I started this venture because I love a good monogram. Almost as much as I love my children. And out of a desire to start passing along family furniture. To their credit, Anne, Alex, and Jane always appreciated the pieces my husband, John, and I gave them but the problem was they simply did not have room for much of our “brown” furniture as they started their first jobs, rented apartments, got married, bought houses and developed their own taste and style.
So one Christmas I decided I was going to update a few family chairs and give them to Anne, Jane, and daughter-in-law Katie for Christmas. I refinished the chairs taking off all the old gunk and needlepoint fabric with its floral motif and faded burgundy background. I purchased a neutral fabric and found a shop that did the beautiful, old, monograms like on your grandmother’s linens.
I personally loved the way the three different chairs turned out. And while I knew the girls would not go nuts over them, I thought they would like them well enough - especially Anne and Katie who love monograms and would monogram every one of their girls’ sweet dresses if they could. Jane, on the other hand, was done with the whole monogram thing after high school and college so I assumed she would be lukewarm at best. Merry Christmas, girls!!
So what do I know … they kind of did go nuts over them!! And so did their friends. So did my friends. Over the next few months, I thought a lot about those chairs and how much I really loved them. It was all about the monogram and the realization that a monogram is one of those rare things in life - like your name and birthday - that truly belongs to you. Forever.
One of the very few regrets I have in life is that I have only one item left with my maiden name monogram on it. It goes way back to the summer after my senior year in high school, when my mother took me to Thalhimers in Greensboro where we ordered two sets of twin sheets, pillowcases, washcloths, hand towels, and bath towels for college. White, with a Carolina blue monogram. I adored every single piece. Today, I have exactly one pillowcase left with JWP on it in the top drawer of my dresser and it will go with me to the nursing home.
Christmas 2017, I did something similar for our three granddaughters - Kate (9), Blair (4), and Emily (3 weeks) - and put their sweet, beautiful monograms on new chairs that resembled their mothers’ and aunt’s chairs. Again, I was totally overjoyed at how much even the little girls seemed to love their chairs. Kate and Blair - Emily was a wee bit too young - insisted on sitting in their chairs to watch movies on Christmas day. Be still my heart.
I know it may sound very strange but in moments of greatest joy my mind often goes in the opposite direction. Trust me, John doesn’t understand it either. That Christmas morning I had the sudden realization I may not be present at the weddings of all our granddaughters and future grandchildren. But their monogrammed chairs could be. It was a reassuring moment.
It is crazy, I know, to be thinking of starting a business at the age of 65. But I cannot quite get the notion out of my brain of pairing elegant monograms with beautiful wood to celebrate the special occasions in the life of a family - and knowing they may well remain in the family for years to come.