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Friday, July 29, 2016

How to spot an authentic Bertoia wire chair

The Bertoia wire chair is a mid-century icon. As such, it has been widely imitated. If having an authentic Bertoia chair is important to you...for its quality, its comfort, its retention of value, or simply for bragging rights...the Harry Bertoia Foundation has offered a guide for recognizing the real thing.

Details like wire diameter, the angle the wire is cut, the bend radius of the top corners and the base, and double wire rims on new chairs (although a few double rims were produced in 1953) are ways to spot a knock-off.

The tips in the article are quite specific, also providing information about glides, upholstery, line additions, and the Knoll stamp.

If you love the work of this mid-century designer, you'll want to check out the entire site for more information about the man himself, as well as his oeuvre. His daughter Celia Bertoia is director of the foundation, the mission of which is to spread the legacy of Harry Bertoia. On the website, you can become a volunteer, donate, or simply sign up for the mailing list.

Bertoia chair lineup

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Former glory

We thought we had beige/brown terrazzo. Of course, we knew it needed to be cleaned, because it has obvious grimey build-up around the walls that mopping won't remove, but we were shocked when we found out that it was originally white...and could be again.

The representative of a local stone restoration company came out to do an estimate, and he gave me a demonstration of what to expect from their services. He asked me to show him the spot in the house where the floor is in the worst condition, so I pointed him in the direction of a group of 9 tiles near the back door that I thought were damaged and covered with 66 years' worth of wax (and who knows what else). He sprayed some Mar-Tek Pro-Strip on one tile, scrubbed it with a brush, and toweled the area dry. Here's what resulted.

Stripped terrazzo tile

He was almost as surprised at the dramatic difference as I was. This tile was put down 66 years ago. Who knows how long it's been since this floor was stripped and honed? Maybe never.

His estimate: $2422. Naturally, we'll be getting other bids, but this is definitely on our Must Do list.