The Amazing Technicolor Club Chair and Ottoman by
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I’m not a fashionista,  nor a whiz in the kitchen,  nor good with make-up like some gals  –  I’m a wannabe interior decorator and I love thinking about color schemes,  and window treatments and wallpaper,  and rugs and lamps.  And I actually collect pitchers and bowls.  (See Pitcher and Bowl)

And I like reading decorating magazines,  and refinishing and reupholstering and rearranging the furniture.   Sometimes my husband comes home and says,  “Now where did you move that little table that was right here?”

My parents had a big,  comfortable,  club chair and ottoman covered in a nubby fabric in their living room where my father would sit with the evening paper,   and I remember sitting on his lap in that chair as he taught me how to read the baseball box scores.  (See Box Score)

And so years later furnishing one of our own early apartments,  I decided we needed  a big,  comfortable,  nubby club chair and ottoman too,  and I made the rounds of the major department and furniture stores.   But I couldn’t find a club chair big enough,  or comfortable enough,  or a fabric nubby enough to please me,  and so I went to a little upholstery shop in our neighborhood and had one custom-made.  I happily selected what I thought was a great fabric – a large nubby plaid in beige, blue and red to go with my color scheme.

But that was before I had perfected my decorator’s eye and before I learned that you can’t always tell from a small swatch just how a big piece of furniture will look when it’s upholstered.

So the afternoon my new furniture was to arrive I rushed home from work excitedly to meet the delivery guys.   But when they pulled off the protective brown paper and I saw my chair and ottoman in that awful,  loud plaid fabric I started to cry.

i called my husband’s office.  “You have to come right home,”.   I told him,   “we have a crisis here!”

Of course there was nothing much we could do about it,  but as the fabric was nubby – very nubby –  our cat soon got at it,  and eventually we had both the chair and ottoman reupholstered,  this time in red corduroy.

Both pieces were red for many years and then we enlarged our apartment and redecorated,  and got all new living room furniture.  (See (The Lion, The Witch, and) The Wardrobe)

But that chair and ottoman had been so well-crafted by that little local upholsterer,   and were still in such good condition that I kept them of course.  I relegated them to our bedroom and reupholstered them – once again – this time in blue to match the color scheme in that room.

But years before when that chair and ottoman were still red,  and my son was still very young,  I went out for the evening – possibly to one of my book clubs.   (See Book Slut, or Why I’m in Six Book Clubs)

When I got home I asked the kid.  “What did you and Daddy do while I was away?”

“We hugged in the red chair and ottoman.”  he said.

So,  strange as it sounds,  that blue chair and ottoman in our bedroom we still call  “the red chair and ottoman”.  But now you know why.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!
www.WorldThruBrownEyes.com

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Tags: Furniture, Interior Design

Comments

  1. John Shutkin says:

    What an absolutely delicious story, Dana! I love how the chair and ottoman’s colors may have changed, but not their name. That is forever. And, as often, your son seems to have gotten the best line — thanks to you.

    That said, never have I seen the word “nubby” in a story so often, and never has it been put to such perfect, hilarious use. (It sort of reminds me of Lou Grant telling Mary Richards she had “spunk.”)

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    The chair looks like perfection, Dana. Wonderful dimensions, comfortable to sit and read or do anything else. I love that you had it custom-made and then reupholstered it, as needed. I can understand why your cat loves nubby fabrics, but that would mean lots of wear and tear. The current fabric looks so soothing. But the color-name “red” lives forever!

  3. Marian says:

    Your story made me smile all the way through it, Dana, having bought a recliner at a white elephant sale that had nubby upholstery. My cat instantly claimed it as her chair, and you can guess what happened. Eventually we reupholstered it in a smooth, beige suede-like fabric. The cat still liked to sit in it but no longer scratched on it, so we still use it today. Love that the red chair and ottoman are now blue.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Your big chair and ottoman reminded me of the one we have carted around since it was retrieved abandoned by the curb over forty years ago. It has been reupholstered several times–currently red, of note–but it went through a blue-aqua phase. It wasn’t until we had done that and a few other color changes in the room that we realized we had redecorated around a little novelty ceramic salt and pepper shaker shaped like a chair and ottoman–in exactly the same aqua!

  5. Suzy says:

    This is a fabulous story, Dana. No wonder you suggested this prompt! I love all the fabric swatches you have as your featured image, and I can imagine how hard it would be to tell from a small swatch how the piece would look when it was done. It’s great that you went to a little neighborhood shop to have your club chair made instead of buying from a big store – kind of like the little old mattress-maker in my story. And of course I love your punch line about still calling your blue chair and ottoman red because of Noah’s adorable comment.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    What a beautiful story, Dana. I love that you still call it the red chair for such sentimental reasons. There is nothing better, in my opinion, than snuggling in a cozy chair and reading to a child on my lap. My grandkids are really too big for that, but I did talk my 9 year old grandson into letting me read part of a Harry Potter book to him last weekend.

  7. That red chair and ottoman look like a wonderful place to hug and be hugged until you fall asleep. Baseball box scores! So who needs to watch the game when you got these!

  8. This was a fun read. WE had a bathroom in my parents’ house–right up to the time we sold it in 2018–that everyone in the family called the “fishy bathroom.” The wallpaper with the fish on it had been replaced in 1975.

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