Strolling with my Louisiana friends along Flagler Avenue in beachtown last Sunday afternoon, we came upon what is a relatively new store, one named Island Collection, an offshoot of the main store in Winter Park, Florida, about an hour’s drive west. Both stores feature the collections of Regina and Phil Carpenter, frequent travelers enamored of the islands of the south Pacific, southeast Asia, and islands of the Caribbean. Their stores are stocked with the treasures brought back from their ongoing travels, including custom furniture handmade especially for Island Collection and shipped here from Bali.
As we passed the store on Sunday, it was impossible to miss the huge teakwood chair nestled among palm fronds at the store’s entrance. An eye-catcher in any setting, it was a handsome piece of eye candy to even those uninterested in chairs. While the notion of a replacement chair for the patio has been nuzzling around in the back of my head, the old adirondack chair has some life in it yet, and a replacement could easily have been postponed for a while. But the island adirondack was too much to walk away from.
The design for this chair originated on the island of Bequia, largest of the Grenadine Islands situated off the northern coast of South America. It was there that Phil Carpenter first saw a local cousin of what he imagined for his stores in Florida. With that design in mind, he arranged for craftsmen on the island of Java in Indonesia to do the first stage building of the chairs, and ship them on to nearby Bali for the finishing work. The island adirondack is handmade completely from kiln dried teak hardwood. The wood is rough and hand hewn to a point where some surfaces remain uneven. Minor wood split and defects in the teak are viewed as acceptable, seen as characteristics that heighten the quality in a piece of furniture. Not meant to be overly smooth, each piece is hand rubbed and waxed to a beautiful soft satin finish. No lacquers or clear coats are applied.
I have already mentioned the unusual size of this outdoor chair. The width from arm to arm is 34 inches, with the seat stretching 28 between. From front edge to back the chair is 38 inches deep, and from floor or ground level, 44 inches high at the apex of the rounded back. It’s one of those extra-wide chairs that can accommodate two children at once, or provide a grand sprawl for even a large adult. I don’t like to leave even weatherproof cushions out on patio chairs, but the island adirondack becomes even more comfortable with the addition of a soft cushion placed in the deepest part of the chair, just behind the lower back. The holes at the front of each arm make anchoring a drink easy and the wide, the flat arms just right for things like a book, cell phone, napkins or snack.
Ula, my friend next door who comes each year with Dietrich from Frankfurt, Germany to enjoy the beach
The island Adirondack is a chair that makes living the life of Riley at the beach a little easier.