roped folding chairs, Yugoslavia edition

yugo1There are a lot of these folding chairs from Yugoslavia around.  They were made with a tinted clear finish that is almost always scratched and scuffed, and the original hemp/cotton cord is inevitably frayed and worn.  I’ve always wanted to ebonize a pair of them and finally I got the chance.

yugo2These are done in Danish paper cord, which wears better than the original cord.  I also did a more Danish-style weave.  (Photo courtesy of Rob Degenhard at Home Anthology).

 

yugo4I just love the look of the natural kraft paper color against the soft black of the wood.

 

yugo3

Posted in mid-century modern, Woven Danish paper cord | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Ulferts Fabriker lounge chair from Sweden

ulferts1This once-handsome chair was made by Ulferts Fabriker in Tibro, Sweden, according to the tag.

 

ulferts2Reupholstered in Maharam/Kvadrat’s Hallingdal wool hopsack, it’s ready for the next few decades!

 

ulferts3The original wool fabric was completely worn through in places and the foam of course was shot.  The teak frame had some scuffs and was a little dull and grimy but not nearly as bad as the fabric.

 

ulferts4It’s surprising what a little teak oil and #0000 steel wool can do.

 

ulferts7I couldn’t find much about this company online.  Obviously they exported some things to the U.S. because this label is American.

 

ulferts5This is colorway 227.  It looks darker on Maharam’s website.  It has golden brown yarns in one direction and light heather gray in the other.   I think it looks gorgeous with the old teak.

 

ulferts6One of the things I really like about this chair is how square it is but with most of the lines softened by just a bit of curve.  It has a really solid look without being hard at all.  Very appealing!

Posted in Swedish chairs | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

comfy little side chair

redboudoir1I got this little chair awhile back and of course sliced open the back before remembering to take a photo or two!  I was just dying to know what padding it had originally because there sure wasn’t anything there when I got it.  (Turns out it was latex foam over jute webbing, and the foam had dried up and crumbled to dust, leaving some very slack fabric.)

redboudoir2I added new padding all over.  The back might be a little thicker than it was originally but it’s SO comfy now.

The original fabric was a beautiful ribbed wool epingle (tiny loops of wool in sculpted rows).  Unfortunately it was completely worn out in places or I would have considered reusing it somehow.  I hope I find some more someday.

 

redboudoir3I thought the chair might have been made in Sweden because it has the exact same interlocking coil springs as another Swedish chair I did recently.  But then I found this tag in German in the springs.  Maybe Swedish furniture makers used German-made springs?  I don’t know.

redboudoir4The new fabric is Knoll’s Classic Boucle in a soft red.

 

Posted in mid-century modern | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Teak monkeys!

TEAKMONK1These teak monkeys belonged to a friend.  The one on the left is missing his ears and upper…jaw?  Is that what that part is called?

TEAKMONKS2They aren’t the Danish monkeys by Bojesen, just adorable vintage Japanese knock-offs.

TEAKMONKS3I cut new ears out of a 1/4″ thick oak board, which fortunately is available off the shelf at Home Depot.

TEAKMONKS4The upper jaw-mouth-part-thing is one of those wooden half-eggs that you get at craft stores, carefully measured and then cut in half again and stained to match.

TEAKMONKS5He could have had a bit more underbite, but oh well.

TEAKMONKS6Yay!

 

Posted in mid-century modern, Uncategorized, vintage accessories | 1 Comment

Heywood Wakefield pouf ottoman gets a fresh new look

Looks hopeless, right?

IMG_4756aObviously this was taken after I’d gotten started on taking the thing apart but that’s exactly how the fabric looked.  It’s that scratchy frieze fabric and the color was brown with a rosy undertone.  And some bald spots.

 

IMG_4769The new fabric is Knoll’s Classic Boucle in “Chartreuse” with the button done in “Aegean”–and yes, that’s the round lounge chair that I featured a little while back.  These two belonged to the same person.  Fun, huh?!

 

 

Posted in mid-century modern, vintage accessories | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hans Olsen cane back settee

olsensettee1The binder cane on the back on this Hans Olsen settee  was old and brittle with a lot of broken strands.  The settee needed cushions, too.

 

olsensettee2I rewove the back with new rattan, which will eventually darken in color.  (Thanks to Rob Degenhard/Home Anthology for the rest of the photos here–my “after” shots were not up to par on this one!)

olsensettee3The new cushions are done in Knoll Classic Boucle in the Aegean colorway.

 

olsensettee4The notch on the arm rests dictated how thick the back cushions should be.  I did rounded edges with top-stitched seams, and I used invisible zippers instead of conventional ones so that all sides would look equally neat.

 

olsensettee5Olsen designed this settee too look as beautiful from the back as it does from the front.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Danish chairs, mid-century modern | Tagged | 4 Comments

Big round lounge chair

You see this 5′ diameter lounge chair attributed to Milo Baughman but I think that’s just one of those internet rumors that gets started and then is perpetuated because it’s just there.

Anyway, it had the original frieze fabric from the 1961, with a lot of wear.  A lot.

 

The owner chose Knoll “Classic Boucle” fabric in Aegean, a beautiful deep turquoise.

 

In addition to being worn, it was very faded.  The original color was a pretty jade green.

 

So much nicer!

 

The seat on this chair is a separate piece from the outer frame.  It has these sinuous springs that are attached to a center disc of wood.  The springs had a very disconcerting way of kind of collapsing when sat upon, which just wouldn’t do.   I started by sticking a blog of firm foam between the upholstery and the disc.

 

This is the outer frame.  The center of that X framing on the bottom was just under the disc of wood—with no support in between whatsoever!  So I stapled two coil springs to the base and now it’s got great support and is very comfortable.

I think it’s fine to stay as original as possible when restoring furniture, but if something is wildly uncomfortable and can be made more comfortable—and thus more functional—without changing the outward appearance, then I say GO for it.  Life is too short to spend any of it sitting on furniture that feels bad.

 

 

 

Posted in mid-century modern | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Danish Modern teak dining chairs

This is one of a set of six Danish Modern style teak chairs that I got from someone who I think got them at a yard sale.

 

After the MCR makeover!

 

This is not the original upholstery.  They had been professionally redone long ago in this cotton fabric and then were abused like you wouldn’t believe.  This some of the dirtiest upholstery I’ve ever seen!

 

Fortunately it is possible to remove all of the old stuff down to the frame and replace it with clean new materials.  This is Knoll’s Classic Boucle, a wool/nylon blend that looks and feels lovely.  This is a dark brown that they call “Pumpernickel”.

 

Not only was the fabric dirty, but the teak was actually crusted with food in places, plus the usual paint scuffs—and whoever reupholstered them had also added a coat of lacquer to the wood, probably because it was dried out and someone thought it needed some gloss.

There’s nothing wrong with lacquer per se, but it was worn and peeling and kept my teak oil from being absorbed evenly.

 


I don’t normally do refinishing but since I had already begun upholstering these and the weather was cooperative, I dove in.  The wood looks about a million percent better now that it’s cleaned up.

 

Teak really only needs oil.

 

Ready for boarding!

 

 

Posted in Danish chairs, mid-century modern | 62 Comments

Hans Wegner Cow Horn chairs, Johannes Hansen production

Long overdue post, but it’s a good one!

This is one of a set of six Cowhorn chairs by Hans Wegner that had been in the owners’ family since they were purchased in the late 50s or early 60s.  They were produced by Johannes Hansen, Copenhagen (and currently made by PP Møbler, Denmark).

 

At some point in the chairs’ early existence, they were coated with shellac.  Maybe this was to add some gloss to the teak.  I did some research to determine whether it was the original finish and the answer came back:  nope.  So I very carefully removed it and oiled the bare teak.

 

Oh, and I rewove the binder cane seat.

 

The seat had been shellacked too, but the cane had also darkened naturally.  The new cane will darken with age too, it’ll just take awhile.

 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with shellac as a finish, but it does get really dark over time and also can get gummy in humid weather.  You can actually see the wrinkles of someone’s shirt in the finish in this photo.  Dust and grime become imbedded in it.

The shellac was also faintly alligatored in areas.  Old shellac is brittle and it no longer flexes with minute swelling and contracting of the wood when the humidity changes.  It develops tiny cracks and feels and looks rough, kind of like an alligator hide.

 

This is the same chair back.  Wegner cut the back from mirrored pieces of the same block of wood and the light/dark effect is reversed if you look at it from the opposite angle.  It is breathtakingly beautiful.

That one little corner in the middle of the row of tenons is a chip that was filled in by the craftsman who made the chair.  It probably matched when he did it, but the wood darkened a bit more than the filler over time.  It must have been hard to get a perfect cut on those tenons on every chair, every time.  I imagine him cursing under his breath when that little corner broke off.

 

No, this is not a photo of my sweater sleeve.  It’s an extreme closeup of one of the chair backs showing the imprint of a Tshirt in the shellac.   That stuff just had to go.

 

The shellac had gotten so dark that it obscured the grain of the teak.

 

Wow, right?  I never got tired of looking at this.

 

These arms are just the perfect shape in your hand.

 

And now they look good, too.

 

I just like this photo.  Makes you just want to swoop your hand across that smooth wood.

Also, you don’t get that light/dark thing when you look at the backs straight on.  Only from an angle.

Posted in Danish chairs, mid-century modern | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

new webbing for Poul Volther sofa

This sofa by Danish designer Poul Volther was in very nice shape except for the webbing.  It was the Pirelli rubber type and had become saggy and dried out with age.  When Pirelli webbing reaches that state, it has no stretch and is useless.  The only solution is to replace it.

As so often happens, I forgot to take ‘before’ photos of this one.  You can find photos of old Pirelli webbing all over the internet, but what I wish I’d gotten was a photo of someone sitting on it.  Not only did it have a disconcerting sinking feeling, but the saggy webbing also caused the edges of the seat cushions to flip up, leaving big gaps around the sitter.

It really was a bit of a turn-off for this handsome piece of furniture.

 

I replaced the old stuff with new Pirelli webbing.  Now the same cushions are firmly supported and do not flip up when you sit.  It’s ready for a few more decades of use!

Thanks to Home Anthology for this one!

 

Posted in Danish chairs, mid-century modern | Tagged , | 4 Comments