Last September, I was minding my business in San Diego, doing San Diego things with my San Diego friends, when I received a text message from Leah. She sent me a picture, of what was essentially trash in the rain on a curb, along with the text, “You like these kinds of chairs right?” Intermingled with 4 black trash bags, I could make out some pieces of wood sticking out that resembled some kind of Danish-mod lounge chair. Turns out, there was a chair and a matching two seater bench abandoned on the curb.
Leah texted back “they’re pretty broken…” but I didn’t care, I insisted that she drag them home four blocks back to her old apartment in Williamsburg. She kept them for a month and then she moved them to our new place where they sat, broken in the living room, until I finally made the move to New York in mid-November.
“I’ll just fix them,” I fantasized, “I’ll just read some web tutorials and clean them up and then Leah can sew the cushions and we’ll have a lovely living room set for nearly free!”
Yeah, right. When I finally laid eyes on these things I realized what I had gotten myself into. These chairs were rotten and broken beyond anything I could ever dream of repairing.
So, in the next few weeks, I set out on foot searching for an antique furniture repair shop in my new neighborhood. Finally, I met Abraham and Al at Family Fine Furniture in Maspeth, Queens (a surprisingly short walk from where we live in Bushwick). And voilà…
Pretty nice right?
Leah and I picked out the perfect linen fabric at Leah’s favorite fabric shop, Belraf Fabrics, in the Lower East Side. The man who works there is the nicest guy and he has some really interesting fabrics. I think we made the right decision, I love the geometric pattern.
The chairs have no tags or marks, but as soon as I saw them I could tell they must be American-made, probably from the mid ’60s. I did some research and figured out they were designed by Theodore Baumritter and produced in the ’60s for Baumritter’s “Viko” line of furniture. Fun fact: Baumritter Furniture Co. later became Ethan Allen. Of course this is all uncited internet research so if anyone has the scoop on these chairs, please share.
Sure, my fantasy of nearly free midcentury chairs for the living room didn’t quite pan out. In reality, we spent some hard-earned cash on these pretty things. But I feel good about it, I feel like we spent a little bit of money to rehabilitate some sick orphaned chairs that would have never seen the light of day again if it weren’t for us. And just look at them now, I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.
Our living room is by no means livable yet – we are just beginning to hang some art and figure out what the hell we may want to sit around in the there for. My favorite place to sit/eat/read/ etc is still at the dining room table, so until we get a credenza or some shelves or a coffee table or something else going on in the living room I can’t foresee much living going on in there for a while.