to Maine and help me!!