Arts & Crafts Style Morris Inspired Chairs; A Perfect Place to Read a Book

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 06-03-2006 02:26 AM 14560 views 26 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have One (1) more of these chairs made up in parts that has not been carved, or glued together. If you would like a custom carved Morris Chair and matching Ottoman, please email me at [email protected] and we can discuss it further.

To see more photos of this project, you can also go to My Website

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

If you stumbled onto this project posting while surfing the internet for Arts & Crafts furniture to buy, you might also be interesting in seeing these other Arts & Crafts Projects I have posted that were part of this commission:

  1. Sectioned Entertainment Center
  2. Orchid Stand/Wine Storage
  3. Arts & Crafts End Tables
  4. Arts & Crafts Coffee Table
  5. Arts & Crafts Table Lamps
  6. Arts & Crafts Prairie Style Couch
  7. Morris Chairs & Ottomans

Project Story:

When I was first approached by a neighbor about building a Living Room Collection of Craftsman-Style furniture, I was not all that excited. At the time they approached me I was still recovering financially from three years working as a Missionary for World Impact at their Morning Star Ranch near Florence, KS.

After leaving Morning Star I was commuting 87 miles each way to work, working hard at a full-time job learning how to do technical sales of metal plating services, something I knew llittle about (ok, ok, I knew nothing about).

In my “spare” time I was building walking canes, knives, flutes, pipes, and powder horns, fixing up the old farmhouse we bought at an auction, repairing the old termite eaten detached garage, fathering two toddlers, working through the termination of a our church pastor, and and and ….

I was just too busy and too poor to think much about doing furniture again full time, much less a very involved large commission of several matching pieces. In addition, the styling and simplicity of Craftsman furnishings just didn’t leave me a lot of room for creativity and the freedom to express myself in the wood.

So, I said, “no thank you,” and then later I said, “maybe,” and then finally later I said, “yes, I’d love to,”

In all taking more than a year to make the decision.

What finally convinced me to say, “yes,” was that the neighbor had agreed to let me modify their Craftsman concept to an English Arts & Crafts style, with added art carving, and carved letters so that each piece of furniture would be able to “speak for itself.”

I called the Collection “The Wisdom Series” and designed each piece of furniture to speak a wisdom statement in carved lettering.

They agreed to my guesses at the budgeting for the whole collection, and I started to work a little at a time in my spare time, putting aside my other hobbies. After several months of making little progress on the chairs, both the neighbor and myself started to get frustrated with how little progress I was making at the end of each month.

For several more months I played with the idea of quitting my day job to do their work exclusively. My wife’s appropriate question whenever I broached the subject was, “what will you do when you finish their work?”

I didn’t have an answer for her question, but I figured I had about 18 months of full-time work to look for more commission projects before I would be finished with their collection. Then at that time, another neighbor asked about my building them a China Hutch and Dining Set, and that seemed like another 6 months of work, so I found some health insurance and quit the day job with my wife’s approval.

Project Wood: Quartersawn White Oak
Carved Lettering: “Wisdom Is The Tree of Life” and “Acorns Become Mighty Oaks”
Carved Panels: Side Panels are White Oak Leaves and Acorns

Cushions are Leather by
The good photos are by Trey Allen, Wichita, KS

The chairs in their home enviroment.

Upholstery by:, Wichita, KS

Photo Credits:, Wichita, KS

Mark DeCou

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Want to See More of my Furniture Work?:
If you go to my Mark DeCou Website you will find that I have not updated my website in quite some time. I realize that I need to invest in improving my website, but until that is accomplished, here are some more Lumberjocks related lilnks with updated postings of my furniture work, sorted into categories. Thanks for your interest in my work, and your patience with my website.

Arts and Crafts, Mission Style Related Projects:
  1. Arts & Crafts Entry Table; with Carved Oak Leaves
  2. Arts & Crafts Orchid Stand w/ Wine Bottle Storage
  3. Arts & Crafts Style Morris Inspired Chairs
  4. Arts & Crafts Display Top Coffee Table
  5. Arts & Crafts Style Inspired End Table Set
  6. Arts & Crafts Style Inspired Prairie Couch
  7. Table Lamps
  8. Arts & Crafts Carved Entertainment Center
  9. Mission Entertainment Center
Church & Worship-Art Related Projects:
  1. Carved Communion Table
  2. Carved Roll Top Sound Equipment Cabinet
  3. Fancy Chuch Altars
  4. Processional Cross
  5. Fancy Speaker's Lectern
  6. Church Hymn Number Board
  7. Communion Chalice (Cup) and Paten
Art-Furniture Related Projects:
  1. Sam Maloof Inspired Walnut Rocker
  2. Original Art Carved Tilt Front Desk, inspired by Birger Sandzen
  3. Natural Edge; Nakashima Inspired Coffee Table
  4. Decoratively Painted Box End Tables
  5. Birch China Cabinet for Cut Glass Collection
Rustic, Western, Cedar Log, and Cowboy Related Projects:
  1. Naughty (Knotty) Refined Rustic White Oak & Black Walnut China Hutch
  2. A Kansa Indian and Buffalo Accent Art-Chair
  3. Refined Rustic Dining Chairs
  4. Refined Rustic Dining Table
  5. Cowboy-Western Style Suitcase/Luggage Support Racks
  6. Fun With Cedar Logs #1; Sitting Stool
  7. Fun With Cedar Logs #2; Coat/Hat/Spur Rack
  8. Fun With Cedar Logs #3; Western Style Hat/Coat Rack
  9. Fun With Cedar Logs #4; Entryway Stool
Outdoor Furniture Related:
  1. Kennebunkport Style Adirondack Chair
  2. Outdoor Garden Wedding Arbor
  3. Outdoor Project: Cedar Wood Double Settee

(This project story, photos, and project design are protected by copyright 2008, by the author M.A. DeCou. Permission is required before using any portion of this content. Weblinks to this page are allowed without permission. Thanks for your consideration and protection of my intellectual property.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

22 comments so far

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4926 days

#1 posted 02-11-2007 04:18 AM

Mark – I am in the middle of making two Morris chairs myself. After seeing your incredible chairs and the carvings, I now find myself rethinking how to proceed with my project! I may be trying to pick your brain a little on carving later-something I’ve always wanted to learn. These are certainly the finest Morris chairs I’ve seen, thanks for the inspiration!


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4978 days

#2 posted 02-11-2007 07:10 AM

Mark, I wrote this when I read about and looked at your award winning Roll-top Storage Cabinet.

You are in a league of your own. This is a wonderful piece. The more I see of your work and the stories that go with them, the more I realize that in your case it’s impossible to differentiate the man from his craft. God has empowered you in a wonderful way.

Exodus 35: 31 – 35 ”…and he (the Lord) has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skills, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And He has given …him the ability to teach others.”

I want to reiterate these comments here with reference to your Arts & Crafts Carved Morris Chairs. They are true works of art; something to which I may well hope to attain, but realistically never expect to achieve.

We may never meet face-to-face in time, brother, but I do look forward to sitting in one of your Morris chairs and chatting with you about woodwork. (I’m assuming that God will commission you to make a few in His Kingdom.)


-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5128 days

#3 posted 02-11-2007 07:23 AM

I’m glad somebody stumbled upon this and commented recently…. I thought I looked back though the project history when I signed up last summer… I would have remembered this chair.

A chair of this type is the centerpoint of my “list.” These are exaclty the sort of chairs I would have wanted to make, without even realizing I could do an adjustable back too!

What a way to kick off your career! Outstanding!

your carving is making me want to explore that in my own work as well. Anything beyond the woodblock prints I made in college.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5206 days

#4 posted 02-11-2007 07:23 AM

Thanks Don: I long for that chatting with you. I consider this work to be my “ministry”, as ill-equipped and unprepared for it as I am.


Thanks Schroeder. I added a bunch more photos tonight to help you with some of details that you might want to see. Let me know how to help you.


thanks Scottb: I have taken a bunch of photos showing the steps to how I do this type of carving. I just never seem to take the hours it will cost to edit them all and write up the process. It is on my “to-do” list. In the meantime, ask any questions you want.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4940 days

#5 posted 02-11-2007 01:17 PM

Mark – your work is truly magnificant. You have a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing these photos. Your carving is an excellent addition to the Arts and Crafts style. These are the most impressive Morris chairs I have ever seen.


View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4961 days

#6 posted 02-11-2007 01:38 PM


-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4957 days

#7 posted 02-11-2007 03:02 PM

Your work speaks for it self Mark. Enough said.



-- Dusty

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4926 days

#8 posted 02-11-2007 03:26 PM

Thanks Mark, the extra pics arel helping me make some decisions about my chairs. The veiws of the detail on the carvings is greatly appreciated!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5201 days

#9 posted 02-11-2007 05:31 PM

Mark: I believe that I looked at this post when you first posted it and I’m sorry that I didn’t make any comments then. But they are “beautiful man” You are truly gifted in your techniques and in your description of your work. Thanks for sharing some of your skills with us.

And I definetly will meet with you when I next get to Kansas City. It was nice talking to you on the phone a few days ago.


-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5100 days

#10 posted 02-11-2007 06:38 PM

I’ve alway said you have a bright future ahead of you, with all of your beautiful productions.
It was nice to look at these chairs again, these were posted at the time when the members weren’t making comments. I looked at them when I signed up, & never went back again. I guess it’s time that I go back , & review all the posted projects to see what I’ve missed.
That goes for all of us.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5206 days

#11 posted 02-13-2007 07:04 AM

You are all very kind, more than I deserve. I am honored to receive your comments and encouragement.

thanks to everyone,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 4697 days

#12 posted 10-23-2007 06:02 AM

Mark another LJ put me onto your work. It’s magnificent.

Now I do have a question about the Morris chair. I’ve built a chair similar to yours – not close in workmanship I’m sure——however, it still sits in my garage just shy of finished. I’m stuck on the caps on the arms. I cannot get them to look just right – as in authentic to the style of chair. I’ve got plenty of tries that look allright but not satisfactory. How did you make your caps. I’m about to just settle for the nicest pair and go with that. But I’d like your ideas if possible before I do that.

By the way, I think your carving puts the chair in a whole other league than most. You’ve really individualized/ personalized it.


-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Bill Butler's profile

Bill Butler

74 posts in 4564 days

#13 posted 03-01-2008 06:23 PM

I can only aspire to produce that kind of perfection. I doff my chapeau to you sir.

View Bud's profile


191 posts in 4739 days

#14 posted 05-25-2008 03:04 AM

Great job. I have been tempted to build a set like this for the living room.

-- Bud -

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4386 days

#15 posted 10-28-2008 09:32 PM

very well done I commend you on your workmanship kindest regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics