One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Pearsall Chair

First my apologies for our lackadaisical posting. Things are busy and we hope to be back to fairly regular posts—some day. But today’s find is good enough to make up for that. Hopefully.

One of my favorite things about spring is the onslaught of fresh finds that make their way out of basements, closets and attics into the fresh air, just as the flowers push their way out of the soil. These things make their way into thrift stores, Craigslist, garage sales and, sometimes, even the curb. I did a double take the moment I drove past this sitting out for citywide trash collection.

IMG_3830Was this a Pearsall wave lounger? On the curb?! After examining its poor condition, lack of any legs and lack of any tags, I decided this was probably a knock-off and too just too much work to justify cramming it into my overflowing storage. And I drove off. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I drove a couple blocks and then turned around, justifying the move with “the plywood alone wouldn’t be cheap” logic. When I returned I searched a little harder for a tag. Lo and behold, hidden under the fabric on the bottom was this:


Woo hoo! But…what happened to the legs? I couldn’t even see where they had been attached. As I was stuffing it into my car a woman pulled into the driveway. I approached and asked if she knew anything about the chair. It turns out she was a caretaker of the man who lived in the house. She said he was actually very sentimental about the chair and had hoped that by putting out on the curb someone would find it and give it a new life. She said it had been a rocking chair, but the legs were long gone having been broken by his kids years ago.

It was good to know that a) someone hadn’t stolen the legs before I found it (it has happened more than once) and b) its restoration will be meaningful in a cosmic sort of a way. Of course it is a little saddening to know it once had legs that looked like this:


The Pearsall wave rocker as it would have originally appeared.

I will not be able to replicate those. But the chair was also available with tapered legs and that’s the route I will take for restoration—once I find a source for walnut tapered legs that don’t cost a small fortune.

And original wave lounge with tapered legs

And original wave lounge with tapered legs.

I’ll probably also forgo the cushy pillow top design of the chair as-is and instead opt for the earlier upholstery style pictured on the orange example above. All in all I’m glad I turned back and got it, even if it will be a ton of work. My justification for turning back was also particularly on point—the plywood is the only part of the chair I’ll be able to salvage.


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