The Chairs of Childhood

In 1974, my parents returned to the US from a stint living in England and ate dinner in a restaurant. They liked the chairs they were sitting on, and asked the restaurant owner about them, as they had just purchased a house and were in need of dining chairs. The friendly restaurant owner offered to order them some from his supplier, and that is how we came by the chairs that I sat on for every childhood meal. They looked like this:


I always loved that story – who buys chairs from a restaurant? Thirty-nine years later, the chairs are still in the family – they reside in my stepmother’s London home. As a child, I didn’t know that these were classic Thonet chairs, but I knew I loved them – they were comfortable and lightweight and I used to love running my fingers along the bent wood “candy canes” on the back.

I recently decided to update what is known as the Kids’ Lounge at our house to give our kids a more mature space. They no longer need a playroom full of toys. Now they need a space for crafts and homework and games and TV. As the Kids’ Lounge is open to the dining room, I wanted it to be something nice to look at. The major pieces in the room are repurposed from other rooms, but I added in some new things to make it more interesting. I thought it would be fun for the kids to have a version of the chairs I sat on as a child. I found these turquoise Thonet chairs and knew they were perfect – a little bit of history (both family history and design history), and a lot of fun color:


The more simple shape and bold color make these classic chairs work well in our modern interior. Who would believe this shape was first produced by Thonet in 1859?


I mixed in our old dining table and now the kids have a great work space:


The colored pencil holders are actually made from old shipping pallets!


The wall art is a nod to my childhood as well – my mother had a large wallhanging she made from Marimekko fabric behind her dining table in the 1970’s. My husband and I made this one from blue Marimekko “Unikko” fabric stretched and stapled over a store-bought canvas.


The kids joyfully spend hours at this table every day, so here’s to hoping they will have fond memories of this space (and the chairs)!



Chairs: Design Within Reach

Table: CB2

Table Lamp: Ikea

Colored Pencil Holders:

Grey Metal Swing-out Storage Drawers: Container Store




2 thoughts on “The Chairs of Childhood

  1. Pingback: The Kids Lounge | Alexandra Design Finds

  2. Pingback: The Chairs of Childhood, Part II | Alexandra Design Finds

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