On Deck Furniture

Our first deck, and its furniture, pencil drawing by Shirley, 1989.

Newer is not always better than old, and sometimes old is even better than new! That is my opinion. Today, as we transition to colder weather and put outdoor furniture in the garage, I’m thinking specifically of our heavy wrought iron set. Always accept help, by the way, when it comes to moving items down steps and around the lawn. I think I pulled a muscle when I didn’t wait for the offered assistance, only about 5 minutes out. That independent streak was at work.

Our deck in 1989, without furniture. Built in seats are a good design feature! This was a very warm Easter Sunday in Omaha.

When we bought a lakehouse in 2010, a set of white, curlicue iron outdoor furniture came with it. At first, I didn’t know if I would like it because it was so old fashioned. However, in the intervening years, I have come to appreciate it so much, and now think it is irreplaceable!

My brother, Ed, has already claimed the table if we do ever switch it out for something new. He likes how it never seems to be dirty, whereas a glass topped table always looks smudgy, and has to be wiped clean before using.

Sunrise seen through and around my favorite deck chair, October, 2021.

This is why I think our white iron furniture is so valuable:

Its 6 chairs are of ample size for all ages and body types. They will not break, even with rambuctious college kids using them.

Its weight and sturdiness holds up to Okoboji winds, keeping them in place on the deck. Our neighbors’ lightweight chairs often end up on the grass, flipped over.

No pillows are required, so there is no having to move cushions in and out of the rain. Although, somehow, a few green and white cushions showed up, and we don’t know from who—were they Mom and Dad’s? Karen and Jim, or Bry and Amy are the most logical suspects, but they won’t admit to bringing them, ha ha!

The mysterious green cushions. I believe a folded beach towel works as well, especially under your feet when you place them on another chair.

It has variety. Some of the chairs rock, and some do not. A two-seated glider is also part of the set.

We can refresh it by spray painting it every 3 years or so, making it look like new. The sustainability!

It’s whiteness looks great with the blue sky and water. Even on a cloudy day, it brings a cheerful spark to the view.

Not everyone agrees with my assessment of positive attributes. I’ve heard grumblings of it being uncomfortably hard from family and even a neighbor, who sometimes brings his own chair (quite portable!) over for a chat.

Paul and Dan, Summer afternoon, 2021.

I think Paul is all sweaty from a hot day’s bike ride, so that is why he kindly chose to sit in his own chair. But, really, a little sweat would not harm our chairs!

Before we even had a deck, we had a patio. It was paved with bricks in the backyard of our first house, at 536 S. 55th St.

Hard at work, late 1970’s.

Our furniture on this new deck was a salvaged picnic table from Grand Island’s night of 7 tornadoes on June 3, 1980. Our friends retrieved it from their parents’ house (actually found a few blocks from there) when they went to help clean up. It worked well for us!

Brandon with his cardboard creation, 1981.

Before we had this patio, we had a lawn, and as most Americans did, we sat on lightweight aluminum folding chairs, with webbed seating and backing strips. When those wore out, I unscrewed the ravelling webs, and replaced with canvas from Northwest Fabrics, a favorite hang out place for me! They were edged with white bias tape, sewn on my used Singer Touch and Sew (purchased in Iowa City, while Dan was studying there,1974).

Bryan, 1979.
Brandon, 1979, and a view of the back of this kid sized chair.

Before we had these canvas chairs, I think we had a couple of those one piece, molded metal chairs, which could also be re-painted when they began to rust. I do like the look of those chairs, on a lawn especially.

Brandon, alongside an old metal lawn chair, while we were on vacation in Minnesota.

Here are a few other deck furniture sets from our younger years:

This hard plastic resin set was very longlasting. It moved to Long Island, NY with us and came back to Omaha for a happy life of many years
on this deck at 1505 N. 135th St. My garden produce sits on top.
This 3 piece set of ”outdoor cafe” style furniture was so much my favorite, that I used it outside of Cupcake Island, in 2006. It just fit within the city’s allowable space on the front sidewalk.
A super find at the Father’s Day Weekend Antiques sale in Walnut Iowa, early 2000. Twenty one years later, it was passed on to a new owner this summer, when it was quickly snatched from the end of our driveway, set out with a big ”Take it, it’s yours!” sign.
My siblings and I gifted a set of redwood furniture to our parents for their July 2 anniversary, 1981. Seen here using it on the 4th of July, are Grandpa Charles Schelle and Dan, in Mom and Dad’s backyard. It was later moved up to their deck. Note the garden!
A little deck and chair for Brandon, early 1977, Shalimar Apts. Isn’t this the cutest?
Sometimes, I think I like the shadows as much as the chairs. Summer, 2021.
A miniature, just for fun!

A favorite Haiku:

“We are what we choose,

The people that we let stay,

The things that we keep.”

From Stephen Le @lemobilefeast, who received this from one of his hosts as he traveled the country, cooking dinner each night in a different home.

Happy outdoors to you, wherever you are!


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