Janesville30.6°

It's a chair with flair

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
November 10, 2007
— If Jerry Oscarson gets his wish, he’ll have the winning seat during Wednesday’s Take a Seat to Toile Design Contest in New York City.

Designer Katie Hawkins of the Chicago area entered the 49-year-old Janesville upholsterer into Pierre Deux’s first-time contest.


The first part of the competition, sponsored by the French-based home furnishings company that has 10 stores in the United States, took place over the past couple months when four designers were selected from 10 cities to design a fully upholstered Parson’s chair using Pierre Deux’s toile fabric to promote and showcase it, Oscarson said.


Hawkins was selected to represent the Chicago market. She and Oscarson designed the chair that Oscarson spent 45 days upholstering.


“She likes to think outside the box and is extravagant a little bit,” Oscarson said. “But that’s why we work really well together. She comes with an idea, and I go with it.”


The competitors—four chairs—were displayed in a store in Winnetka, Ill., for three weeks when the public got to vote on their favorite design. Oscarson and Hawkins’ chair, with a theme of “Romance in Bloom,” won.


Now it’s competing with eight other chairs in New York City.


Among judges is Madame Pierre Deux, who is coming from France, and someone from Traditional Home Magazine, Oscarson said.


One of the biggest perks of winning this final part of the competition is that the chair gets put in the Traditional Home Magazine, a national publication, Oscarson said.


“I don’t really get the glory of it if something happens, but I get the backlash of doing all of this wonderful furniture she’ll come into contact with,” he said.


Oscarson described the chair: “The fabric captures a man on his knee proposing to a woman centered in its back. Off to the side of that piece of fabric are three men in a boat and a waterfall scene.


“There were four or five different scenes on the fabric,” Oscarson said. “I only centered one.”


As the fabric drapes down the front of the chair, the skirt is scalloped in three layers, Oscarson said.


“It kind of looks like a tiered cake,” he said.


The back of the chair is covered in tiny raspberry check fabric and gathered at the top. At the end of that piece of fabric, Oscarson used French silk to make flowers with five and six petals accenting each in the middle with a puffy tailored button.


Oscarson’s chair is the only one made solely from Pierre Deux’s fabric, which he hopes speaks in volumes.


“I think that’s one thing we’ve got going for us, but I don’t know if judges are looking for design, the way the colors go together or for trims.”



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