Eames Lounge Chair Restoration / by Cory Thompson


Written by: Cory Thompson

Besides designing homes I also have an interest in the history of design and collecting vintage designer furniture. So naturally I keep my eyes on the furniture section of craigslist, often typing the words 'Eames Herman Miller' into the search bar.  It's more of a procrastination technique while I warm up to start work in the morning.  This has been been my method for several years so I have a sense of the rarity these types of finds locally.  This Authentic 1960's Eames Lounge Chair I picked up for a great deal and only minor structural repair and cushion restoration. 

This is my second Eames Lounge restoration, the first I also found on Craigslist it was broken with severe damage to the shell but came with an ottoman (2012).    These chairs are a pleasure to restore. During the process of disassembly and restoration you see the honesty of the design details.  It's a real lesson on craftsmanship and design.  

Historical Significance:
The design duo, husband and wife, Charles and Ray Eames designed the chair in the early 1950s along with many of their other famous chair designs.  Charles was an architect and Ray was a painter.  They pioneered the use of molded plywood in furniture design. Both are known for their significant contributions to modern architecture and furniture design. They're also known for their work in graphic designfine art and film.  The Eames lounge chair is one of their most historically significant projects.

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Chair Facts:

  • This chair was first debuted on the NBC Home Show in 1956 and has been in production since with very little alterations a true testimony to the quality and attention to detail of the Eames design process.

  • It was the first chair that the Eameses designed for a high-end market.

  • A 1956 rosewood Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

  • Produced by Herman Miller furniture company for North American and by Vitra for the European and Middle East markets.

Here's a video I shot of restoration process in my backyard Studio:

Links to restoration products/services I used:

Best Source I could find on history and how to date an Eames Lounge Chair:

Shock Mounts I recommend:

Cushion repair and zipper replacement:
Great job from these guys at:
Master Craftsman Services, Wilmington, NC

-Cory Thompson