One of my proudest finds / by Charlene Wang

For the opening scenes of the season for The Affair Season 3, we had a funeral scene. Our wonderful production designer Kelly McGehee wanted us to find these special vintage folding funeral chairs for the funeral home in a quantity necessary to fill a funeral home room. 

this was the reference photo of the chair we were looking for

this was the reference photo of the chair we were looking for

Always loving a good scavenger hunt challenge I started with the usual suspects: calling around the prop houses in NYC, looking up listings on Chairish, Krrbed, Etsy, Ebay and even Craigslist. I could never find more than 6 matching chairs and they were never quite the perfect fit of chairs.  That was a good afternoon's work. 

The next day I looked up manufacturers of funeral home furniture. I called a few places who had folding chairs, but none of them that had the special flair and specific vintage look to evoke the chairs in the reference photo. But I asked them the names and models of older vintage funeral chairs they thought most similar to this chair. 

I found the name and manufacturer of the type of chair most similar to these, but of course they are no longer in production. I googled that like crazy for any sellers online who might still have stock on these but didn't turn anything up. 

So then I started calling around old school funeral homes in the NYC area to see if any of them still had chairs similar to this photo and if they would let me rent. That wasn't turning up anything either. 

Finally one afternoon (I had probably worked on this for a couple of days--while of course also working on other set dressing needs) I decided I was going to drive around to personally visit some old funeral homes and see what they might have in stock and see if I could convince anyone to let me rent. 

I looked around online, and it looked like Yonkers, NY right outside of NYC had a good collection of old school funeral homes right near each other. I visited one, and turned up nothing. Then I visited another, walked into a room and saw these:

you have no idea how happy I was one I saw these. 

you have no idea how happy I was one I saw these. 

I was ecstatic and texted Kelly and our decorator Jessica Petruccelli right away. YES! I had found them! And yes they wanted them! 

...now I just had to convince the funeral home owner to let me rent them, take them out of his funeral home, bring them to the funeral home we were shooting at, all for a reasonable price. Well, I used to work as a diplomat so I summoned all my diplomatic skills and negotiation classes and got my hustle on with the funeral home owner. 

In the end we made it work:

Chairs in Funeral Home.png
Noah at Funeral 301.png

This is still one of my most satisfying hunts to date.