March 19, 2016

The Fainting Couch


     Whether you call it a lounger, a fainting couch or a great place to read a book, chaise lounges have been around for a very long time. Different from the regular couch, this piece of furniture is usually open on one end and may or may not have a back. I have wanted one for years. It doesn't matter that I don't wear a corset and am not short of breath so I really don't need a fainting couch, not for fainting at any rate. I can still imagine I might for other reasons. Instead I picture myself putting up my feet in the afternoon to read or daydream or perhaps catch a little cat nap after a delicious cup of tea. When the old rescued gliding rocker I have had in my studio for years gave up the ghost I knew what I needed to replace it - my own fainting couch.

My old rescued glider

     As I got serious searching for the perfect chaise lounge the first thing I discovered is that no matter how they are made or the material used, they can be incredibly expensive. There was no way I was going to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of three thousand for an elaborate Victorian restoration piece. I didn't want anything that elaborate anyway. My studio isn't that large and it houses all of my office, computers and desks. I needed something smaller and less ostentatious. There is an old lesson I learned a long tome ago: Price is often based on the customer. So I thought like a tight-wad consumer. It's a fact that men's t-shirts are far less expensive than women's. This is true of many things. Fancy microfiber cleaning cloths are quite pricey in a special housewares shop but, at a discount department store, in the automotive department, they are a fraction of the price. I started searching online with this attitude. I happened across several beautiful wicker lounges, lovely pieces for relaxing in your sun-room. They all were marked for indoor use only. I wondered, what did they charge if you planned to put the thing out in the yard? I bet it's much cheaper.
      I was right. Much. Now I narrowed my search. Since I am handy with a sewing machine and can make my own cushions and pillows I can use that skill to keep the cost down too. (Except for foam rubber. Damn, it costs more than the chair!). At any rate I could make whatever cover I wanted myself. I really like wicker, but I also didn't want a piece in my space that looked too much like a lawn chair. I finally found a chair that fit my needs perfectly and started looking for the right fabric.

The right fabrics

     All week long I plotted and planned how I would deck out my chaise lounge. Did I want only a cushion upon it? Maybe it needed a ruffle? I cruised photographs online for inspiration and built a picture in my mind. It has been well over a month since I sprained my ankle badly and even my sore foot seemed to be imagining restful afternoons gently elevated for some healing time.
      Today it finally arrived. How exciting! It came in a massive container, in the rain, in a box that would not fit through the front door. So there I was, unpacking the pieces and dragging them indoors. Every inch was wrapped in cardboard and plastic wrap, but finally I got to the chair. With my careful planning the cushion fit almost perfectly, needing only to have the end trimmed into a curve to fit into the chair section. I arranged the pillows and decided to add a battenburg lace tablecloth I have had for years beneath the cushion like a dust ruffle. I put on tea and sat down. Heaven.

 My fainting couch

      I have spent the last two afternoons relaxing with some hand sewing and one of my cats, who loves the lounger as much as I do. Now there's room for the both of us to relax.

Miss Secret enjoying the lounger

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