Grandma's Arthur Umanoff Chairs

As often occurs, yesterday I learned something from one of my readers who commented a few weeks ago, and a longstanding mystery (which I should have looked into more carefully years ago, because it's not THAT obscure at all) has been solved. The designer and maker of the chairs from my grandmother's breakfast room has been determined. Here, an identical set from Rago Arts a few years ago, which failed to sell:

They're by Raymor and designed by Arthur Umanoff, and most likely came from whatever retailer my grandparents used when they bought all their Dunbar. Not particularly valuable or precious, they are nonetheless very comfortable and presently in storage at the family house in Chicago. I have 6, I think (or maybe weirdly 5), and now I think I need a pair of these to head and foot a table, with the 6 I have around the table:

I don't know if I would ever choose these chairs if they hadn't been given to me, but some of the happiest times of my life were spent in that room, and I'll never forget my grandma late at night sitting at the breakfast table, playing solitaire. They sat around a massive heavily carved table in exceptionally dark wood, 17th century Spanish in style if not provenance. The top was covered in deep scrollwork carvings that reminded me of cowboy leatherwork that I saw in Jackson. This carving destabilized anything placed on the table, and I remember many a spilt bowl of cereal or glass of orange juice. We did not keep the table. Pretty, and quite striking with the spindly legs of the chairs, but a bitch to clean pools of milk out of.

Look at these Unamoff benches -- so striking! I need a pair:

I wish I could go back in time and advise my grandmother that she needed the benches to sit in the atrium (which would really have been quite nice) and why not pick up a few more of those charming Dunbar side tables with the Capron tiles? How about a few more with the glass LCT tiles, to use as bedside tables? And maybe let's not use them as plant stands? Because Future-Nick is having trouble finding someone to properly remove the water stains.


Holly Embraces May

... in a perfect May Day ensemble:

Altered Edwardian dress, vintage Givenchy earrings, vintage chandelier fittings used as necklace, mysterious braid of blond human hair (found in an antique box I'd already bought) used as headband.



Our relations with animals are so weird.

I've been thinking about this a lot the last few weeks, as we've added a new member to the household -- a bad old cat named Aesop (his original name related to unfortunate markings above his upper lip, begins with A, and rhymes with "golf").

Bad in the sense that he sometimes flexes his nails on a cushion and I scream and gesticulate madly, clapping my hands, snapping my fingers, stomping my feet. I look pretty wild myself, and quite reasonably, Aesop looks at me like I'm completely mad.

He may be bad, but Aesop may have a point.


First Cut of the Season

I've never loved the smell of grass all that much, or really cared for lawns in the first place, but my indifference was challenged yesterday morning on a walk to the post office. Passing the statehouse, the smell of the freshly cut green was undeniably pleasurable, even intoxicating, an overpowering reminder of the growth of all things.

I know this lawn well -- many a time I've paused (and even slept) on the ridge leading to this plain. There's nothing more delicious than a nap on the grass on a summer night, especially if you're exhausted and a bit drunk from a bar or dinner downtown, and continuing up the hill seems impossible. I'll even admit I've been awakened by sprinklers a few times, but luckily it's a bit too early in the season for that.

If not inclement, I highly recommend a nap in the sweet-smelling grass today.


I Am Officially Not Over Ikat Yet

I thought I was, but not really:

The one above looks like something Amselm Kiefer would put on his floor, and the one below looks like something Nuryev would wrap about his shoulders, laying on a dais like a deposed king:

As interpreted by Luke Irwin, as seen here.
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