Monday, April 15, 2013

You choose your furniture but the best furniture chooses you

An upholsterer has just been to look at this chair, which was bought in 1967 by my late father-in-law.

He said "they used to advertise this as 'the world's most comfortable chair'." I'm not surprised. Being new traditionalists by inclination we used to turn up our noses at the look of it but we had to concede it was comfortable to sit in.

When we were clearing their old house we were going to get rid of it because it didn't seem to fit in our Edwardian place. Our youngest stopped us. She wanted to keep it, not least because she remembered how much Grandma liked sitting in it. We hauled it up from the south coast and somehow got it to the top of the house in the workroom. Here it proved ideal for TV viewing and even for sleeping in when you have one of those throat irritations that mean you can't lie down.

Now the upholsterer tell us it's a design classic and his son has a nice sideline knocking out replicas. The Management want to re-cover it in something less jarringly sixties. I've got so used to it that it no longer jars.

We've got a house full of furniture. The kids satirically call it The Museum Of Chairs. We've got a load of infants school wooden chairs which are ideal for perching on to put your shoes on. Our most comfortable sofa is one we inherited, for nothing, from the divorcing couple we were buying our previous house from. I have an office chair which came from a place my father took over in 1966, which had probably been in place since before the First World War.

We're not particularly interested in antiques. We never set out to acquire any of this stuff. Aristocrats used to identify the nouveau riche as people "who bought their own furniture". We've bought plenty of our own as well over the years but it's odd how
the furniture we cherish the most is the stuff we didn't buy.


  1. An ex girlfriend of mine, her (self employed)dad had one of those in his office. I loved it. He used to sometimes sleep in it, if he had been working late and couldn't be bothered (ie had gotten drunk from the bottle of scotch he kept in his filing cabinet) going home.

  2. Um . . . yes, but where is the post on the death of Maggie and how she saved/ruined England and became the anti-muse for a generation of British songsters?

  3. I have two Parker Knoll Jacobsen-style chairs, also in black vinyl, from the same period, which my parents bought when they got their first house. They're marvellously comfortable, iconic and completely out of keeping with my Victorian they have to stay!

    In terms of the nouveau riche argument, where does buying second-hand furniture fit into the equation? Does that just make me 'squeezed middle'?