My Malachite Cane Chairs

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Here we are today picking up where we left off.  In case you missed it, you can read all about my DIY shelves you see in the photo above in this post, and you can learn how to create a baby’s breath flower arrangement in this post.

So now…on to the malachite chairs.  I love blue and green, and there is so much blue in the rest of the house, that when we added the room off of the kitchen, I knew I wanted to incorporate a lot of green in there to play off of the greenery that comes through the windows surrounding the room.

I found these vintage cane chairs at an estate sale last March.  I LOVED the large scale caning, and it was in perfect, I mean, per-fect condition.  The chairs are heavy, and I really liked the bamboo accent on the arms and legs.  These are classic chairs which will always look stylish and can work in a variety of room styles.  Best of all, the chairs still had the little “Made in Italy” brass tag on the bottom.  I love little details like this!

I was on the fence about selling them, but they were listed and sold in a matter of hours.  I will tell you, I was a bit sad.  Although I can’t remember what happened, the buyer decided to buy another pair of chairs, so these were on the market again.  My dear friend, Kristen, told me I would regret selling them, and she was so right! (thanks girl)

So I kept them.

Clearly, the burnt orange velvet material was not going to work, so I needed to decide what to reupholster them in.

I have long been a fan of malachite.  I can clearly remember going to a friend’s house in the 80’s for a family Christmas party and thinking their malachite dinnerware was soooooo pretty.  Anyone have these back then?

christian dior malachite plates

christian dior malachite plates

 

Fast forward to now, where malachite has been more and more popular in home and fashion in the past five years or so.  Perhaps no fabric in this pattern is quite as recognizable and quite as celebrated as the Tony Duquette via Jim Thompson version.

1st dibs

1st dibs

 

Tony Duquette was the protege of the classic American designer, Elsie de Wolf.  He was the mastermind behind beautiful sets and costumes for Metro Goldwyn Mayer pictures during the heyday of Fred Astaire and musical extravaganzas, and was especially beloved by movie icons, Arthur Freed and Vincent Minnelli.  He was married to a renowned artist, Elizabeth Duquette, whom he affectionaly called “Beegle”. You can read more about his life here.

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After Tony passed at the age of 85, his business partner Hutton Wilkinson, decided to launch a collection of his classic patterns through Jim Thompson.  Mr. Duquette was a big fan of malachite himself, and often used it in his own home and his client’s homes.  Here is a photo of his Beverly Hills dining room.

Tony Duquette Beverly Hills home

Tony Duquette Beverly Hills home

 

Mr. Wikinson located a piece of the handpainted (HANDPAINTED!!) malachite fabric used above and created the Jim Thompson malachite fabric available for purchase today.

Here’s a little more about the fabric:

The “Malachite” pattern was used extensively by Duquette for his own residence as well as for many of his clients. When designing jewellery, malachite stones were a favourite of Duquette. His interest and love for the stone translated to dishes, bound books, floors and tabletops. For Jim Thompson, Wilkinson found a length of Duquette’s original hand painted malachite fabric to be faithfully reproduced in rich colours. Wilkinson has also updated the design by including it in lapis lazuli blue, rose quartz pink, beige and honey-toned onyx.

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As you can imagine, it is quite pricey (I think $150-$200 a yard) and available through the trade only.   But as luck would have it, I was at an estate sale three years ago, and found a small roll of it in the back of a closet.  I know, I couldn’t believe it myself.  The estate belonged to a lady who was a seamstress, and she must have had a remnant left over from a project she did.  I think there was a little over two yards, and I have held onto it waiting for the perfect project.  I love love love it.  It’s flowy, organic, and the color is amazing.

Side Note:  Estate sales can be really great places to find nice fabrics.  Over the years, I have found lots of high end vintage fabrics plus the occasional awesome find like the Tony Duquette malachite fabric.  Lots of people skim over the linens section at estate sales, and there may be some good fabric finds in there.  Also, look for rolls in the back of closets.  I have discovered awesome wallpapers and fabrics this way.

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This amazing fabric was just what those cane chairs needed to highlight their fabulousness.  (plus a pair of ivory pillows from Home Goods)

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If you love malachite fabric and want the look for a more affordable price, there is hope!

Check out this fabric from Spoonflower,

ravynka's malachite fabric via spoonflower

ravynka’s malachite fabric via spoonflower

or if you like more of a white background, you may prefer this Robert Allen version, which comes in three different colorways.

robert allen malachite fabric

robert allen malachite fabric

 

I barely had enough fabric for the seat cushions, but I’m so happy with the way they turned out.  It really does make the room feel more glamorous.

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You can read more about the Tony Duquette for Jim Thompson fabric collection here.

P.S.  Thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement after posting my story last week.  I will be responding to all of your sweet comments today.  I’m doing better this week, and will be back next week with a regular posting schedule.  Thanks again for your patience and love.  xo

Written by Grace

12 Responses to “My Malachite Cane Chairs”

  1. susan nix April 4, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Grace…where is the best place to find frosted glass…I need a 36″by36″? It needs to be placed over my sink so folks can’t see the laundry room behind….

    • Grace April 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Susan, I would try AAA Glass. They are pretty cost effective, and their customer service has always been GREAT for me! They do the job quickly too in my experience. Hope that helps! G

  2. cathy April 4, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Grace, some time ago you posted about a fabric store in the Dallas/Ft Worth area that is kinda “hit or miss”. I think the post was possibly about the Sunbrella Velvets or maybe a fabric w/large butterflies design ? I thought I had saved the post, but of course – now that I need it – I can’t find it. Was it in the Hurst/Euless/Bedford area ??? Thanks and hope you feel better soon.

    • Grace April 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      Hi Cathy, it is called Home Fabrics & Rugs, and it is in the HEB area right next to Northeast Mall. It is awesome! Good luck. 🙂

  3. Anna April 4, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    I love malachite! In fact my formal china is that Christian Dior pattern!

    • Grace April 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      Anna, so cool! When can I come to dinner? 😉

  4. Emily April 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    These are to DYE for Grace!

    • Grace April 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      Thanks Emily! It was so cost effective to just have cushions made, and it really took these chairs up a notch! or five. 🙂 xo, G

  5. cassie {hi sugarplum} April 7, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    Such a happy space…those chairs are gorgeous!!! So glad to hear you’re feeling better!

    • Grace April 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

      Hey Cassie, thank you! Drab to fab, one of my favorite things! 🙂

      Thanks so much, I am feeling better. I’m still pretty sore so I’m moving a bit slower than normal, which my husband would probably say is a more normal person pace. I’m a bit of a fast walker, ha. 🙂

      xo.

  6. Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door April 7, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    That fabric is just gorgeous. And what a perfect match for those fab chairs. I love that all of those pieces came together thru estate sales.

    • Grace April 8, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much! It did turn out better than I even expected. I do love making these estate sale finds awesome. 🙂 I know you are good at this, too! xo, G

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