Roots of Addiction

You know those stories about celebrities who give their children controlled substances? And how you read these accounts and wonder, “What were they thinking?”

Well, my mother was a little guilty of this. When I was small and we lived in Atlanta my mother made a very good friend while we were on the playground. I, in turn, became very good friends with the friend’s daughter as these things sometime happen.

While my parents’ house was an ever evolving array of tasteful yet jazzy (probably department store) finds, Krissy Livengood’s parents’ house was not.

Krissy Livengood’s parents had a pair of Wassily chairs. When I walked through their living room I was mesmerized by the slats made of leather. With every visit I’m quite sure her mother anticipated wiping my grimy fingerprints from the cool chrome. I could not resist running my hand along that silvery steel.

They were wonderful. I was in awe of those chairs. In my memory the room where they resided was always quiet, but perhaps my ears were ringing. While everyone else found it so intriguing that Krissy’s father had one blue eye and one brown eye, I thought that merely a quirk of nature. The thing that made the Livengoods interesting – fascinating even – were those chairs.

We moved from Atlanta when I was eight, but the chair addiction was firmly established. Imagine my delight with Judith Miller’s new book, Chairs. Over one hundred chairs, beautifully shot by Nick Pope, on big pages, presented in chronological order. Truly a chair lover’s dream.

And a terrific red cover. Almost as good as having a Wassily of my own.
P.S. Mrs. Livengood, in true Southern fashion, has passed her chairs to her daughter. Who now goes by Kristin.
Chairs by Judith Miller was provided to me for review by the publisher, Conran Octopus. All photographs by Nick Pope. The Wassily chair is fourth from the top.
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33 thoughts on “Roots of Addiction

  1. Good for you! Being FTC perfect! I'm just so glad you could review it and share it will all of us. I do love chairs too. They are full of personalities aren't they! (and boy if they could talk….) I'm also reminded of the burning question, "if our knees bent the other way, what would chairs look like?"

  2. LPE – all on the up and up. And, I must say, THAT is a question I've never considered. It will tumble around in there for a while now I expect.

  3. I too share this chair addiction! Each one does have a personality which draws one in. I must get this book. It takes up lots less room than another chair and I'm sure will be infinitely satisfying.

  4. my dear friend came into my store today (visiting from topeka) and we were talking about blogs… she said "you read mrs blandings dont you??" i said of course i do… i thought i would let you know were speaking nicely about you today… xx pam

  5. Have you ever visited that Matisse museum in Nice, there are the most fabulous "shell" chairs…I too have a chair collection / addiction. I love them all, but that Wassily makes me want to touch it too or say the name really fast 3 times.

  6. This is great news about the book. Miller's Style Sourcebook and Colors are wonderful for reference, so this is a welcome edition.

  7. PT&E – Not sure if it is better or worse as they are smaller and one might be able to rationalize more. There are worse addictions than chairs and lamps. Or that is what I keep telling myself anyway.

  8. Mrs. Blandings,

    Over a week ago I was fortunate to recieve BOTH
    of Judith Miller's books! I am in heaven… Ms. Miller's,
    knowledge & obvious love of the decorate arts is amazing!
    These books, should be in everyone's Libary. Every architect , designer and lover of the art's should have these books. I must say… I am truly, 'in love with her books chairs.' I told my dear friend from Boston, after she sent me the books. "if I don't have the "CHAIRS" book on my lap reading it… Then it's of honor is on one of my trays in my living room. Now, I am considering changing my living to red! Happy to see you, myself and so many others have a shared passion for "CHAIRS"!
    Lovely post…

  9. Chairs are, I have read, the hardest to design. I think the best are an amazing mix of art and architecture. It would be wonderful to have the room for a personal chair museum. Lacking that, we'll have this book. I have nominated you chairwoman of the year!

  10. I am definitely addicted to chairs; right now I'm in rehab as the chairs that I currently have are not selling. It is hard because each chair tells a story and seems to hold the history of the day within itself.

  11. I still regret not accepting the most wonderfully shaped chair from a neighbor who was moving out of state. Also I would love to have one of the revered Lucite chairs!

  12. Hello, my name is Susie and I am a chair addict. My habit is combing Craigslist for cheapy prices on outstanding design chairs. You wouldn't believe the goodies I've found! I can't wait to get this book! I have Miller’s others and know I'll love this one too.

  13. Wonderful , wonderful piece on chairs! And I love the Chinese wallpaper behind the first chair! bamboo trim!!!

    and that may be the funniest line on any blog , ever!

  14. I have a storage unit for which I pay 145.00 a month. It's filled with chairs. Abandoned chairs that I'm too afraid to give up for fear someday I'll want them back.

  15. Do they have a "step program" for those of us addicted to chairs? I was amazed how you were taken w/them at such a young age as I was. My Aunt & (architect)Uncle had a pair in their first apt., along with a Saarinen table & tulip chairs. I was hooked! I now have a pair of Wassliy's passed from my parents. But I want more!

  16. For every chair enthusiast I would recommend Galen Cranz's, The Chair; Rethinking Culture, Body and Design. This book examines the chair's evolution (a status indicator) and re-thinks the ergonomics and design of the chair.

  17. My parents had a pair of Wassily chairs when I was growing up. They were my dad's grandparents. Original from the 30s. I used to love to sit in them. My mom put them in a garage sale in the 80s when the English country look was in style. My stomach just turned typing this….

    In agreement : all of Judith Miller's books are invaluable. I have two bokshelf rows of them.

  18. I just love Judith Miller's writing style Mrs. B – quite spare, just the facts, but sooo refreshing. A good friend has an awesome collection of Colonial, Victorian & Edwardian children's high chairs. They look fabulous in her large, old home. I can totally understand your chair affliction, there is no known cure.
    Millie ^_^

  19. Interesting 'roots' to an addiction I can totally relate to.
    I suppose chairs could be considered useful, rather than essential.
    If they look great though, I don't even care if they're comfortable !

  20. Fun to hear a personal story. Thanks for sharing! Chairs are like shoes, we can't resist when we see their beauty!

  21. My daughter says I am "over-chaired" and I guess I am. I can't help it. I also tend to paint them all white and I can't help that either!

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