Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vintage Wing Back Chairs - Yay/Nay

As I've mentioned before, it's really easy to find wing back chairs on Craigslist and in thrift stores, but not all are created equal. In fact, Tommy brought up the same thing in an episode of Sarah's House, and I think my husband thought I was crazy when I was saying to the TV saying "yes, I totally agree!!!".

Here is the pair I found on Craigslist and had reupholstered:


(wow, really bad lighting, my walls aren't pink and my floors aren't that red)

Here is what sold me on these chairs:

The Legs: I love when wing backs don't have Queen Anne legs, I'll get to that in a bit. Instead, these wing backs had straight legs and I love that.

The Wings: I LOVE a good, wide curved wing on wing backs. Something that hugs you when you sit in it.

Here are some wing back chairs in the YAY category:

A beautiful example of a wing back, via the Traditional Home Showhouse.


This one is currently on the Charlotte Craigslist. I love the curved wings and the straight legs. All the components are very proportionate.


Another Charlotte Craigslist find.. look past the crazy fabric and you'll find some good lines. Even though the legs are Queen Anne, this chair still has a great shape.


Pairs aren't too hard to find. Here is a great pair in Charlotte for $120:


You'll remember I posted these chairs I had recovered for a client around the Holidays. The wings are much smaller than the previous examples, but I liked how sleek they are. The chairs are pretty small, so the scale works.



Okay, here comes the NAY category. (In my personal opinion) if you see anything like these, keep on moving. I promise a good wing back is right around the corner!

What I don't like about this one: wimpy little wings that aren't to scale with the rest of the chair. Queen Anne legs.. I'm just not a fan. The chair is also too tall and skinny for my taste. I like a wing back I can curl up in and sit sideways.


More wimpy little wings. So sad :(


I like a wing back with substance, but this one has TOO much substance. Looks like it had few too many girl scout cookies (which I am totally guilty of lately, by the way).


I don't HATE this pair, but I don't love it either. I'd probably keep looking (and be super excited when I found the pair in the YAY category).


I hope this helps.. I realize there are very subtle differences between YAYs and NAYs and I hope I didn't confuse you!

26 comments:

  1. Bryn, your chairs are beautiful!  The nailhead trim goes far to modernize them as well.  

    I completely agree with everything you said about the equally possible oh-so-good / oh-no! wing back chair situation.  I can usually give a quick thumbs up or thumbs down but never really stopped to think about WHY I was quick to judge.  This will help me explain to clients why their sad wimpy little chair needs to hit the road or are okay to stay!

    Live Inspired,
    Heidi
    athousandlaughingstarfish.blogspot.com 

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  2. But a pair with QA legs can be a great candidate for a slipcover with a long skirt - I love that look. And  as long as the proportions are good, I don't mind a small wing either - those are great as hostess chairs at dining room tables. All just my opinions, of course! Yours look great!

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  3. P.S. I'm loving the silhouette of the ones you had made for a client.  The flat top is beautiful.  Was it that way when you found them or did you have your upholsterer edit the curve out?  I'd love to know!

    Live Inspired,
    Heidi
    athousandlaughingstarfish.blogspot.com 

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  4. How much do you typically spend on reupholstering?  I've never done it, and have no concept of what the cost would be.  

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  5. I'm digging the 2 you just got reupholstered. They look fantastastic!

    We've got some wingbacks sitting in our unfinished dining room waiting to get a fabric update themselves....I wonder which category you would put them in :) Here's a pic:
    http://www.willscasa.com/2012/01/formal-dining-room-entry-update/

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  6. Nancy@PowellBrowerHomeFebruary 29, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Im with you. I do not like Queen Anne legs on wing chairs myself! Since I'd say my style is Transitional, I don't like it too Queen Anne... Your chairs are lovely. They look more contemporary than traditional, and I love that!
    Nancy

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  7. Whatever your taste in wings and legs, I'd suggest buying good quality chairs since re-upholstery is not cheap!

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  8. I learned a great deal from this post.  Your 2 wingback chairs are beautiful!  I am loving those nailheads.

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  9. So funny, I actually prefer a petite "wing" over some of the larger ones you showed, so I'd take a hit on the leg shape if the wing was the right size. At least we can divide up the craigslist finds evenly ;) And pity on the poor soul who ends up with the chunky plaid - I think we can agree that one is BAD.

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  10. Absolutely yay! I think they're some of the more comfortable but attractive chair options. And once recovered, they're you're own.

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  11. Great post!  Good tips!

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  12. Good tips!  We are looking for 2 wingback chairs for our foyer.  Love the nailheads on yours!

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  13. All chairs are not created equally!  Sometimes you come out better buying a quality chair from a furniture store!  If you have to buy the chair (even at a deal), buy fabric , and then have the chair reupholstered you may have too much invested in a chair that wasn't too great to start with..... 

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  14. Totally agree with you! Their are just some wing back chairs that will not work. 

    www.idesignlove.com 

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  15. I think your chairs are great that you reupholstered - and love that you went black too. 

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  16. I found two wing back chairs on Craigslist for $35 each.  The man that I purchased them from said he bought them back in 1975.  The company that made these chairs are still around and they still make the same chair.  The beginning price for each chair is $1531!

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  17.  I love the contrast of the nailhead trim on your chairs--great choice!

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  18. I love those black sleek chairs! :) very elegant and sophisiticated

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  19. Yes! I am all for the movement "Not All Wing Chairs are Created Equal!" Thank you for breaking that down and ending the belief that a wing chair is a wing chair....

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  20. There are so many different style of sofa set collections.It look so beautiful with color designs and crafting.

    Promosyon

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  21. There is a shop in Atlanta that does reupholstery of a wingback for $250-285. I have heard quotes up to $800. I think you have to shop around. Smaller seamstresses have better prices typically. You can ask at a fabric store for recommendations. 

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    Replies
    1. Hi, what store in Atlanta, please?

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  22. This post really helped me! Now I can actually see the possibility of having wing backs in my home someday. Thanks!

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  23. Great post.  Many people don't understand the subtleties of design.  Just because you find something that fits a general category (wingback chairs, for example), doesn't mean it fits the bill!  The Mr. doesn't quite get it. He never understands why it takes me so long to find something.  I don't like to settle!

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