Eames Management Chairs in Scalamandre Leopardo Velvet

I can’t believe I haven’t shared these chairs with you guys yet. My babies! My pride and joy! About a year ago I saw an ad on craigslist for vintage office furniture from an old publishing company that was going out of business in New Jersey. Vintage office furniture is usually great stuff, and the…

I can’t believe I haven’t shared these chairs with you guys yet. My babies! My pride and joy!

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About a year ago I saw an ad on craigslist for vintage office furniture from an old publishing company that was going out of business in New Jersey. Vintage office furniture is usually great stuff, and the photos in the ad looked promising, so I hopped in the car (actually last year, I would have had to rent a zipcar, so this was a really risky venture – I’m glad it paid off!).

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I was rewarded with a pair of Eames Soft Pad chairs from the Management line. These chairs are normally astronomically expensive, especially when they have five wheels and are upholstered in leather. My chairs only had four legs since they were made in the late 70s/early 80s, and they were upholstered in a rose pink upholstery that was stained and not in great shape. But they were $150 for the pair, so I snatched them up fast as lighting. All the while thinking of Ames Ingrams’ reupholstered Management chair that I blogged about here, years ago.

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That exact same, very lucky day I was online looking for some interesting fabric to reupholster the chairs in, and I stumbled across an auction for four yards of Scalamandre’s Leopardo silk velvet on eBay. You guys, this stuff is INSANELY expensive – like, $1000 a yard expensive (you can usually find it for about $300 a yard online though). I got the four yards for $200 total and it was worth every single penny. 

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The silk velvet is smooth as buttah and I love the little bits of green strie in the gold background.
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As far as the upholstery goes, this was definitely NOT a DIY job. I had my upholsterer here in the city do these and I heard more than a few curse words come out of his mouth at one point when he called me about the chairs. Apparently they were not easy to take apart. :/

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But a year later, I’m still loving them (such a testament coming from me) and even Michael doesn’t mind them, you know, for leopard print office chairs. :) I’m of the “good animal print is a neutral” school of thought though, so I might be a little biased.
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Oh! I thought I would mention that, while the silk velvet is absolutely fabulous and if you can spring for it you should, there is a great alternative for those of us living in realm of budgets, other than just lucking out on eBay like I did. The actual pattern of the leopard is an open-source pattern (I think) because a few other fabric lines use it as a printed cotton velvet. I know Duralee (Braemore maybe?) sells it to the trade and Calico Corners sells that retail for about $30 a yard (and they make this pretty X bench below!). The fabric pattern is called Jamil Natural and you can usually find a few yards for much less if you dig around the interwebs a bit. It’s no where near as soft or as pretty in person I think as the silk, but the look is very similar from afar. And why not save $970 per yard? :)
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These Calico benches made an appearance in the most recent Lonny:
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And here are a couple more rooms featuring the leopardo pattern. In photographs you usually can’t really tell which is which, but I’m guessing most of these are the real-deal silk velvet.
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Sally Wheat
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Palmer Weiss
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Elle Decor
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44 thoughts on “Eames Management Chairs in Scalamandre Leopardo Velvet

  1. Seriously- I love how one day it's all about trash and the next about the treasures!
    Love how you rocked those Eames management chairs.
    Just saying Scalamandre sounds decadent.

  2. Amazing find! And the fabric is gorgeous. You can see the difference between the good stuff and the less expensive version even online. I love how just a little bit of animal print in a room makes such a statement and looks so fabulous. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I recently upholstered a Wing chair for my entry in leopardo and absolutely love it. Four yards for $200 was the score of a lifetime!


  4. I noticed the chairs in your post of the doors! They are perfection, and I am extremely jealous. I love that your upholsterer was cussing! :-)

  5. I just bought the very same chair off of craigslist a few months ago (same pink upholstery!). I haven't found a place to have it reupholstered yet, but thankfully it's in good condition; the previous owner even replaced the cushions. I just threw a sheepskin on top of it to minimize the ugly eighties pink :) The leopard looks amazing!

  6. Love how they turned out!!!
    Can you tell me if they are the same as the Knoll desk chair? I have one upholstered in leather that looks identical!

  7. You are my style guru! I'm always so inspired by what you do. I love everything about your photo…especially the gorgeous chairs. I totally agree that animal print is a neutral and have a hard time not using it everywhere!

  8. Wow! They look so great! Everything you do turns out wonderful. I wish I had such a good eye.

    I'm definetly with you about animal prints being the perfect neutral. My sister bought me pair of leapord print ballet flats a few years ago and after realizing they go with everything, I can't live without a pair in my wardrobe anymore.

  9. hi Jenny! I have been waiting for you to post about those chairs! what incredible luck you have. i absolutely adore them and hope to find my own management chairs to reupholster one day.

  10. I've been WONDERING when you were going to put those lovelies front and center!
    Talk about kismet. Girl, you must be doing something right in the Universe! ;)

    The chairs are gorgeous.
    alison g.

  11. Jenny– this post was right up my ally. Not only because I love what you have done with the chairs but because I have suddenly realized that my chair at work is this 5 wheeled Eames that you are talking about. No one else wanted it and I claimed dibs. Its black leather now but I am imagining it like yours…How wild!

  12. I am dying for your chair! And what good timing that you posted this today because I've been sitting on all these leopard fabric samples and was about to pull the trigger on one for some chairs but I definitely want to check out the CC one first now. So thank you!

  13. You really scored on that fabric, and it looks fantastic on those office chairs, an unexpected pairing, but truly magnificent. Love your post.
    xo Nancy

  14. I just recently found your blog, and I'm loving it! I love animal prints, and totally agree with you that they are a neutral, if used right! I think I have something animal-printed in every room of my house.

  15. This post is so great. I love love the chairs you recovered and it is so helpful the resources you gave so I can use it one day myself! Love those Calico X benches as well.

  16. Hi Jenny, this is a total long shot! But do you still have the leopard print chair and it yes, would you ever consider selling it! It’s exactly the kind of chair I’ve been looking for for ages and I just can’t find it anywhere anymore. Thanks so much! Kerstin

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