Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Land Locked Mariner (or Old Blue Seals the Deal)

I saw an ad in Craigslist for 4 Mart Stam reproduction (?) chairs for $80. I had spent some time in Berlin during the 1980's and the Bauhaus Museum was a favorite place to lay low on snowy afternoons. Wassily chairs (designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-1926),  Mies Van Der Rohe chairs and all the chrome and leather were familiar and when I saw these chairs I quickly learned about Stam and his fight for recognition as designer of this style of cantilever chair and decided it was worth a hour to drive the old pickup (referred to by the family as 'Old Blue') up the road a few miles and take a look at potentially my first MCM furniture purchase.

Old Blue - 1966 Ford F-250

As I pulled up in the big '66 two-tone truck a woman walked up to my window and immediately asked how long I had had it, how was it to drive, etc. and we spent the next 30 minutes talking about the truck. Seems the woman selling the chairs had once driven a 1960's Chevy Truck and missed it. As we walked back to take a look at the chairs I heard the story of the Mariner, his passion for working with teak and why it was time to let the chairs go to a new home. Seems that back in the 1960's a Mariner, married and with a small family, settled in Santa Rosa. Over the years his love of woodworking and design manifested itself in additions to the house that included his 'Man Cave'. With an interior of fine teak wood (floors, walls, ceilings and cabinets) all built by himself he complimented the design with 4 Mart Stam chairs which stayed with the house until I saw the ad. Though in need of some TLC, I knew I would be taking the chairs home and when it came time to pay, the women said "Let's make it $40, you have a cool truck".

I spent the next few days with the Mother's Chrome Cleaner, a couple of different screwdrivers and leather cleaner from Restoration Hardware tearing down each chair, cleaning the chrome, servicing the leather and then rebuilding the chairs.Like most Mid Century versions of these chairs the paper backing has cracked and replacement parts seem to be non-existent. Anyone have a source for the under seat crossbars? There are a couple missing and I would like to replace ...

Mart Stam Re-production Cantilever Chairs $10
Married with a chrome cylindrical plant stand I found at an estate sale in San Rafael (Sunday - $5) two of the chairs are holding down the far end of the dining room and two are being used as occasional chairs around the house.

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