First Came Chairs: How My Grandparents' Antique Furniture Inspired Me to Found Narrative


Antique Chairs with Photo Upholstery

It all started with a chair. Or more accurately, a set of chairs. A set of antique - or in this case, maybe just old - chairs that were once a part of my grandparents' dining room set. I was the lucky one of 13 grandchildren to inherent said furniture. (A gift of timing, as I happened to be moving into my first house the same week my grandparents moved out of their last home.) That was 16 years ago. And while I remain appreciative of the sentimental value of this furniture, I must confess that not too long ago I was ready to part with it for an updated look.

Thankfully, my redecorating itch coincided with early exploration of what would eventually become Narrative. I was just starting to ideate on ways to personalize home décor and was considering the concept of printing photos on fabric. Eureka! My dining room chairs could be the perfect test case!

I wish I could say the rest was history, but in actuality it took me many months of research and samples and more research before I found just the right printing process. But once I did, well, obviously I was excited enough by the results that I took the plunge to start Narrative and make the option of custom photo inspired décor available to you!

But that’s not the point of this particular story. The point is that I eventually found a way to re-imagine my grandparents’ chairs into something modern and even more meaningful. After staining the chairs silver, I reupholstered each seat with a photo from my family’s travels. To maintain a theme, the photos all contained a body of water. Now, every time we sit down to dinner, we are transported…to the lotus flower-filled lake in Tokyo, or the moody northern California coast, or the vibrant Bangkok koi pond. And at the same time, I can sense my grandmother smiling down on me and my funky silver chairs, thinking, “Well, isn’t that something?!”


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