Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Ugly Chair

Yesterday, I bought an ugly beige chair. Yes, I knew it was an ugly chair when I bought it, but I thought I could save it. I could transform it. I looked at it as a blank slate, a canvas just waiting for me. I was inspired by my new found admiration of the amazingly talented Shawna Robinson and her Happy Chairs. Yes, I admit it. I have Happy Chair envy. But unfortunately I also have Unhappy Bank Account and I can't have one of her chairs. Not yet anyway. And so, this is how Ugly Chair came to live with me.
"I'm not leather. I'm not vinyl. WHO am I?!
I'm so ugly. I need an extreme chair makeover!"


First of all, it was a deal. It swivels and that makes my kids happy - (weeeee! spin, spin, spin, yaaaay!!!)  I had high hopes it would survive spills and dogs and other tragedy. That makes me happy. I had visions and hopes and dreams of the coolest decorating project ever. I thought about sanding the obnoxious shine off it and painting it and adding trim and fabric and staining it and all sorts of things so it looked like I found it in some hip shop in San Francisco. You with me? So far you are looking at the brown blob in the photo and wondering if I have a head injury or am visually impaired. Maybe there was something in my falafel at lunch. Perhaps some exotic spice made me lose my mind.

 I taped beads and scraps and other nifty things to it trying to get a visual AND convince my highly skeptical family that it was going to look okay.  I channeled Martha and Nate and even Christopher Lowell for some inspiration. Christopher scared me so I switched to Ty Pennington. This morning, I googled "painting leather", called a guy from Turtlefeathers.com in Bryson City, NC who sells leather paint and dye and it was then that my cool chair dreams ended with a crash.

Apparently Frank Zappa likes Chair Cheese.
Or his mother does. Why am I not surprised by this?
Turns out, my chair is made of chair cheese. 
(Yes, I made that up.)
Or maybe Chair Spam. 




 Also known as Bonded Leather. A fancy schmansy word for PLEATHER, in my opinion. Don't be fooled, folks. This product is made up of a maximum of 17% leather SCRAPS squished and mished mashed together and pressed through some kind of mesh and coated in vinyl. Yep. No actual leather will touch your hiny when you sit on my UGLY chair. The tiny bit of leather is hidden underneath the vinyl. Yes vinyl.

So. After talking to the nice man at the leather and dye company he kindly informed me that I cannot paint or dye or burn or pretty much do anything to a VINYL chair. Except take it to Goodwill.
Well, maybe I'll put some glitter on it. Stick some velcro flowers on it. Draw on it with a Sharpie. We all know that doesn't come off your furniture or anything else....
An authentic  Happy Chair by Shawna Robinson,
the object of my desire. (The chair. Not Shawna)
This is why grammar is important, kids...


I should have known. It's like when we tried to change our boyfriends in high school. It doesn't work.  But we keep trying don't we. I'll keep trying too. Because there is no way I'm having an UGLY chair sitting in my room.  I have to pick up it's mate tomorrow. Yes, it has an evil twin and I bought them both.  You know what they say, the only thing worse than one ugly chair is two.

Stay tuned. I'll put up some after before and after pix. Just so you can recognize them and laugh when you see them at the Goodwill someday. And in the meantime, I'll keep saving my pennies for my real Happy Chair :)
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blog with art and photography by Joelle Broughton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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