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Friday, May 18, 2012

Milo Baughman loungers...aka H and H chairs

In 1965, our small East Texas town only condoned the use of the word hell in church on Sunday morning, so our high school English teacher, a plucky little septuagenarian, left the class dumbstruck one day when she said, "I just bought my first pair of H and H shoes. These things feel like heaven, but they look like hell."

Today I am here to announce that we have our first official pair of H and H chairs in the store. These things look (and feel) like heaven...but getting them to this stage has been hell.

It's a bit of a long story, but I'll try to condense it as best I can. We bought a pair of Thayer Coggin chairs by Milo Baughman almost a year ago. The chrome was in great shape, but the cushions were a little blah. We put them on the floor at the old store, thinking someone would buy them and have them recovered.

When they didn't sell, we bought some great Herman Miller fabric and sent them off to our previous upholsterer. It took him forevvvvvvvvvvvver to get them done, and when we finally picked them up, we immediately realized that the fabric had been much prettier on the bolt than it was on the furniture. After a few weeks, my SIL called me over to look at the chairs. "Is there something weird about these things?" he asked. "I don't think they match." Sure enough, the chairs weren't the same shape.

Our first thought was that the chairs were a his 'n' hers set...but no. The upholsterer had put them back together wrong. Not only that, he had left one set of cushions loose, and he had sewn the other cushions onto the chair. Having had a few other unsatisfactory experiences with said upholsterer, this was the final straw. Ordinarily, we would have insisted that the chairs be redone, but there are times when you have to cut your losses and move on. We started looking for a new person to recover our furniture.

Months passed, and we eventually found a great upholsterer. In the meantime, we had come across a number of other pieces we wanted him to work on, so the Baughman chairs sat neglected a while longer. Finally, my SIL found some gorgeous chocolate brown mohair velvet and pulled them out of the warehouse for their much-needed makeover.

Our new guy got started, only to discover that the chairs had been assembled with parts missing, so he had to rebuild them. Then he realized that we hadn't bought enough of the velvet to allow for the fabric's nap. There was enough for everything except one armrest. That's right. One armrest. The only thing to do was remove part of the fabric from the deck of each chair and replace it with cambric, giving us that one last rectangle of velvet that we needed.

By this time, we had spent a fortune on fabric and labor...twice...so we had abandoned all hope of making much profit on these chairs, but we refused to give up till we had restored them to their former beauty. Milo would have expected nothing less...and far be it from us to disappoint Milo.

So, at long last, here they are, in all their luscious, chocolate-y velvet goodness. Shiny bright. Completely rebuilt. Maybe even better than new.

Milo Baughman chairs for Thayer Coggin

Some lucky new owner will be immensely proud of these lovely Baughman chairs. I have to believe that, somewhere out there, Milo will be proud too.

9 comments:

  1. One hell of a pair! And mid2mod are heaven sent, saving one chair at a time, bless you all :)

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  2. Gorgeous, they do look like heaven. I wish I was sitting in one now instead of this very uncomfortable office chair.

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    1. I'd love to be kicked back in one of them right now too. :)

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  3. I adore these chairs. My mother very generously gave me a set of hers that sat in our off-limits to children guest room all through the 70s and 80s, which was a good thing because they still look unused! Except for the occasional cat hair. Sorry about the horrible upholstery experience, but they ended up gorgeous.

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    1. Oh, you're so lucky to have been given a wonderful set that you have memories of as a child. Honestly, we're very fortunate that we've had very few bad experiences getting pieces recovered or refinished. This was the biggest problem so far, but they did turn out to be fantastic chairs, so all's right with the world. :)

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  4. H and H shoes, I love it. The chairs turned out amazing. Sometimes I guess you've got to endure a little H to get a lot of H.

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  5. I think you're right. Into each life, a little H must come. Or as the bumper stickers used to say, "H happens." :)

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  6. That is one hell of a story!

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