Group 6 2 minutes Read

mustard shells

Lauren Zerbey

A year ago, we wrote this post about our quest for dining room chairs. After much research and discussion, we decided to keep the IKEA ones we had until the right thing came along. 

Well, hello Mr. Right:

It all started a few months ago, when Anna clued me into some mustardy yellow Eames fiberglass shell chairs that she heard about through Victoria. They were being sold through Midcentury Modern Finds, a vintage seller based out of San Francisco. Long story short, I didn’t act fast enough and before I knew it the chairs were gone.

But when I finally contacted the seller she let me know that they had about twenty more that just needed to be cleaned up! [Fist pump!] The chairs, which came from a SF longshoremen union hall (which conjures up all sorts of mental images), looked to be in pretty good shape. They were being sold with a wide mount stacking base for $150 each, but we knew we had our hearts set on the dowel base. Fortunately, we were able to purchase just the shells for $100 a piece, which seemed like a reasonable price for 6 matching chairs. (We were originally going to get just four to replace the ones we have, but realized that we often have 6+ people over at one time and making people sit on bar stools is just awkward.)

So anyways, we bought them. On Monday, the shells boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Seattle. (I had no idea you could ship via Greyhound!) Tonight, I headed to the bus station in downtown Seattle to pick them up (which was an experience in itself), but I didn’t care – because I knew the glory that was packed inside my green cellophane-wrapped box. 

We held our breath as we unpacked the box, both secretly hoping that the color would be the right shade of yellow. To our relief, it was. We had discussed the merits of getting a more neutral color, but the yellow is actually playful without being too bright and we think it will work well in our house. (I decided to go ahead and snap a few photos tonight, even though the artificial lighting does not do them justice.) Plus, we love that they’re durable, easy to clean and the right scale for our small house. There are some very tiny marks/scratches here and there, but the overall quality is fantastic. And really, I think there’s also something to be said about getting a piece of furniture that’s already broken in.

Now, let’s talk about something serious.

Dowel bases.

We know of a few reproduction companies, like Modernica, Herman Miller and Modern Conscience, but if anyone has any other leads or suggestions, please share! (We’re ok with going the reproduction route, since it would probably be close to impossible to find 6 matching vintage bases.) Kyle has been eyeing the maple/chrome combination but I’d be ok with maple/black too. The shells came with wide mount shocks, but we’re willing to change them to a narrow mount if needed. (Of course, cost is also a factor – we’d like to stay under $100 per base if possible.)

I know the Eames shell chair is in every other modern house in America, but I don’t care. This is love.