Real Estate: This simple seat, sans cushion, will add instant charm

by |
08/12/2012 9:00 AM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Three colorful Adirondack-style chairs made from recycled plastic, with a cypress rocker, right, at Kaufman Allied in Riverhead.

If you’re looking to add instant charm to the exterior of your North Fork home, you might want to consider purchasing a set of Adirondack chairs.

They’re a quick addition to any porch or lawn and create a comfortable, welcoming ambience for about $300 a seat.

Realtors have known this for years. Some even keep them on hand for showcasing properties.

Jerry Cibulski of Century 21 Albertson Realty in Southold said his company has two white Adirondack chairs that it uses during open houses.

The chairs accentuate a green lawn and can also create a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere on a deck or overlooking the water, he said.

“They’re not too modern and not too rustic,” Mr. Cibulski said. “They fit well in a beach environment, which the North Fork speaks to.”

Although the classic summer recliner with board armrests has historically been made of wood, local patio store owners say that recycled plastic Adirondacks have outsold the traditional wooden ones over the past few seasons.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Kaufman Allied manager Ed Delaney sits in the cypress rocking chair.

Nichole Elliston, who runs Hampton Hearth in Southold with her husband, Robert, said more people are interested in the synthetic material mainly because of its durability.

You can plop these chairs on your lawn or on the beach and won’t have to worry about the wind carrying them away. Ms. Elliston said most of the chairs she sells weigh about 60 pounds.

“It lasts forever,” Ms. Elliston said. “Recycled plastic is very popular right now. It’s definitely green. We’re recycling plastic and we’re not cutting down trees.”

In addition to environmental and ethical reasons, Ms. Elliston said more customers prefer these types of chairs because they are low maintenance. The wooden types have to be painted, and repainted, over time.

But some North Forkers still prefer traditional Adirondack chairs, which were invented in the early 1900s.

According to a story published last year in The New York Times, a family man named Thomas Lee built the first Adirondack chair in Westport, N.Y.

“Nailing boards together on the front lawn, he asked other members of his family to test prototypes and tell him which were the most comfortable,” the article states. “With this research as a guide, he built a chair with a sloping seat and back. Each chair was made from a single pine board and with the wide armrests that became a hallmark of the Adirondack style. His chair was an immediate success with the family.”

Although this season’s color trends are shades of aqua and sky blue, most Adirondack chair seekers want white.

Ms. Elliston said white is the classic color choice mainly because it’s a neutral shade that matches the trim of most homes.

Ed Delaney, owner of Kaufman Allied in Riverhead, said sales of wooden Adirondack chairs have held steady over the past few years.

Tropical hardwoods like teak are popular because they require little maintenance, he said, adding that chairs made of softer woods, such as redwood or cedar, have to be stained more often because their porousness makes them more susceptible to water damage.

“We don’t sell them as much,” Mr. Delaney said. “We’ve sold a ton of the recycled plastic chairs; well over 150 so far.”

Mr. Delaney said he believes the popularity of the chairs is related to their comfort.

“The way they are designed — the contour — you can sit in the chair without a cushion for a long time,” he said.

jennifer@timesreview.com