Evolution of a hanging chair

When we were looking for a house in Minneapolis, our search was a bit of a mad dash (50 houses over two weekends), and we looked in many neighborhoods at many different styles of architecture. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with a new house, or a sort of California contemporary style, but I did, and here we are. The house has clean lines, maple floors and cabinetry, huge windows, and tons of natural light, making it feel, indeed, more like it belongs in California than in Minnesota. In keeping with this sense of California casual, one of the first thoughts I had when starting to conceive the decor was to find a wicker egg chair, like these.


[via House Beautiful]


[via Domino]

When you walk in our front door, you look down a long corridor right to the back of the house. That room is the living room, and it's slightly awkward because a chunk of the living space is exposed to that corridor, kind of like its tucked away and exposed at the same time. I loved the idea of making a statement and setting the tone by making the chair the first thing you see, while also dividing the space visually with the long chain, up to the ceiling.

Well, as with all classic design that came about midcentury and is still in production today, the wicker chair (designed by Nanna and Jorgen Ditzel in 1959) comes with a steep price tag: you can have an authentic one from Unica home for a mere $3,850.


Needless to say, that would have been the first and last decorating decision I made, and while it would have made a statement, we had many functional needs to eke out of our budget. Like a bed for the guest room, that kind of thing.

Several months later, just after complaining to Dave about never finding anything good on craigslist, I found this simpler version, listed for only $100 (retails for 2-4 times that).

I got super excited and emailed the poster immediately, only to realize, as I was supposed to go see it (and presumably buy it), that I could no longer hang it in the living room. First, other decisions had been made that didn't really work with the chair. Second, I had installed a completely ginormous chandelier in the neighboring dining room, and that would have been a lot of competition. Weeks later (sometimes I'm slow this way), I realized that it would be just the thing for the girls room, so I emailed the owner and was surprised to find that it was still available. I guess not just everyone is hanging a swing chair in their house (though I should mention that we already have this Ikea one in the basement!)




Added bonus? As it had been sitting unsold for all that time and wasn't in perfect condition, the owner let me have it for $50. I talked Dave into hanging it the other day, and while the location of the ceiling beam ultimately limited my placement options, I think it looks pretty good.


I love the way it plays up the beachy preppiness of the girls' curtain fabric and plaid blankets, and the way it gives a visual lightness to the room (while the girls still need their beds on the floor from a functional perspective, it can weigh the room down a bit.)

While I would probably still prefer the simple beauty of the Ditzel's original, I kind of like the way the rattan grid plays up the plaid and the diamond pattern in the rug. I was planning to make a cushion covered in that same curtain fabric (more on that misguided project in another post), but I find myself wondering if I should leave it bare, or make a thin little cushion out of some pink linen I have lying around. Or really trick it out with a sheepskin (my friend Sara just did this in her son's room, and I love the result) and a kicky throw pillow, like this:


Of course, this shot also revives my interest in painting the thing.
What do you think?