Sunday, February 10, 2008

Searching for Mr. Goodchair
Cipher, the world's most amazing cat screw you if you don't agree (TM), has one nasty habit. She has claws of death that she has used to great effect on the chair in our living room.

We tried to prevent it at first, and then gave up and let her have it. After all, the chair is about 15 years old and cost all of $20 at Salvation Army, so it's hardly an heirloom.

But she's done her work well and it's now in shreds. Literally. The cloth has been ripped up, the stuffing pulled out, and it's down to bare wood in parts. It's so hideous that we've been longing to replace it for months now. But it's surprising hard to find a chair.

For one thing, we're pretty sure she's have her way with the new one as well, in spite of whatever efforts we can make to prevent her, so we don't want to spend a fortune on something that won't last long. But even shopping within a budget we find that there are really only two kinds of chairs: ugly and uncomfortable.

Even if we didn't have a budget we find that the $800 chairs are also ugly and/or uncomfortable.

Today we went to a home consignment store where the prices were reasonable (the chair we liked the best was $299) but again everything was....well, you know.

What is it with furniture designers that they don't realize that comfort is a quality people might actually find desirable? There are chairs that force you to slump (great for those of us with bad backs). Then there are those that force you into a position so upright that they should come with a corset and a Jane Austen novel. Others with big huge arms so far from the seat that you have to rest them at shoulder height -- very comfortable. Or seats that so deep that my feet don't reach the ground. Oh good, I'm five.

And the lovely color options. Green plaid. Black with green and purple flowers. Stylized "modern art" fabric that manages to combine the worst of cubism with the worst of surrealism. (Think Dali meets Helen Keller in a field of dead wild flowers.)

Is it too much to ask for a chair that costs less that $300, is comfortable to sit it, and doesn't actually cause visual offense?

At this point, we'll be living with the chair of shreds until it's just a pile of fluff and threads.

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