Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Evolution of a Chair


What a great invention! A wheelchair is one of the truly life-changing design ideas, and whoever invented it should get a medal. It certainly has made our lives better, and I know that is true for millions of other people as well.
That said, however, the basic wheelchair, which Moy Moy has possessed for many years now, leaves a bit to be desired. Black, squat and a little clunky, the old workhorse gets her from Point A to Point B anywhere on the ground floor of our house and sometimes into the garden as well (though its wheels don’t take to the lawn too happily), but, well, it lacks a certain beauty, to say nothing of pizzazz. For our Moy Moy, who is style and grace personified, whose dupattas always match her outfits, a little modification was called for.img_3434
Cathleen, our family design consultant, recommended colorful fabric covers, and she searched around Boston for some special borders we could add to the basic cloth. The result was a series of splashy covers – hot pink, cool green and glorious turquoise – with matching belts, anchored with Velcro, to keep Moy safely in her seat.
These kept us happy for almost two years. Then we got our sofa reupholstered. I’m not sure what triggered the tube-light, but it suddenly struck me: why not upholster Moy’s chair? And use the same fabric so that her chair looks just like any other piece of furniture in our elegant living room?
I called Raju, the man who had done our earlier upholstery job, and he came over to see what could be done. He really put his mind to it and finally came up with a whole new plan which involved removing the canvas seat in favor of a wooden one (he warned me it would not longer be possible to fold it) which he cut out himself and then covered with foam, making it comfortable to sit on for several hours at a stretch.
One of our big problems with Moy’s wheelchair has been the foot-rests. She has a tendency to kick her legs out involuntarily and she often bangs into the metal foot-rests as a result. Raju came up with a padding for the rests which will minimize the problem.
And now see the result! A chair of elegance and beauty, fit for our Princess who deserves nothing less.


ana @ i made it so said...

alright. i keep forgetting to bring the tissues with me when i visit your blog...

such a sweet idea, first to make it full of colour and personality, and then to make it fit in with the rest of your family room, and to be extra comfortable too.

thank you so much for sharing!

Jo Chopra McGowan said...

Thanks, Ana! Moy Moy is due for a new one - yet another thing I have learned that I never knew before: wheelchairs wear out! And quickly! So I will be working on a new design now - would love suggestions!

Amanda said...

This is beautiful! There is nothing but love in this project and it is so heartwarming to see.

Jo Chopra McGowan said...

Thank you, Amanda! Are you the same Amanda of The Tinker's Muse? If so, I love your blog!