Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Diamonds are a guy's best friend

You know, I've never been a real believer in luck, karma, Juju, divine intervention, or whatever you may call it.  I'm hard-core skeptic who's natural tendency is to attribute everything to the luck of the draw.

However, the world sometimes has an unmistakeable pattern to it.  Take, for example, the rather unbelievable string of home-related travesties that has befallen me since my move last year.  Surely there's no way that these events could have all occurred within this short timeframe without some kind of supernatural intervention.

Well, I must have done something right lately (a rare occasion, I assure you), because the Mid-Mod gods have chosen to smile upon me....

... and bequeath unto me this set of gorgeous Bertoia Diamond Chairs!

OK, so maybe that's a smidge dramatic, but I'm really excited.  I've been searching high and low for a pair of Bertoia's for quite some time.  In fact, I'd say that I'm completely enamored with their airy, sculptural look.  Just ask Mr. Modtomic.  He's probably sick to death of me oohing and aahing every time he brings his out.  Now I've got my very own to admire.

And the Mid-Mod gods may have played a part, but one of my readers actually delivered the goods (THANKS!).  It's such a cool experience running into readers and it's been happening more and more frequently lately, though they usually first ask if I'm Mr. Mod.  A shared interest in Mid-century Modern makes striking up a conversation easy and I've made some great friends and acquaintances over the last few months.  Anyway, she was making a trip to St. Louis to pick up a few things and decided to put some of her own items, including the chairs, up on Craigslist.  I was ALL OVER IT.

As is the case with most Bertoia's, these guys obviously spent their days out on the patio and the Rislan finish is rusted-through and flaking.  Something will need to be done, but what?  More on that in a second.

These have the original glides, for which I've already ordered replacements... 

... and the original Knoll covers.  Yep, that is a HOT pink, and that's the (very) faded side.  Wanna see a REAL hot pink?  

Daaaaaaaaang that's hot!  I didn't even know Knoll made this shade.  Obviously, being a red-blooded American male, I'll be putting the covers in storage.

So, here it is.   The breakfast nook is finally complete.  Well, almost complete.  See, I've gotta decide what to do about the finish on the chairs.  Should I go over them with a wire brush and paint them with Rustoleum?  Would it be better to take them to get sandblasted and powder coated?  How much would a job like this cost?  Should I do them in white, black, or a white/black combo like Hannah's?  Is just leaving them in their current rustic state for the best?

Oh, the questions.  The nagging, nagging questions.


  1. I could probably whip up some new soft furnishings for these on the sewing machine to prevent wire imprinted bottoms if that would help. Alternately it may be possible to dye the original black if they are in good condition, but then again that could be a sacrilegious act considering the Knoll tag.

    1. Would that work id there is upholstery foam inside the cover?

  2. I vote for sandblasting and powdercoating. It would last so much longer for chairs that are going to receive real use instead of just being accent pieces. We have furniture done fairly regularly, and the cost isn't prohibitive at all. My SIL said the company he uses here would probably charge him $65 per chair. That's so cheap that I wouldn't even consider doing it myself, especially when you figure in your time and how many cans of paint you go through on an open pattern metal chair. I really like Hannah's combo, but that might up the cost of powdercoating substantially. If that's the case, I'd opt for black...unless you think you can dye the covers black. Then I'd go with white chairs.

    1. That's the way I think I'll end up going if I can find a price like that. My only worry is that some people have reported having trouble sandblasting off the Rislan. Others seem to have been fine. Hmmmm

  3. I don't know where you can get that done here, maybe start by calling st Louis restoration there at kings highway and 44? And if they don't do it they can probably tell you where you can get it done. And if it's that inexpensive I would totally opt for that route. Love the chairs! Are they. Comfortable for dining? I always considered them as lounge chairs, but I think they look great with your table, and I love they way they look with a sheepskin instead of a full cover, but dyeing those covers would be super easy

    1. As with any Bertoia, they give you a good case of the "waffle butt", but they're much more comfortable with the covers. I might end up ordering a couple knock-off covers online. They're fairly inexpensive.

  4. I know that momoderne does a lot of refinishing / powder coating of stuff that they find. I plan on going in there this weekend to check stuff out, I can ask where they go. I'm pretty curious anyway.

    They told me where to go for foam cushion and good upholstery so I don't see why they wouldn't tell me.

    I'll let you know!

  5. NIce grab!

    I recently nabbed a couple in black that were dying a slow death. They need some work but I still love 'em. Hoping to write a bit about them soon now that we've gotten back to blogging. We actually put up a few new posts the past couple days. Hoping that we can get back up to date with all that we've been doing and grabbing.

    Good luck on the re-coating!