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Custom Furniture – MCM Chair Made From Vintage Suitcase!!

There are hundreds of furniture stores and their selections are vast. The problem with buying furniture at a store is it’s not unique. Sometimes we desire to have a custom-made piece that’s one-of-a-kind.

Recently we participated in a local Naperville charity event called the Chair Affair. Local businesses/people signed up to create a chair that would be displayed at a local business for a month. After that, they’d be auctioned off for charity. 

We wanted to come up with a unique idea that would wow everyone. In looking around our shop, we found the perfect solution. For whatever reason, we had a red suitcase from the 50’s or 60’s that a customer had given us. Where most people saw an old suitcase, worthy of the garbage, we saw the core for a Mid-Century Modern chair.


Being able to imagine a suitcase is one thing, actually turning it into a chair is a totally different animal. Initially, we had a to mock-up a temporary frame to understand how the suitcase would carry the load of a person. The bottom of the suitcase would serve as the seat and the door the backrest. For stability, we drilled holes through the bottom and the door of the suitcase, Then, we added metal rods that screwed into the frame made out of Ash and Walnut. Ash was used for the majority of the frame and we added Walnut inlays to give a nice color contrast.

We selected a vibrantly colored fabric that represented our Mid-Century Modern vision. Our upholsterer did a fantastic job of installing the foam and fabric as if it had always been there.

Suitcase 2

The finished product matched our vision exactly. We had a beautiful chair that was also comfortable to sit in. Also, it fetched a great auction price for a good cause.

If you have a furniture idea but don’t know how to turn it into a reality, give us a call or fill out a work order request via the link below. We’d love the opportunity to create a custom-made piece of furniture only for you. Please forward this post to anyone who might enjoy our weekly content.


Wehrli Furniture