I first saw these Chet Beardsley chairs on Craigslist, advertised by a local thrift shop. I had been on the hunt for a pair of vintage chairs for a while and they had all started to look the same–but not these. These chairs had alluring curves, elongated backs, and generously proportioned seats. I was enamored and rushed over to the store to see them in person.
Truth be told, they were in horrible shape with badly stained mustard-gold upholstery and honey-stained oak legs that–while period appropriate–made me cringe just a little. Still, they were too unique to pass up, so I paid for them and took them home.
It wasn’t until I had them in the house that I looked under the seat and saw the Chet Beardsley sticker.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find any information about designer Chet Beardsley online. From what I’ve read, he was a Danish designer influenced by Adrian Pearsall and active in the 1950s-1970s. A friend put me in touch with a mid century modern furniture “expert” who assured me that Chet Beardsley’s designs were “good solid stuff”.
Then came the difficult decision of how to refinish them. Updating them for today while respecting their original era launched me into a tailspin of indecision and paralysis. But, when I saw this fabric swatch featured in an issue of House Beautiful, the incessant internal debating came to an end.
I knew that the elongated, marbled pattern would suit the unique shape of my Chet Beardsley-designed dining chairs. From there, all of the other decisions came easily. After having lived with the wood stain of the swivel base, I was ready to compromise on period correctness and go with something darker. Because many of Chet Beardsley’s similar chairs had a wood back (instead of fabric on both sides), I thought it was appropriate to employ leather on the backsides (matching the new wood stain as closely as possible) and securing it with brass nail heads. This was the result…
My husband and I eat dinner of these every night and I absolutely love them. Perhaps I took too long deciding how to refinish and reupholster them, but in the end, it turned out all right.