Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Strange Life of an Old Leather Club Chair

This is Lynn, whom we met at Behind the Garden Gate last Saturday. This is not Isabella Rossellini.

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And this is our 1930's leather club chair who was found at the wonderful Installations Antiques here in Houston.

How does this woman, who looks like Isabella Rossellini, figure into the life of an old vintage leather club chair? Here goes:

Last Saturday evening, we happened onto our friend Becki, owner of Installations Antiques. She was with the Isabellaesque stranger whom she introduced as Lynn, the previous owner of your old leather club chair. Now this is the very same chair whose ample arms hug you warmly as you read a book or sip a cup of hot brew...the same chair who beckons to anyone who happens by The Bunny Bungalow...the very chair who invites you to put your feet up and linger awhile and tell your best stories.

It seems that Lynn had inherited the old chair from her grandmother, Myrtle. Lynn had lived with the chair for a time but came to realize that she had little room for such a large piece. She gave the chair to Becki, whom she trusted to give it new life. Well, Becki had it reconditioned and covered in fine leather then placed on display the very day Tall Husband and I walked into her antique shop. It was love at first sight, even though we knew something would have to go, to make room (does anyone have room for an old creaky Boston rocker?)

Lynn tells us that the old chair was upholstered in a striped fabric and stuffed with horsehair when it resided at her grandmother's house.
It had been Myrtle's favorite chair. When Lynn inherited the chair from Myrtle, she had it covered in a canvas fabric.

She was pleased to learn that her chair has a new life and is so treasured. Thank you Myrtle and Lynn for handing forward such a warm and welcoming piece of your past. Anyone who sits in that chair feels its fine history.


  1. What a great historical tale! That lovely chair was meant to be discovered by you! What an interesting and warmly comfortable find!

  2. What a great story. I love knowing the history of my favorite old things. This story of your wonderful chair is even better since you got to meet Isabella - oops, I mean Lynn!

  3. I just love this story. I often wonder who owned and loved some of the old treasures I have found. How amazing to meet the person, that made it possible for the treasure to come to you...

  4. A beautiful chair, with a wonderful herstory. I know you will enjoy it.
    Btw, Annie, I also found myself ogling the cushion on your sofa; what does it say on it?

  5. Hey, I have known Becki & Jur of Installations for about 15 years. Wonderful people and what an eye Becki has for display and design. And the things that Jur creates are often awe-inspiring. Love his tables and really loved his Marfa Lights piece.
    I love them both.

  6. To all: Thanks for all your wonderful comments. Yes, it was a great treat to get to meet the previous owner and learn the history of the old chair.

    Troy: You are right...Becki and Jur are so talented. I love anything they touch. The cushions on the couch in the second photo are from their Installations Antiques. They had them made for us from a vintage grain sack.

    Marysol: The 2 cushions (just one shown in the photo) are made from a large 1937 German grain sack and are from Installations Antiques here in Houston. The one in the photo has the name "Friedr. Riehmann" printed on it. "Friedr" is an abbreviation of "Friedrich." The other cushion, not shown, has "Dürrmenz 1937" printed on it. Dürrmenz is a German village that is north-west of Stuttgart.

    BTW, the beautiful script on the cushions is "Fraktur"...a German Gothic type used until just after WWII. When I studied German, we were required to learn to read Fraktur.

  7. That is a cool chair,love the lines of it!! Fun story to go along with it.
    We were this close to buying one very similar at the Paris Flea markets, but chickened out. I wish I had!

  8. Elizabeth,
    We have also come so close to buying one of those French leather chairs while in Paris. I think that is why we grabbed this one, to make up for not having bought the French version.

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