Scouring flea markets and thrift stores can be a lot like 8 minute dating. There's a room full of contenders looking to catch someone's eye, all with the secret hope of ending up in the back of their car before the day ends.
I'm the type of gal who can do her courting in under a minute and that is pretty much what happened when I spied this mustard colored chair at a thrift store.
I instantly fell in love with the Danish Modern inspired form. The masculine shape; solid teak base with a generous seat and a flared back and arms. It had good bones, but the fabric — cozy as burlap. It was harvest gold and felt like old doll hair that has been power washed with Palmolive. Just awful, but certainly not permanent.
The brand name was not one that I had recognized but that's not my buying strategy. I was drawn to this handsome devil. I snatched the sales tag off it and 10 minutes later had miraculously wedged it into a compact rental car.
Of course I had a million ideas for the chair but vision and action don't always share the same calendar and at some point, it was shuffled into one of my storage units where it sat amongst my other flea market flings for a really long time.
I knew it had potential and would be something amazing — like all of my 'this has potential and going to be amazing' projects. Ultimately though, I just stuck baby in a corner and only dragged it out so I could get to other pieces. I also needed something dependable to hold my warm-up jacket and 45lb purse while I dug through the unit. Note: that is not a leg of cured meat, it's a lamp.
During a purging phase, I tried to sell the chair on craigslist and ebay. But for as many people that were interested in it, there were just as many strange reasons why they didn't buy it. One couple showed up on a Vespa and said there was no room to take it home. May I suggest renting car next time? Trust me, it will fit.
Ultimately, it never sold, so back into storage the chair went. I would occasionally try to do more research on Selig Furniture but the most information I found was that they were local company started in Gardner, MA but had long since been sold off to mattress manufacturer, Simmons based in Atlanta.
The time finally came to refurbish the chair and I wanted to let Studio Twenty Two's friends on Facebook and Instagram decide the fabric direction. Let's be honest, unless is's a color between 10% and 90% black, I rarely consider it an option. So, I posted a few fabric choices on our Make Over Monday feature. Three grey and one citrus yellow. Guess which swatch almost didn't make the cut?
The fan favorite was second from the left, "Seagull" - a crisp linen blend in soft neutral shade of grey (yeah!). I loved that choice but tweaked the outcome just a bit. I kept it in the Maxwell Fabrics family but went for a darker hue and used "Tetra" in Silver. I ordered the fabric and sent it off for the big make over.
When the chair was finished, I went to pick it up and the gentleman that had worked on it, John, had asked if it was mine. I told him it was and he became very quiet and then told me that he had been thinking about his late father quite a bit the previous week and was really feeling his absence.
When John got started on the chair, he removed the cushion and he noticed the manufacturer tag "Selig Showcase". He told me his father worked for the company when he returned home from World War II. In John's 30+ years as an upholsterer, he has never worked on a Selig piece his entire career and always hoped he could.
He blinked quite a bit and said that working on that chair was a sign from his father that he was still with him. Which started me blinking, so I pretended I wore contacts and rolled my finger over my eyeball to look legit and force me to tear up. But in the end, I was hugging a total stranger who was holding a pneumatic staple gun because we both knew that the chair needed to find its way to John.
Pass the tissues.