One Man’s Trash: A Tale of Two Chairs

So let me tell you about the time I found two beautiful high back chairs in NYC.  Ok actually they were in complete disrepair…but the bones were oh so good.  They happened to be on 58th St. just a block or two down from Bergdorf Goodman and the Plaza Hotel.  In a trash pile.  My husband and I had just finished dinner at Club A, and we had stuffed ourselves silly with too much steak and too much wine (I would have done this even if I hadn’t had a few glasses of wine in me, but it seems like a really good idea because of it).  We also happened to be a mile from our hotel.  We walked past the chairs at first but immediately my mind started wandering.  What if they were worth a lot of money?  Were they true mid-century pieces?  Were they sturdy?  We made it a couple blocks before I just couldn’t bear it anymore and said we had to turn back.  Then we saw a trash truck picking up trash and heading in the direction of the chairs.  We were in a mad dash to get back to the chairs before the truck got them, and we made it with just seconds to spare…and then we began our mile-long trek back to the Hilton.  With chairs on our heads.

This is what dreading the next mile looks like.

We may or may not have been the subject of many iPhone photographs by strangers as we walked block after block back to our hotel.  Getting them through the lobby and up the elevator in the hotel was also a sight, but when I’m on a mission it takes a lot to embarrass me.  We both woke up sore the next morning, but it was totally worth it.  At least it was to me.  Tom thinks I have a chair hoarding problem, but he’s a great sport 🙂

So this is what the chairs look like when they aren’t upside down.  Great bones, right?

I found a few similar chairs online.  This set is being sold for $3,600 on Chairish:

And this one was sold on Palm Beach Regency but I can’t find out what the price was:

Needless to say, it was definitely worth picking these up out of the trash.  I was supposed to ride the Greyhound Bus back to Maryland (classy, right?) but instead I rented an SUV and drove my two treasures back home.  Now they are sitting on our covered deck as I figure out what fabric to get them upholstered in.  I’m torn between stripes and palm leaves, although I’m open to other options as well.  These will likely go in my family’s beach house in South Carolina, so I’m thinking I want a fun pattern that works with gray walls and a few turquoise accents.  Here is my inspiration for the palm leaf option (although this is actually a banana leaf print and it’s way more money than I can spend.  I’ve found an affordable option in the Tommy Bahama Waverly Swaying Palms fabric):

image via.

And here is my striped fabric inspiration:

image via.

I just love the black and white stripes with the brown wood!

Ok so what do you think?  The chairs are awesome, right?  Which fabric should I use????  Help!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. February 23, 2015 / 4:37 pm

    I'm a huge fan of stripes, so normally that would be my choice. But for some reason the palm fabric seems so fitting for these chairs! What a great find!

  2. February 23, 2015 / 6:40 pm

    Great find! I am so impressed you got them all the way back home! Since they are going in the beach house, my vote is for the Tommy Bahama fabric! Or a red. Red and turquoise are classic! Can't wait to see what you decide!

  3. February 23, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    You find the COOLEST stuff! I cannot believe someone threw those out!!! Both fabrics are fab. and I can't wait to see those treasures recovered 🙂

  4. February 23, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    I love stripes but can't stop staring at the banana leaf print.

  5. Marjorie
    February 23, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    Love the palm print!

  6. February 23, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    What a great find! The stripes would look amazing! <3

  7. February 24, 2015 / 2:41 am

    I am a huge fan of the stripes.. and any good dumpster find 🙂

  8. February 24, 2015 / 3:11 am

    Katie those are incredible! You definitely struck gold finding those! Already anxious to see how you fix them up. I love love love the stripes with the paisley pillow look. Regardless of what you'll do, I know they'll be gorgeous!

  9. February 24, 2015 / 1:10 pm

    I'd go with the stripe and go with the palm or beachy fabric for pillows. It will be fun to be able to switch out from time to time. After all, Fripp has seasons!

  10. February 24, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    Such an impressive find! I'm digging the swaying palms print!

  11. February 26, 2015 / 4:53 pm

    My vote is for the palm fabric – perhaps in a pattern that includes more white/cream . . .

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