Friday, June 15, 2012

Off My Rocker

I've been debating seating options for our front porch since we moved in almost two years ago. I considered a porch swing, bench seat, and wicker chairs until finally settling on porch rockers. A rocker for me and a rocker for the man of the house. I imagine us sitting in them rocking away during a Sunday afternoon thunderstorm.  Like old people.
I started my search a few months ago at my favorite furniture store, the Salvation Army. I wasn't looking for a matching pair, necessarily. I figured I'd buy mismatched chairs and paint them the same color. Alas, I didn't find any rocking chairs at my Salvation Army (and I should learn by now that it never works to shop for something specific at a consignment store). 
So I extended my search to Craigslist, and that's when something funny happened. I kept coming across all these bentwood rockers.
Remember these? I do. They were everywhere when I was growing up. My parents didn't own one, but I think there must have been one in almost every home I visited. I've come to associate these rocking chairs with all things '80s like big hair and parachute pants so I immediately discounted them when I saw all the listings on Craigslist. 
And then I started to come around. 
That caning. 
The bentwood frame. 
The scrolly shape would actually look fantastic on the porch of my Victorian house. 
Plus the fact that they are a dime a dozen on Craigslist meant we actually could have a matching pair. 

Within 48 hours, I'd picked up two chairs: one was $40, and the other was $50.  Not a bad investment for a couple of rockers, right? Well, here's what made one of my purchases even more interesting: 
Yeah, I'm an idiot. This isn't some dated piece of furniture, these are Thonet rockers, created by Michael Thonet who was an Austrian furniture maker. He created this design in 1860. 1860!!! Turns out Thonet is credited as the "father of modern furniture" for his innovative design and technique for bending wood into this iconic shape. I now consider myself educated.
Only one of the chairs I purchased has the Thonet label burned into the back. I have no idea of its age or if it is authentic (and who cares?), but I do know that both rockers are exactly right for my front porch. TrĂ©s vintage chic. 
Still not feeling it? Check out this painted version here by Kristen Davis.
It's like totally bodaciously awesome.

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