Sunday, July 4, 2010

Impulse Porch Furniture

My wife and I went out to buy a chair we found on Craigslist yesterday and somehow wound up buying an antique 3 piece wicker set (loveseat, rocker, and chair) for our front porch. We got them from a great antique shop that is not far from our house. Here is their website - It is a fantastic store with great furniture, rugs, and very reasonable prices.

While each piece will need to be reupholstered and painted, they are all really solid structurally. I also think they have really great lines despite their current nursing home look.
Here is the rocker
Given the sad state of the upholstery, I started removing it from the chair and rocker after we got them home. This resulted in a number of cool finds. In the picture below, you can see that the chair was originally a blue color and also where the original cushion was as the blue outline on the back of the chair shows.
The underside of the seat cushion was also very interesting. It was clear that both chairs had been reupholstered numerous times and the previous upholstery was actually just covered up or reused in some way. The final layer was the embroidered piece you see on the seat. By the looks of it, I would say this dates from pre 1930 and may have been the original seat cushion or back piece.
The coolest find was in the padding on the back of the arm chair. There was a piece of cardboard with the words "Glen Lake Sanatorium" written on it.
From some internet research, I found that the Glen Lake Sanatorium was a tuberculosis sanatorium that opened in 1916. My bet is that this is where the chairs came from and that the note was put there by whomever reupholstered the chair. It was a huge complex and the top story of the building had a huge open air porch because fresh air was believed the help tuberculosis. It was converted to a nursing home in 1961 (which explains the nursing home look of the furniture) and was eventually torn down. I think a lot of people would be creeped out by this, but I think its great. I also think it is great the tuberculosis cannot survive in a chair after 50+ years.