Victorian Balloon-back Chairs: Clutter?


Victorian Balloon Back Chairs: Can they turn into Clutter?

Built in the 1860’s these chairs support an amazing history of the pre-industrial era. Retracing their history; the tree was grown in England, harvested at its prime and destined for its purpose of being admired and ‘sat-upon’ by the elite.

We believe this set of six chairs served its purpose in England for many decades before immigrating to North America. When Stephen found the set in the early 90’s, several of the chairs were in pieces, and packaged to go back to England… for eventual repair and hopefully to find another home.

Stephen loved the broken, well used items. He purchased the six chairs and set out to restore them to their past distinction.  They served a fine purpose for many years before I came along; almost 20 years ago.

Entertaining in the formal dining room in Ontario was one thing, but to bring them all the way to Vancouver -to live in a cracker box…was another. They had been lovely chairs, and now showing their age again. ‘There is no room for them here’, I argued and they went into storage.  They came out of storage for a photo shoot, then back into storage. We couldn’t keep them, and we couldn’t sell them. What to do with the chairs?

The connection was strong with these chairs. My husband would not let them go for a dime, so we hung on to these chairs. Eventually, considering a donation to a good cause, the chairs were refused. Many people didn’t want these chairs; too old, too odd, too much effort. Both of us did not want these chairs to end up in the land fill site.

Finally, with a prayer and a bit of luck, the third year we put them on Craig’s List we got a bite! A nice elderly lady knew exactly what they were and where they were from! She was going to recover the chairs and use them, love them, and leave them in her will to her daughter.

The chairs live on! They were formed with good karma and good conscious and will live to see another day. And, our storage locker is now a piece of history! Clutter can show up in very interesting ways. What is in your closet that can be repurposed and can make a change in someone else’s life?

~ Another story about re-purposing items and predecessor-chi: If you haven’t seen the movie; ‘The Red Violin’, with Samuel Jackson, this is the time to see it!



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