It seems in Germany the Chiavari chair abounds and 95% of the people don’t know what they have which is lucky for me. For those of you who don’t know, the Chiavari chair was developed in Italy over 200 years ago with the intention of creating something beautiful, strong and light. Often its made of wood and sometimes brass. I’ve even seen one or two modern versions in plexi-glass. There are several styles but the most famous by far is this one which I picked up for less than 45,- including shipping and handling:
They were often used in royal courts in all the fashionable countries and even our own version of royalty, the Kennedy’s, used them at their wedding. Since then, they’ve become a staple at weddings and high society functions. If you want to know more about the chair check out this article.
We don’t have a Craig’s list but we do have eBay and I am officially addicted which sometimes turns out to be a good thing. I found two of these iconic chairs by inputting “brass chair,” in German of course, into the search. Here’s one for sale as I write for less than 20,- euros. But the guy won’t ship and its too far to drive. Hey, with this abundance, I can afford to be picky.
What I’d really like to do, is buy up a whole bunch and ship them to the states where I could easily get $400 a piece. But I digress… The other chair I bought is similar to the one above but it has a higher, more slanted back as opposed to a straight back. The previous owners had covered it in brown velvet (which wasn’t bad actually). The problem was there was some lumpy crap under the fabric that slid around when the chair was tilted. As you can imagine, that wasn’t very comfortable (or pretty). This is what it looked like before.
Ignore that table missing it’s top…I’ve ordered a beige sandstone and I’m just waiting for it to come. Though now that we’re on the subject of the table, I’m not so sure I like it next to the chair. I think there’s too much openness going on. And the curlyques compete with the “turned” look of the chair. However, the table looks great with the lamp and the rows of black and white prints. I really want to use the chair (and I prefer the one shown below) in the living room but we’ll just have to see when everything is in place.
Now back to the high-back Chiavari chair. In addition to using some pretty suspect material for padding of the chair they had used a garbage bag to secure the underside. I began to get suspicious of just what that “stuff” might be. So after removing a few staples and pealing back the fabric, I decided it might be better just to take the whole project outside onto the balcony.
Once I got that cleaned up, I brought it back inside so I could cover it with foam and fabric (what a novel idea). At the upholstery shop where I bought the foam, they told me I should use two pieces to achieve a kind of rounded look to the seat. The smaller piece gets placed on the wood first then is covered by the other piece.
After that, it was just a matter of stapling on the fabric that I had already precut and finished with a zigzag stich to keep it from fraying.
And voila! Right now, I got this chair up in my office but there’s no way I’m making that public yet… right now its a mess but with the mural in my son’s room, I have officially begun the long and arduous work of decorating the first floor. So my office is next.
Update: Make sure to tell someone at the foam shop that you will be USING the chair. I ended up with some really hard foam that after just an hour or two leaves my backside soar. Since this is my office chair, I’ll be redoing the chair with a softer foam soon!
- Ideas & Inspiration
- Life on the Lake
- On the Table
- Renovations from the Front
- Tips & Resources
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