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Chairs needed for ‘CHAIR-ity’ fundraiser

Vintage’s designers will turn donated chairs into beauties like this one, currently featured in the downtown Morris store, for its CHAIR-ity auction June 14.
Vintage’s designers will turn donated chairs into beauties like this one, currently featured in the downtown Morris store, for its CHAIR-ity auction June 14.

Facials and facelifts are in the works for chairs and sitting furniture of all kinds this month, as the downtown Morris business, Vintage ~ Yesterday’s Memories, Today’s Treasures, prepares for its annual CHAIR-ity event.

This is the fifth year of the fundraising auction hosted by the home and garden décor store, and owner Cassie Van Tassel said donations are beginning to trickle in.

“Each one is better than the last,” she said of the auctions, “And that’s exciting. That chair that you’re going to sell at the garage sale, bring it in.”

Donations of any kind of furniture used for sitting are needed as soon as possible, Van Tassel said, such as desk chairs, garden chairs, stools, benches, rockers, captain’s chairs and kids’ tables and chairs.

The store’s designers will donate their time to refashion the items into one-of-a-kind treasures for the CHAIR-ity silent auction scheduled for June 14. They have fun with their projects, Van Tassel said, getting together on a weekend or two to brainstorm and create. Some of the chairs will get painted, others reupholstered, stained or even have scenes or sports teams’ logos detailed on them.

“We paint them. We stencil them. We rock them out,” Van Tassel said. “Our vendors at Vintage come up with some really great ideas. Beyond artistic. They are tremendously talented. We painted one rocker a metallic silver, and we did a metallic gold bike. They put it in the garden.”

Vintage vendor and designer Marge Pawlowski of Verona said she especially enjoys doing over some of the chairs that have carvings or similar details on them.

“What jumps out at me is when they have ornate architecture to them,” she said, “Like carvings or detail or when they’re thicker or chunkier.”

Pawlowski said one of her favorite redesigns was removing the legs from a chair that had a couple of broken legs, then turning the seat and back into a wall piece. It was like a shelf or a display piece, she said.

“I look for anything that has the potential to be turned into something outstanding,” she said. “Things with a wow factor.”

The people who win the silent auction on the items are creative in where they put their chairs when they get home, too. Last year, the person who took home a 1920s vanity chair found the perfect place for it in her daughter’s bedroom and designed the bedroom around the chair.

The recipient for the fundraiser is different each year. This year, proceeds will be donated to Diamond toddler Myla Grace Kramer, who was born with complex congenital heart defects. Since her birth, according to Van Tassel, Myla has undergone four open heart surgeries.

She needs additional open heart surgeries to repair holes in her heart and an arterial stenosis, as well as anticipated surgeries in years to come.

Van Tassel said that despite her medical problems, Myla still smiles and laughs, and is working hard to walk and catch up with her brothers. Myla is the daughter of Jeff and Heather Kramer and little sister to Zakk, Maxx and Ryder.

“We are so appreciative that Myla was picked for the event,” Heather Kramer said. “It was really an honor to be selected.”


Needed: Chairs of all kinds and other sitting furniture such as benches, pews and stools. No irreparable junk

For: The 5th annual CHAIR-ity event, sponsored by the Morris downtown retail store Vintage ~ Yesterday’s Memories, Today’s Treasures

When: Donations should be made as soon as possible to allow time for designers to recreate them. Last day to donate is June 14 for as-is chairs.

How to donate: Call 815-513-5670 for pre-approval and further details

CHAIR-ity Auction: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 14 at Vintage, 222 Liberty St. in Morris

Know More: Find out about the CHAIR-ity event by visiting Vintage, calling 815-513-5670, or by searching the business on Facebook

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