by Vonda Gordon, Design Assistant
Like so many people, family members give us furniture we would never choose for ourselves. Our most recent acquisition is an Early American chair from the 1960’s or 70’s. It came from my husband’s grandmother. We received the matching loveseat when we got married. My husband remembered sitting on that furniture when only his feet would reach the edge of the cushion.
Granny grew up in the hills of West Virginia. She had to work so hard for everything she has and refuses to spend her money on anything cheap. The chair we just got is around 50 years old and it looks and sits like a new chair. That said, our décor is not Early American. As cool as some of those pieces are, we don’t have any of it.
Fortunately, Granny had the chair re-upholstered. The original fabric was beige with large orange and brown flowers. It was in incredible shape and Granny doesn’t usually fix something that isn’t broken. We aren’t complaining.
So, we had the problem as everyone else who inherits furniture. What were we going to do with it? When we got the loveseat, we were a young couple who was grateful to have a place to snuggle with our puppy and watch TV. Nothing in our house matched and nothing in our friend’s houses matched. We all had college and hand-me-down furniture.
We are in a different place now. So, we put the chair in the garage and thought about it for a couple of months. Christmas came and went. Like always, our house looks a little bland when the shiny stuff goes away. I once again noticed the dark corner of the living room that had been lit by a tree. Before Thanksgiving, I was considering a floor lamp for that area. I even had my eye on one. The lamp wouldn’t look right without a chair. Granny’s chair might work.
I talked to my husband and he was willing to give it a shot. We brought in the chair and it wasn’t as out of place as I thought it might be. We bought the lamp and, in the process, found an alligator skin embossed, copper garden seat, discounted and just right.
I know, I know, that sounds too contemporary for the chair. If you look at the lamp, it has kind of a mid-century vibe. But, it all works and I like it. I have recently learned that the mid-century look and/or mixing styles are both up and coming trends. I feel too old to be trendy. But I also hate to feel old so I guess it works out.
Here are some tips for old furniture. Re-upholstery makes a dramatic difference. Contemporary or just funky fabric can make a traditional piece fit in a more modern room. Paint can totally change the look of a piece. Like I said before, matchy-matchy is not really the going trend. That old piece might complement other room finishes without matching.
If you aren’t sure what to do, let us know, we are always glad to help.
Here is a picture of Granny’s chair.