I am in love with deck chairs. I freely admit it. Especially if they are wooden with striped canvas.
My passion for deck chairs began as a youngster. My Dutch grandparents had a garden allotment (on the edge of Amsterdam), complete with tiny summer house. Sort of like those you find along beach sides, but a little longer, and without the beach. Rather, it was surrounded by flowers, trees and the odd veg. Mostly I remember rhubarb.
The little house had three rooms. A lounge, with double bed that folded up against the wall behind a chain curtain. A middle room that had two sets of bunk beds. And a little kitchen. All wonderfully decorated in 1950s pastels and Formica. (I am sure this is where my passion for vintage began as well.)
It was such a tiny space, everything seemed to fold or slot away somewhere. Including deck chairs. I can remember at least two of them, one with green, red and yellow striped canvas sticks resolutely in my minds eye.
Each time we went to the allotment, whether to simply potter about for an hour or two, or stay over night, the deck chairs always came out and were put on a tiny patch of grass at the centre of the garden.
When we went on summer holidays together (always in a different part of the Netherlands), deck chairs always seemed to feature at what ever cottage we rented. And sometimes the odd rocking chair (another passion), but we’ll save those for another time.
I have fond memories of my grandmother always needing ‘help’ from my brother and I to haul her out of the grips of these low slung chairs. Usually with much hilarity and never quite sure if our assistance was ever actually needed. But we enjoyed the game of it.
A few years ago, whilst we were caretakers of a little Chateau, I found a truly wonderful deck chair at a vide grenier (village flea market) for the princely sum of 1 euro. It even had a fold out foot rest as well as arm rests. And piece de resistance, green, red and yellow stripes.
It was put to much use that hot summer for relaxing in the shade in our little garden. And then sadly, I left it out in the rain one too many times. Of course, given it was probably about 70 years old, it was only a matter of time that the fabric would deteriorate with use. But my neglect certainly sped up the process.
I searched in vain for suitable fabric to replace what had rotted away. France seemed to not like canvas material, let alone really any fabric it seemed. And having a heavy weight canvas shipped from another country turned out to be very expensive. So in the meantime, I stored the folding deck chair away for another day.
And then my parents came to visit, and my mother brought with her a gorgeously festive striped canvas fabric. It had the green, yellow and red stripes, as well as aqua, white and navy blue. The colourful reminders were still there, but now with new memories to be added in.
Sadly, then we got busy. We bought our own home and moved. Then work began on restoring our garden and house. Lots of good excuses, some forgetfulness, yet always good intentions. The wooden deck chair frame, and material, had come with us. But, it was stored away as a wait until a rainy day project.
A year came and went. Then another. Until, this sunny weekend.
How to video duly watched, I was ready. The material was cut and side edges sewn (as the fabric piece was a meter/yard wide). It was tacked into place as the instructions had shown. The same was done for the foot rest. Except. There had been no foot rest in the video, so I was winging it. And, well, messed it up.
I managed to have the folding brace for the foot rest on the wrong side as I tacked the fabric into place. Of course, this will simply add to my deck chairs story, but at the time the air turned blue.
Tacks had to be undone. Brace put to the correct side and the material was re-fastened. Finally, finally, my deck chair has come back to life, ready to enjoy its new life in our secret garden.
Should you wish repair or replace canvas on a deck chair, I can recomend this video as very clear and helpful…