One vivid image I have as a child growing up is of my dad reclining in his chair in front of the TV. After a day at the church—he was a minister—and a filling dinner, he would relax in his chair to watch some television. As I got older, I recall this image would also include him falling asleep in his chair. When asked, I seem to remember my mom saying he could watch TV with his eyes closed.
The chair in my mind’s eye that was “Dad’s chair” was a comfy recliner. It looked like a bulky La-Z-Boy, but was probably from Sears, the store where we most frequently shopped. I envision it being made of some sort of soft fabric, maybe crushed velvet with a wooden handle on the side that you pulled up to recline the back and to elevate the built in ottoman. I’m sure as I was growing up, he probably had more than one version of this chair but my memory has faded to the point that I can only picture a vague image of its details whenever I see a recliner.
After I grew up and got married, it seemed appropriate that I should also get my own “Dad’s chair.” However, it was several years after our children were born before I actually got one but once I did, naturally, it was a recliner, a crushed blue velvet one—just like the one’s I pictured my dad “napping” in.
Years before I had the opportunity to get my own “Dad’s” chair though, I do remember being at my brother-in-law’s house and sitting in “his” chair, a blue buttoned, soft leather chair. It was one he had had for quite some time and it was very comfortable. I guess this opened my eyes to the fact that a Dad’s chair didn’t just have to be a recliner; it could be whatever comfortable chair you wanted it to be.
A number of years ago when we were redecorating the den in our 2nd home, I had my first opportunity to pick out a Dad’s chair that was not a recliner. Naturally after sitting in my brother-in-law’s comfortable chair, I wanted leather upholstery. I looked at the different design chairs they had available at the store where we were buying the couch and selected a chair that had a mid-century modern look. When I sat in it, it had that distinctive leather squeak and wonderful new leather smell—satisfying my desire not only for comfort but also my sense of smell and sound. The color scheme we were selecting was predominantly purple and it just so happened the chair came in an eggplant shade of purple. We got it and it has been in our home for the last 15 years, even though newer Dad’s chairs have superseded it. It is showing a bit of its age due to sunlight fading from being in front of a window, but is still just as comfortable.
For my next Dad’s chair, I still wasn’t willing to get another recliner but I did want a matching ottoman to prop my feet up on. This time, we were redecorating the bedroom in our 3rd home and selecting modern furniture. My purple leather chair had found a comfortable spot else where in our house and with a fairly large bedroom; we would have room for a Dad’s chair. Naturally I wanted another leather chair. We found a modern style grey leather chair with matching ottoman that reclined like the seat on an airplane (although a lot more comfortable). In fact, it came to be known as the airplane chair rather than Dad’s chair. And just like I remembered my dad falling asleep in his chair, my wife has caught me on more than one occasion falling asleep in this one as well.
It is likely that the airplane chair would still be my predominant chair to sit in were it not for a number of trips to a local mall and walking past the Pottery Barn store. On more than one occasion, I would stop to admire their Manhattan Leather Club Chair with its large rolled arms, deep seat, and laid back reclining appearance. It reminded of the comfortable dark leather chairs in the lobby of a hotel in Montreat, NC that my family visited every summer when I was growing up. One sit was all it took and I was sold—I had to have one.
Today, this is my favorite chair to sit in of all the choices we have in our house.
Last August, we bought a condo in midtown and have been renovating and redecorating it for almost a year. I currently don’t have a chair there as we are just now adding furnishings. And as past experience has taught me, if I lay on the bed to try to read at night, it isn’t long before sleep has overtaken me.
Not that I don’t also fall asleep reading in a chair at night either but at least starting out in a chair forestalls the inevitable a little while. I’m sure you can guess what type of upholstered covering I will want. When I mentioned a leather chair for the condo to my wife, she stated that I had “leather chaired” her to death. And sadly I had to admit she was right when she started counting them off—five different colored leather chairs in various rooms throughout the house plus black leather chairs at our kitchen table.
We are still in the exploration phase and need to finalize a few more furnishing decisions before we continue this discussion. When we do return to the topic of a chair for our bedroom at the condo, I know we will make the right choice that works for both of us. I have never owned two separate homes before in my life. But since we often split our weekend nights between our home and our condo, the one thing I do know is that for it to be home to me, it must have a Dad’s chair.