We’ve all been there before, you see an awesome find at a thrift store and you snatch it up. Then you get home, and you start crafting your plan to make it like new again. What’s the first thing you consider? For me, it’s how to remake a piece into something that I love and fits my style while still maintaining its antique personality. I’ve often found furniture that I knew was A) not from this time period, and B) had no idea idea where it was from. How do you go about finding out where it’s from? When one of my coworkers came to me for help with a set of vintage chairs with an unknown history I figured it would be helpful to show you how we found out about them. I’ve come to think of her as my “Dumpster Diving Partner In Crime”. You might remember some of her other thrift/junk finds such as her couch she reupholstered a while back or the table she refinished for a pinterest project.
Christi purchased six of these chairs for a great price. They have this brassy/silvery metal structure supporting the very orange-y chair cushions. They for sure look dated, so before Christi could form a plan of action for new fabric choices/metal finishes, she wanted a general time period for them.
We took several steps for our research of these chairs.
1) Turn to the internet. I began by googling around using general terms describing the chairs. I tried long phrases “old chair with gold plated metal base with orange velvet fabric” and general short descriptors “orange chair.” This step helped me figure out that these chairs were most likely from the 70′s. I pretty much had an inkling of that already, I mean that orange fabric was a pretty big giveaway. I was still confused about the base though. Was it an a reference to art deco? I wasn’t sure so I moved on from my internet research.
2) Used one of my furniture contacts. Several months ago I purchased a vintage record cabinet from a mid-century furniture dealer. I was impressed by his collection when I went to pick it up and I’ve held onto his information in case I should ever need anything else. I sent him a text asking if he had ever come across chairs like this in his dealings.
At this point I thought I might have something. Milo Baughman sounded promising. I put in a search and turned up a few images that resembled Christi’s mystery chairs.
However, I wasn’t completely satisfied. So…
3) I turned to the experts. One of the leading schools in furniture and design is High Point University in North Carolina. I went and browsed through the website and picked one of the emails listed under the school of interior design. It just so happened to be the dean of the school….of course. I couldn’t believe it but he was nice enough to forward my inquiry to the correct contact and they responded about a week later.
Scott Raynor forwarded me your inquiry about the chairs. I have asked a few people and we are thinking these might be from the 1970s, maybe early 80s. A brass/gold finish was not particularly popular at mid-century and most of the metal was round in section. We are asking one other individual what their opinion is. I assume there are no manufacturer marks on the chairs?
You may want to contact the factually at Kendall. They have a strong furniture design program as well.
I presented all of my findings to Christi about her chairs, so she’s starting to get a better idea about how she wants to proceed with their makeover. One option that we didn’t turn to was to use the aid of a library. There are many resources on the history of furniture that are not accessible online.
Hopefully she’ll share her project soon. If your having a problem identifying furniture send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to figure it out for you. Has anyone ever seen these chairs before?
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