Benjamin Klebba, a custom furniture maker from Portland, has crafted the Harbor — a nautical side chair for landlubbers — which is surprising in more than one way.
First, the Harbor has a seat made of woven polypropylene rope, which pays tribute to Klebba’s childhood.
“I grew up sailing on Lake Huron with my family. We’d head out on one of the wooden sailboats my dad built and hang around the harbor. Sometimes we’d head out to the lighthouse on the edge of the breakwall or venture beyond the harbor, but mostly we’d feel the wind and the waves and enjoy each other’s company,” writes Klebba on the blog of his company, Phloem Studio. “It was a simple pleasure. I miss it tremendously.”
Second, the chair is actually quite comfortable. Though one might typically suppose a seat made of thick, nautical rope would be rather uncomfortable, Klebba said to the New York Times that “it feels like a cushion; it feels great.”
The Harbor chair is part of a larger, growing design trend. More and more homeowners are adding nautical decor and redesigning rooms to have a nautical theme. Homes everywhere are featuring striped patterns, starfish, maps, nautical stars, and other types of nautical imagery.
“Short of the real collectors, like those who own an original Mark V. US Navy Diving Helmet from World War II, nautical decorating has gone from simple collecting and eclectic smatterings, to mainstream designing,” says Scott Tucker, Owner, Nautical Decor Store. “We are selling to designers now, or homeowners who have hired a designer. On the other end of the scale, we now enjoy seeing young people wearing nautical inspired jewelry like bracelets, necklaces and rings that are sporting anchors, life preservers and propellers etc. Underneath it all, it’s definitely trendy now and that will come and go over the years. But for those folks who have an intrinsic pull the ocean evokes in them, nothing makes their blood pressure ebb like walking into their favorite space and spying that favorite item, or grouping, that just resonates with their soul, a little in that moment.”
In fact, nautical decor has gotten so popular that The Most 10 even went so far as to say it’s an overdone interior design. Lovers of the sea theme, however, disagree, saying that it’s timeless.
“I’ve wanted to design a chair with a rope weave for a while now,” writes Klebba. “My father, Ron Klebba developed the prototype and built the first batch out of white oak and walnut from my sketches and our talks. It’s been amazing working with dad these past few years. His expertise and support has been invaluable.”
Available in domestic hardwoods and gray, black, and navy ropes, the Harbor chair can be ordered directly from Phloem Studios.