Roots of Addiction

I mention that the Mrs. Livengood of this post was one of my mother’s best friends; I later realized she was one of mine.  It was her birthday yesterday and I thought we would throw some good wishes her way.  Krissy appeared in the previous post; she was helping me open my birthday presents.  This post originally appeared October 15, 2009.

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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14 thoughts on “Roots of Addiction

  1. I have a chair fettish as well — and whenever I see a new one, I have to think "where in the world would I put it!!!"

  2. My mother had an addiction to chairs, although hers were not so stylish as yours!! Too bad she didn't live to see that book.

  3. I have a similar sort of chair addiction. Is there help or will this book further exacerbate my weakness and tempt me with more chairs. I can hear me pleading to the officer now.

  4. I think chairs because they are a manageable size and are so intriguing, available in so many unique styles, easily become an addiction…as opposed to sofas for example.


    Art by Karena

  5. A customer in my shop a few days ago looked around, and said 'Wow, you REALLY like chairs, don't you?'

    In fact, never met one I didn't like. I share you pain

  6. I guess my parent's must have been some Livengoods, too! They also had a set of Wassily chairs (along with a nubby grey wool sectional and a glass coffee table with a glass base that took 6 men to move.) I have their chairs now!

  7. I love chairs. I'm addicted to chairs. When i'm buying at auction, my friends are instructed to actually stop me from buying chairs. Definitely, chairs can even be great friends. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Mary

  8. LOVE CHAIRS! Would you be so kind to tell me what the name of the first chair you show? I have 2! Or am I going to have to run out & buy the book? Thanks!!

  9. Mrs. Blandings, your previous post touched my heart. You are an astute observer and writer.

    Another book which You may enjoy is "Chairs: A History" by Florence de Dampierre. Some of the chairs she references you may have seen on your trip to Paris if you made it to the Nissim de Camondo Mueseum. Please continue blogging.

  10. happy belated!
    btw, i share a b.d. with Robert Kennedy. I always thought that was so cool when I was young. still do i guess.

  11. I thought my mother was unusual for her addiction to chairs- Just last Christmas we had this discussion whereupon I counted the chairs down stairs and came up with 46!- She said it was none of my business how many chairs she had and that I should keep my mind on the reason for Christmas and count my blessings instead of her chairs-

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