Inside out Parker Knoll

Ah, inspiration.  It can come from many a place – beautiful art, deep introspection, staring at the milk as it swirls around in your tea…or from other well established, super famous and successful designers.  Take, for example, this fantastic chair:

Ralph Lauren - yummy.  But only in the USA, & only if you have the bucks...
Ralph Lauren – yummy. But only in the USA, & only if you have the bucks…

By the honourable Mr Ralph Lauren, no less.  I assume he’s honourable, I have no reason to suppose otherwise.

A Parker Knoll 720, in case you are not familiar, looks like this –

A Parker Knoll 720.  Hmmm...
A Parker Knoll 720. Hmmm…

That’s right, it’s a Nan chair. Everyone’s grandparents have them.  But get that fusty old fabric off and there’s something rather brilliant underneath – a great backwards lean, a fantastic shaped frame…turns out our grandparents have pretty good taste.

So, inspired by Mr Lauren and the way the frame of the chair – the honest, strong, hard working but usually never seen bit of the chair – is the star in his ($3000 or so) piece, I set about making something special out of Mr Parker.  It happened in several stages.  First, you have to get all the old nastiness off – and that means picking out a LOT of staples.  For days on end.  But eventually you end up with this:



Actually, this picture shows him after he’s had all that dark brown stain sanded off – was too covered in dust to photograph that bit, sorry.  So from this point, with lovely stripped wood (which still shows all the old staple holes, and all the truth of its life so far) is given several coats of oil to nourish it and bring up a nice soft shine.  Then we get busy with the fabrics, which looks a bit like this:

Naked chair!
Naked chair!
Getting some clothes on...
Getting some clothes on…

I went with a stripe to echo Mr Lauren, and a complimentary biscuity beige (if you can name it after a food it’s a good colour, I think.)  Then I topped off the cushion with some gorgeous soft leather rescued from another chair, and there you have it.  My homage to Ralph is complete, and I must say, he’s rather gorgeous.

Now happily available at for much less than $3000


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