New Desk Chairs

October 19, 2011 — 4 Comments

Our old Ikea Office Chair, it has provided many hours of comfort!

The desk chairs that we use at our desk in our alcove off of the Dining Room are showing some (okay a LOT of wear). The main chair has had a hole in the front corner for a couple of months but now the foam has started disintegrating at the front, leaving a not so attractive pile of dust underneath it. Yuck! We have had them for quite some time (at least 8 years) and we bought them on sale at Ikea, so I feel like we have gotten a good return on investment and it is time to retire the most well loved chair and move the other one upstairs to my “someday” office. Of course when we bought them we actually had an “office” set up in one of the bedrooms, so comfort trumped style. Now a days our desk is right out in the open, so we need something that is still comfortable, but also has some style! I did some searching on the internet to see what my options were and was surprised at how little I found that met my parameters, and how expensive most of them were. I didn’t think this would be so difficult and if I am going to spend a few hundred dollars on one, it better look great and be comfortable!

Desk Chair Requirements

1. Comfortable (i.e must have upholstered seat and back and ideally adjustable)
2. Stylish! Something vaguely retro that can coexist with our fiberglass shell chairs.
3. On wheels!
4. Arms that aren’t too big (or none at all) so that at least part of the chair would fit under the desk.
5. Durable enough fabric for 2 kids and someone who has a habit of spilling coffee (that would be me).
6. A matching pair.

So far there is only 1 in the running, and it will require reupholstery!

Vintage Saarinen Executive Chair by Knoll

So after a brief search on my normal go to shops (overstock, pottery barn, ballard design, west elm, crate and barrel, cb2…) I decided to look on ebay. Pretty quickly I found the above chair and I was in love. This is a vintage Saarinen “Executive Chair” by Knoll. They still make these with a slightly different base (at a price of about $1600!). The vintage ones vary drastically in price and some are knock-offs. I am actually finding it very difficult to tell the difference between the real ones and the fake ones. I think this is partially due to most of them being reupholstered and there does not appear to be a good permanent tag. They vary between about $200-800 depending on condition and whether they are claiming that they are original. I think I will probably want to reupholster anything we get with a durable fabric, so I am thinking about buying them as cheap as possible with the goal of reupholstering them. Of course then I will need to find a durable but cool fabric (because with this shape it deserves an awesome fabric!). Maybe even possibly a retro Knoll fabric in an interesting color.  I think it will play nicely with our Dining Room Fiberglass Shell Chairs (by Modernica)…

Modernica Fiberglass Shell Chair (based on the original Eames Chairs)

What do you think?


4 responses to New Desk Chairs

  1. My vote is for the Saarinen chair. Those chairs are worth restoring and recovering and I would guess it might be more comfy than the fiberglass. Both fantastic!

    • Erinn-I think so too! Isn’t it really cool! I am now trying to decide whether it matters whether it has any proof that it an original Knoll or a knock off (from the same time). It looks like the Knoll ones only had a small sticker that probably fell off or was removed when they were reupholstered. From the photos I have been looking at online I can’t really tell the difference.

  2. I love that Saarinen chair! I need a new one too! I have a similar one, but it’s not on wheels and not softly padded. That gray looks fantastic! I really like your blog. I’m visiting from BYW, and will definitely be back!

  3. I just bought a Saarinen chair on eBay. Where did you get your chair reupholstered? I’ve gotten two quotes from approved Knoll restorers. They’re pretty expensive!

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