Saturday, August 28, 2010

Almost a Pair of Jens Risom Chairs, A Funny Story, and an Apology.

First: an apology. Hi! We're still here! Alive and mostly well on our little corner of N. Mississippi Ave, just a few blocks down the hill from all the action. The past few months have been difficult at best, but the worst is behind us and we're more than ready to start a-blogging again - in fact, now more than ever. There are ideas percolating about a special dedicated "vintage stuff" blog with its own URL - but more on that later.

Today, to get things rolling again, I would like to spiel about a funny thing that happened the other day. I pulled into one of my favorite little consignment/thrift store haunts, and I immediately spied a pair of lounge chairs sitting outside that looked an awful lot like they were designed by Jens Risom. Here they are below:

Of course there were no markings on the chairs, so I plopped myself down in one of them (comfy!) and proceeded to consult the interwebs with my handy-dandy smarty-pants phone. A bit of digging revealed that a) they were the wrong kind of wood - if they were real Risoms they would have been walnut, but these looked like lower quality mahogany, or something else; and b) on the real Risom chairs, the arms point INward, whereas the arms on these point OUTward (kind of hard to see in the photo, but take my word for it). The real Risom lounge chair that I was hoping these were is pictured below:
So, having thusly determined the INauthenticity of these chairs (which, regardless of provenance, were still a pretty good deal for someone at the low, low price of $38 each), I went into the store and browsed for a few minutes, and sadly emerged empty-handed. As I was walking back to my car, I noticed a woman giving the chairs a once-over, and taking out her phone to snap a picture. I struck up a conversation with her, mentioning that while they were pretty cool chairs, they weren't the fancy designer chairs that I was hoping that they were.

She said "well, I really like them, but the fabric is hideous and needs to be redone". I said "absolutely. You should buy them and then give them to me to restore", explaining who I was and what I did for a living. She thought for a second and said "wow, that's great, but I don't have a way to get them home - I just live a few blocks away and was on foot". I said "well, why don't you buy them, we can throw them in my van and bring them to your house". She agreed, and the long and the short of it is that they never made it into her house, they stayed in the van and I brought them back to the shop to refinish the frames and have them reupholstered!


draona said...

I have a set of strap chairs. They have benn in my family since the early 70's, my mother bought them used from a friend. The cushions have been redone (and need to be redone again) the straps are in great condition (canvas, wartime??) but the wood needs refinishing. Is there anyway to know if these are Risom chairs? Please let me know you can email me at

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