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The Other Grandma Chair

When the Vargo parents dropped into town last weekend to help knock out our to-dos (and oh boy, did we have to-dos!), they also brought with them a new addition for our home: another Grandma Chair.

Last year, you might remember the evolution of my grandmother’s chair – a wedding gift to my grandparents over sixty years ago and passed down to us. (This was the result of losing my grandpa, and my gram downsized to a condo.) It’s one of my favorite material possessions in our home, entirely due to the fact that anything tied to my grandparents makes it a shiny, gleaming symbol of happiness. (I could just cry, I love them so much.)

This year, we lost Scott’s grandma. I always knew her as a strong and spunky woman, enjoying a Manhattan at every family gathering and dressed to the nines. This woman had style, you guys. While I know Scott would have loved to write this post, we ultimately decided that it should be me – if only because lately, we so rarely have time together in the evenings (the only time he could sit down to write). So when I called him to ask if there was anything he’d like me to include for Grandma, he spoke highly of her eye for design. She lived in a fashionable home, and fond holiday memories revolved around this well-dressed home (which only makes sense for such a colorful, well-dressed woman, don’t you think?), filling up on her casseroles and trying to come back with a retort quick enough for her smart wit and humor.

Like the chair I have that reminds me of two of the people I love most in this world, we now have another chair in our repertoire – this time, a sweet symbol of Scott’s Grandma Betty.

You might also remember that Scott’s aunt and uncle were the owners of a Cincinnati based antique shop, and they were able to tell us about the chair itself – this press back chair, actually.

When carving ornate designs into chairs no longer became practical and cost effective, the steel die stamp was developed, which literally pressed the design from its metal plate into the wood of the chair. This created the illusion of carved wood (allowing retailers to boast hand carved wood!), while allowing reproductions to be limitless. (We were clearly fascinated by this; you can see a lot more right here.)

The chair is actually tiny (we assume this is because we used to much smaller, in general), it’s braced with those adorable metal straps, and there’s a character line through the seat where it cracked – just a little.

There are no plans for this chair, other than to let it be. It’s beautiful as-is, just as it was in Grandma’s home.

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  • Oh! This just about brought a tear to my eye thinking about Aaron’s grandma. She is the sweetest, spunkiest woman I know. I’ve basically fallen head over heels for her and pretty much claim her as my own. It sounds like you had a similar connection with Scott’s grandma :)

    What a sweet memento that will totally work in your new, bigger space. Any plans to change it or are you just loving the charm as is?ReplyCancel

  • Kim8.1.13 - 8:49 AM

    Heather, grandmas are the best, aren’t they? No plans to change this chair – we think it’s perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Ryan8.1.13 - 9:03 AM

    You continue to inspire me with your sweetness! What a great tribute to Betty!
    Much Love,

  • Such a sweet tradition you’ve started. So many memories are linked to pieces, so it’s nice to have that daily reminder of a loved one. Even better that these items are beautiful and full of character.

    I’ve got a bookshelf from my great grandparents and a tiny rocking chair that was my mom’s when she was a child.ReplyCancel

  • ann8.1.13 - 3:53 PM

    Thank you Kim for the special thoughts. I know Mom is happy that you and Scott will enjoy the chair so much. Now I must get a tissue!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design8.6.13 - 1:14 AM

    I wish I could take my grandmother’s chair with me to the US too, I have to pick smaller things to bring from Germany. Love that you have the chairs.ReplyCancel

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