Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Modern Wingback: Coming Home with Me?

In my eternal quest for a living room sofa, I stumbled upon this modern wingback (1822-01) from the venerable Lee Industries.  I found this beauty at Walls Alive, a lovely custom interior decorating store here in Calgary.  

I would usually walk right past a modern-looking chair but I was oddly drawn to its clean lines and yet subtle nod to tradition.  What sold me, however, was the comfort.  This chair looks austere but is so comfortable to sit in:  
The high back is supportive (I have a bad back and it felt very supported in this chair) and sits at a perfect, relaxing angle.  With the tall wings you feel positively enveloped.  The seat has a down-wrapped core so it's also supportive but soft and cushy.

The chair is shown in a fabric called "Campbell White", which is a crisp 100% cotton with a very soft hand.  I love this fabric but white simply isn't practical and it only comes in dark colours otherwise.  I like to eat cookies in my chairs so white just isn't a candidate.

I've decided that this chair should come home with me, along with the (possible) new sofa.  I really like the profile.  It also comes in a coverall, as Lee calls it (aka slipcover, not shown):
Here I am in the store testing fabrics.  I am drawn to all the rough linens for their texture, but they are rather rough and hard to the touch.  David calls them "crunchy", which is an apt description:

I brought several swatches home of the softer linens and also a few cotton blends.  My favorite for the chair is the one on the left (below), which is called Stonewash Belize Flax.  Unfortunately it's one of the most expensive grades (just my luck).  It's 100% linen and is quite wrinkly but very soft to the hand:  
I'm not really sure how this fabric will look on a tailored, upholstered piece.  It is more of a casual slipcover fabric, but I'm drawn to its colour and softness and think it would be a very interesting fabric on a tailored piece.

I've shown the fabric with a piece of moss green velvet beside it since I'm planning to make Christmas pillows in this fabric and I want it all to work(!):

Here is another shot of the chair fabric (left).  I have all the samples laid out across a white sheet on the back of my sofa.  The potential sofa fabric, also linen, is shown to the immediate right of the green velvet.  It's a paler linen called Belize Natural.  At the far right is another potential sofa fabric called Patton Flax:

Crate & Barrel has a 25% off custom sale until mid-October, which would make both these pieces much more affordable.  If you didn't know, Crate & Barrel carries Lee furniture and has most of the fabrics available.  For a larger fabric selection, check out a dedicated Lee dealer.
 I picked up my fabrics at Walls Alive, mentioned above, which has a wonderful, kind staff.  Walls Alive had excellent prices on Lee, better than any other store I checked, but with the 25% off sale at Crate & Barrel, it's the hands down winner!

Any thoughts on upholstering with linen?  Do you like this chair?


  1. I love the chair! I especially love the chair because of the way you describe its comfort. As for choosing the priciest've got great taste! Good luck with making all those choices. (Is the original fabric not treated so that spills or crumbs won't be so much of an issue?)

  2. I love everything from Lee Industries! It's a beautiful chair and the linens compliment the chair perfectly. We went with a linen-esque fabric on our chairs and we're very happy with their crisp neutral look.
    And although I'm a traditionalist, we opted for a couch with some modern lines. I surprised myself but I think blending traditional and modern lines in a room offers a wonderful fresh look.
    Wow, I didn't know Crate and Barrel carried Lee!
    Happy new furniture shopping to you!

  3. I think the clean lines of the chair are spectacular...but when you get comfort accompanying style - home run!

  4. LOVE that chair! I too would normally walk past anything modern, but I have a particular soft spot for wing back chairs covered in white linen(weirdly, I also dedicated a post to them recently!), and am DESPERATE for a matching pair for my formal drawing room. Not familiar with Lee industries here in the English countryside, but will look them up. LOVE the sofa too! xx

  5. I really love this chair, it's very beautiful -you have beautiful taste Terri :0)

  6. The chair is beautiful and I think it will look so nice with the linen fabric you've chosen. You have great taste, Terri! I love the color of the linen for the chair and it's an interesting contrast to the modern/ contemporary lines of the chair (just my opinion--I'm no expert!).

  7. I love the lines of that chair!!! I think it looks lovely in white, but it'll look gorgeous in your place in the linen colors, too.

  8. hi T, lovely chair classic and stylish great choice. I would go for a slip cover in your fav linen. It will look gorgeous and if it starts to bag (get too loose), then you can bung it in the wash and it will be tighter again and clean!

  9. hi terri,

    i love the stonewash flax color. gorgeous. and i think it is going to look super good upholstered as opposed to slipcovered. are you excited? i am.