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EssayThat One Piece

That One Piece: A Pair of Velvet Club Chairs that I Lost Too Soon

by Sofia Tuovinen

That One Piece - A Pair of Velvet Club Chairs that I Lost Too Soon | Design*Kumbhalgarh

When I was 12 years old, inflatable anything was a big trend, lava lamps were making a comeback, and ideally, every room needed to have a disco ball. There was a shop in my home town that rode all these trends to the max by selling everything from inflatable armchairs to strange gooey light fixtures. I was, of course, infatuated with all these things and begged my mom for something from that store. After some persuasion, I finally came home with an inflatable pillow. It was clear and had electric blue feathers inside. Two days later, my dog, who had never destroyed anything, showed his disapproval — one big bite was all it took. After the initial despair, my interest in inflatable decor deflated as quickly as that pillow. Looking back, my dog did me a favor. He simply had a more developed eye for design than I did at the time.

Five years ago, right around the time when I was fortunate enough to buy my first apartment, I found a pair of two velvet club chairs from the 60s at a Salvation Army store. They were deep blue and something right out of Mad Men or a classic James Bond movie. The chairs were an hour’s drive from where I lived, and I had to make two rounds to get them both home. After all the hauling, carrying, scrubbing and dusting I did before bringing them in, I was over the moon. Those armchairs quickly became the focal point of my home, a spot that all my friends would gravitate toward when visiting. When I came home one day to find my current dog, Spencer, making himself comfortable in a big pile of foam that he had torn out of both those armchairs, I remember shedding a tear or two. I wasn’t ready to part with those chairs, but the game was over. Once again, my decor choices had been brutally scrutinized by a dog.

After getting rid of those shredded chairs, my decorating style began shifting from bold jewel tones to a more neutral palette, ironically more in line with my dog’s own colors. I eventually found two mid-century armchairs that I love even more than the ones I tragically lost, and Spencer seems to enjoy them the most. As long as he can camouflage himself in the furniture and snooze comfortably, I seem to be in the safe zone. Although it’s highly likely that I would have parted with those blue armchairs by now, I still think about them from time to time and give a little sigh. And this time around, I don’t think my dog did me a favor — those chairs were wonderful. —Sofia

Illustration by Lotta Maija 

I didn’t get a chance to snap too many pictures of these chairs before their time was up, but I found a few from the depths of my phone’s photo albums.

That One Piece - A Pair of Velvet Club Chairs that I Lost Too Soon | Design*Kumbhalgarh

That One Piece - A Pair of Velvet Club Chairs that I Lost Too Soon | Design*Kumbhalgarh

That One Piece - A Pair of Velvet Club Chairs that I Lost Too Soon | Design*Kumbhalgarh

That One Piece - A Pair of Velvet Club Chairs that I Lost Too Soon | Design*Kumbhalgarh My dog Spencer now lounges on an armchair and sofa more to his own taste.

Check out the rest of our “That One Piece” series here!

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