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August 20, 2022 3 min read 1 Comment

You know how you can see a piece of art or furniture and then it transports you? Like that one couch that EVERYONE’S grandparents seemed to have? These chairs, this whole aesthetic of “wagon wheel furniture” is that for us, and it coincides with this era of Eloise.

These mid-century creations each seem to have a unique little personality of their own, but they all have some strong statement characteristics in common: sturdy and substantial wooden frames with wide armrests, and vinyl – usually colorful – upholstery. Many have feature the signature wooden wagon wheel armrest supports that gave a namesake to this whole category and trend, and most (at least in our memory when we picture them) are embellished with these large trapunto-stitched images of different elements of a Western motif. Sometimes they were a simply embroidered outline, of say a horse profile or a longhorn head, and sometimes they were a bolder contrasting applique.

Because these were so prevalent in this phase of our lives, the portion we most strongly associated with Eloise, aesthetic attributes of these chairs inspired some of the design elements in the collection. The Double Luck Jacket is a great example; we chose an image that’s important to us – the horseshoe – and designed it to have contrast stitched outlines that almost gave it a dimensional that mimics how it would feel on the cushioned back of a wagon wheel chair. We took it even stronger and sleeker in the Dobie Jacket, where the whole of the jacket is a soft monochromatic suede and the longhorn heads stand out in contrast applique that captures that same vibe. It all feels very retro-western which was a key focus and influence in the Eloise collection.

As you know, our eyes are always peeled for art, artifacts, and all things relevant to the Western way of life, and so our resident Collector in Chief (Cheryl) has managed to accumulate a few of these fabulous finds in remarkable vintage condition over the years. And well, since the upstairs that was once our densely-packed den of storage for such treasures is now housing our expanding marketing team, Audrey has implemented a one-in-one-out policy if Cheryl wants to keep hunting for new things, which means we’re reluctantly parting with a few of these classic collector’s items.

“All of these particular type of chairs – of this style and from this era – are highly sought after and hard to come by,” explained Cheryl. “And they’re not just collector’s items, they’re conversation pieces. They claim a presence in a room, you know? Something this bold, especially the ones in vibrant shades of vinyl, they naturally draw attention and then inquiries. And some of these chairs have very cool backstories.”

Indeed, they do! Two of the chairs from our DDR Design Archive were acquired from the home of 96-year-old former Western rodeo horse trick rider Jean Vanderlyn of New Paltz, NY. Her father owned the Bar V Ranch in Ohioville, NY; he taught her to ride, they both tooled leather, he was a metalsmith and made many of the items in the home and on the ranch, including furniture, lanterns, lamps, etc., many with their Bar V logo.

Talk about sitting back in style!

1 Response

Amy P
Amy P

August 29, 2022

My formal living room has my grandparents red wagon wheel furniture in it! Couch with a longhorn (done with a furry head and cream “nauga” horns) as well as wagon wheel magazine holders on each end. The chair has a faux pony print horse head. I have the coffee table, 2 end tables, and the hanging wheel light fixture with 5 glass lanterns. The manufacturers tag is still under the couch…made in Houston in 1956. It is my treasure!

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