REFURBISHING MID CENTURY MODERN CHAIRS FROM BEHIND LAEC
I’d been obsessed with them for months. I’d make any excuse to ride by to see if they were where I’d seen them last. I worried about them when it rained, and then, when the brutally hot and dry Santa Anas gusted through, I cringed, thinking about how that affected them.
Before I go any further, I should clarify – the they in question is a pair of chairs. I’d spotted them one day trotting by on horseback and skidded to a halt. It was kind of hard to tell, stacked as they were against an arena fence beneath twinkle lights, plastic lawn chairs, a BBQ cover and bits of barn flotsam, but I was pretty sure they were mid-century modern. And not the Ikea knockoff kind, but the honest-to-goodness-made-in-the-50s kind. The clean lines and good wood I could see from my spot on the trail just did not belong tucked behind a jumping arena at Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. Nope. Those needed to be in my house.
I wanted to go ask to buy them, but how ridiculous would I feel? I mean, some random girl rolling up on the scene talking about buying old chairs? And if they said yes, then what? I don’t know a thing about fixing up old furniture or upholstery. I definitely don’t have the budget to send them off to a professional.
Since I was telling anyone who would listen about my chairs, Justin, a barn friend and also DIY black belt (he’s got a super helpful YouTube home restoration and project series), heard the whole tale. Right away, he offered to help me fix them if he could make a video of the process for his show, Do It With Justin.
Awkward is a general state for me and I become even more ridiculous and giggly on camera, but those chairs. I couldn’t just leave them! So, I agreed. That week, I drove over to Hansen Dam Equestrian Center and spoke to the bemused operations manager. He informed me the chairs were destined for that week’s trash and that I could have them.
So, I drove back behind the arena like a dumpster-diving ninja and snagged my chairs before anyone could change their mind. On the way home, I thought about who had sat in those chairs. After all, they’d been at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, a pretty fancy place that I only visited to participate in schooling shows (and now, apparently, to acquire chairs). Maybe George Morris or some equally fearsome and skilled horseperson had called out instruction to students from one. Maybe they’d been in the home of some equestrian socialite who willed them to HDEQ and now they’d been discarded. Maybe they’d been in a movie and Cary Grant sat in them. Probably not. But this is LA.
Anyway, turns out the chairs really are circa 1950 and in the Danish mid-century modern style. There’s a lesson in there somewhere about living in the moment and following your instincts, but I’m too busy admiring the now extra awesome chairs in my family room.
There is a whole video in the works about how Justin and I fixed up the chairs (which I’ll post here when it’s live), but, for now, here’s a before and after: