I love learning about a company with a great story to tell and that's certainly the case for Circa50, a Vermont-based authorized retailer for Herman Miller, Knoll and other designers.
The company offers lots of different modern chairs, tables and accessories. "But our real passion is the Butterfly Chair, which is our own product," owners Steven Dunning and Jeff Linebeck told me.
The Hardoy Butterfly Chair has been around since 1938, the Circa50 website says, but the design looks as fresh and new today as ever.
Back in the mid-1990s, Steven and Jeff had one of those older butterfly chairs but it needed a new cover. So they had one made. They liked it so well that when they started their business in 1997, they began offering the replacement covers on their web site.
Before long, though, they were getting so many requests for the complete chair, they set out to find a way to produce it themselves and sell it.
"We’re happy to say that the Butterfly chair is made within 15 miles of our store here in southern Vermont," they told me. "We employ a seamstress to make the fabric covers (the same woman who made our own cover 15 years ago), a leather worker who makes the leather and hide covers, and a metal fabrication shop to make the frames. Oh, and our painter, who works out of his garage."
Today, you can order covers in 12 colors of canvas, seven colors of indoor/outdoor vinyl weave, five varieties of cowhides and three colors of leather. You can see some of the choices at right.
You can also get the chair covers in four sizes (see at right), including one for a folding chair.
"You've come to the only source for made-to-measure butterfly chair covers," the site says. "Why settle for "one-size-fits-all" covers when you don't have to?"
Good question! And thanks to Circa50, you don't have to!
This post has been corrected from its original version. Originally, the post said that Circa50 sold four sizes of chairs. It has been corrected to say it sells four sizes of chair covers. Thanks to Vicki for pointing our my mistake.