Uh Oh… something happened this week that really ticked me off. It has to do with my Wagner Club Chairs.
You know… these beauties.
My living room with two Wagner Chairs from CR Laine.
Sadly, they’ve discontinued this chair and regretfully, they have changed their business model to one that is very designer UNfriendly, so I can no longer recommend them.
Many of my colleagues have been affected and I think it’s a very nasty thing to do. It’s very unfortunate, because I thought of them for years as one of the best upholstery companies.
The side view is so pretty.
I used these club chairs on two of the new paint palette collection boards
and then this white version on two others. When I got to the very last board a few days ago, to work on the text and add the links, I encountered a massive snag. I found the chair at Layla Grace. (retail)
But when I went on CR Laine’s website, the chair was GONE. Gone, as in discontinued, gone.
WHAT? That just can’t be true! The Wagner is one of the prettiest club chairs in the market place. It’s beautifully scaled; I long to see more chairs like this, not have them taken away. #disgusted
I did not change all of the boards, but the last one, I substituted two other white chairs. That’s life. Furniture comes and goes but this is a piece that should never have gone.
I’m sure they would tell me that it wasn’t selling. Right. Of course not. Why buy this pretty chair when you can have one of these?
I call them FUBBBS
FUBBBS = FAT, UGLY, BLOATED, BOXY, BIZARRE
And no, these are not from CR Laine. These chairs are from another vendor who will go unmentioned.
This styling proliferates at numerous brands in the market place. Every market, I keep hoping for a glimmer of change. And yes, with some brands, like Hickory Chair and Century and of course, Lee Industries and others, I do see some very beautiful furniture. But most of it, IMO misses the mark and/or is downright horrendous
So, it’s time for a reset button.
Oh, I’ve written about this before. It comes up all of the time. And it comes up because every once in a while, I just have to let off some polyester batting.
And one reason is— There is soooooo much that needs to come together to make a beautiful room. You can have a gorgeous space with 12 foot ceilings and 8 foot windows, mouldings up the wazoo… And then you furnish it with the likes of those club chairs above.
It’s like a gorgeous woman in the world’s ugliest dress.
This is when you set fire to the house, just so that you can destroy the wedding albums. (or maybe she was trying to hide that she’s 7 months pregnant?)
Sorry. Where was I?
Oh yes, reset button.
You see… there are beautiful chairs out there.
But most of them are old. Or, a new one costs the same as a semester at an Ivy League College.
What makes for a beautiful club chair?
Let’s look at some gorgeous old, classic club chairs.
This is my favorite, favorite chair on the new Laurel Home Ultimate Paint Palettes and Home Furnishings Collection. (Coming out November 2nd!!!)
This beauty is a vintage or maybe even an antique chair that was reupholstered at Chairloom. (they were having problems with their website which hopefully will get cleared up soon) Do you know Chairloom? (not to be confused with Chairish). They have a fabulous business reupholstering old chairs they’ve found, your chairs that you give to them, or also consulting with you and providing gorgeous designer fabrics if you would like to update a cool chair you’ve found.
They are one of 40 rockin’ new sources on Laurel’s Rolodex. That update is also coming out on November 2nd.
Is this not the most divine club chair you’ve ever seen? If you don’t think so, then we’re going to need more than a reset button. I think we’ll need to go for a full detox session.*
*Exception. I know that a lot of readers live in that big, hot state where some think it’s a good idea to build a wall. And I know that y’all love your big houses and your big furniture. Not all of you, but in all fairness, if it’s all one’s ever known, then you are forgiven.
But, I’ll forgive you, in any case. However, if you are open to it, please hang with me…
I went on a hunt for the world’s most beautiful club chairs.
And yes, I found some new ones, but let’s take a look back in time to the beginnings of the beautiful club chair.
The club chair had its not-so-humble beginnings in the plethora of Gentleman’s uhhh clubs that sprang up in 19th century England. Although, I read that men’s clubs began in the 1600’s. But most chairs, didn’t have much upholstery until the late 1800’s.
Two companies date back to the earlier part of the 19th century. The most well-known one in the US is George Smith but it seems that another company, Howard and Sons has more antique chairs in the market place. Both companies are still in existence. Howard and Sons is now known as Howard Chairs.
Here are some of the original Howard and Sons club chairs. (and other less “clubby” ones too) These are from the late 19th century.
And a 3/4 view. As you’ll see… a lot of these chairs are upholstered in this pattern. These are quite dirty which is a shame. They are the classic Bridgewater style with an English Roll arm. I found them on 1st Dibs where you can read a bit more about them.
And original caster from one of these chairs. Looks like it’s lived through a lot.
A beautiful Howard and Sons slipper chair. Notice how the seat on this and the Bridgewater chair slopes down. I have found that chairs do this, feel deeper than they are. And it’s a beautiful look.
Above another Howard and Sons chair. This one is old, but has had a complete over-haul. This is from Dean Antiques. There are many, many beautiful, old refurbished chairs to check out. (and sofas too!)
I discovered later that the fabric is the original design known as “Howard Ticking.” Here’s a small swatch of it. I’ve seen it in green, blue, brown, gray and red. Photo via Selling Antiques.
This is another well-known Howard and Sons style found at William James Antiques. The seat is an exceptionally low 15″. And over the years, I’ve heard people gasp at the notion. But “the throne” is about 16″ and so is the average picnic bench seat. I admit, that 15 is a little low, but 17 would be fine. Most of the old chairs are only about 32″ high and some are even lower. The average width is under 29″.
These chairs are not the hunky club chair but very pretty and only 31″ high.
What about new club chairs?
Yes, there are chairs today that imitate these to some extent. But these old chairs are sleeker.
My point is… Can’t they make these kinds of chairs at affordable prices? I don’t know how much a George Smith Chair is now, but 20 years ago, they were at least $5,000. So, are they $10,000? It’s a lot of money.
Here are the expensive but insanely beautiful club chairs
George Smith Jules Chair in Lulu DK Bloomsbury
Above a pretty George Sherlock chair. This is another English company that makes the most gorgeous chairs. They are a relatively young company, starting only 50 years ago.
Another beautiful down-filled, new club chair from George Sherlock. Found on 1st Dibs. Down is lovely for seat and back cushions, but it does require a lot of fluffing. I prefer spring down. I do love the French seams on the seat cushions, in place of standard welting, too. The over-all height is again only 32″. I love that.
These are certainly wonderful chairs. And yes, they all have horsehair and all of that. But I can’t justify spending that much money for a chair, even if I had it.
There are also some lovely moderately priced chairs. Just not as many as I would like to see.
This is lovely, but do you see the areas that are lacking somewhat in the refined styling of the Howard and Sons Chairs?
By the way, Lee Industries makes most of the upholstered furniture for both Williams Sonoma Home and Serena and Lily.
These are certainly pretty. I like them a lot.
In fact, these are two out of about 30 different chairs that are part of the featured furniture on the 40 boards for the Laurel Home Ultimate Paint Palette and Home Furnishings Collection. And are all lovely chairs and sofas, some new, some vintage.
I can’t wait to release this guide with the palettes and all of the pretty furniture and rooms.
And again, in case you missed it. The Paint Palette and Home Furnishing Collection is going to be released this Wednesday, November 2nd.
You can read more about it at the end of this post.
There will be a whole big thing on Wednesday, including some sample pages.
Also, coming out on Wednesday is an updated Laurel’s Rolodex with 40 new vendors.
Some of them are insanely fabulous! I will have them in the rolodex and as a separate chapter for those who prefer having them that way.
And very important. There will be a promo period starting November 2nd with a huge discount on the new paint palettes. That will only be sold however, with the Laurel Home Essential Paint Color collection because they are meant to work together. (see above for current paint collection owners.)
And then on November 14th, the price of everything is going up, so please be sure to take advantage of the lower prices.
Have to say that I’m incredibly proud of this one!