Need help with 350lb guest that loves sitting on delicate furnishings.
July 7, 2014 in Design Dilemma
We have a beach house with gorgeous views and the delicate antique wicker and dining chairs collected by my lovely mother-in-law. There's also a antique settee. These were built for a max of I'm guessing 200lbs. Our guest for the whole summer weighs at least 350lbs and is a family member that refers to himself as "not very light". I have tried putting things on the chairs leaving him a solid wood stool. He moves the articles and squeezes into the wicker. I have googled how to address this and found blogs by large people who talk about their feelings (I appreciate that this discussion could hurt his feelings) and how I should be responsible for replacing the toilet seat he breaks (we replace the mattress every year) and as host, I should provide an appropriate chair for him to relax, sunning and dining. I confess I have not spoken directly to the guest because I am afraid to say the wrong thing to my husband's relative, and, I am not so liberal as to think we should be further obligated. He contributes nothing during his stay and my husband hates confrontation. Any suggestions? What can I mix with these antiques? Unfortunately, we are probably not the only ones with this dilemma. Thanks!
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put the antique chairs away before your guest arrives. and, better yet, tell him he must limit his stay to say, one week? or whatever you like. set the rules WITH the guest BEFORE he arrives. after all, it's your house. why should you be the one to walk on eggshells.
1 Like   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 6:18AM
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Yes put those chairs away , buy some inexpensive but sturdy and comfortable chairs for the guest to use- its your house your rules.
   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 6:22AM
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Well, that was what I was thinking but ... It is a family tradition that he stays for 2 months and he has already arrived. As for being my house, it has been in my husband's family for 100 years and I am the interloper in this case. This is such a challenge. I saw an iron park bench with wood slats that was shortened to fit a large person. I was thinking I might do a cushion that coordinates with the rest of the room. What say you?
1 Like   July 7, 2014 at 6:28AM
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Your solution is to buy new dining chairs. You regularly have this guest, you don't want him to use the chair your MIL has generously provided and you feel responsible to protect. The space is not provisioned for its use.

Oh - I just read interloper. Do nothing. It is not your space. Not your problem to solve. If MIL and husband do not mind, you should not.
1 Like   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 6:32AM
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Would you leave delicate, breakable things out if you had a hyperactive uncontrollable child coming for the summer?
Put them away! As suggested above, buy a large comfortable substitute. Hubby and yourself will rest better, without guilt. It would be best to speak to this guest BEFORE he arrives on the phone. It is better to clear the air before so you can do it on the phone and without being face to face. Let him know there is a cut off visitation date earlier than the end of the summer or in the middle of the visitation. Perhaps give him a list of things he can contribute to the visit? Don't let these issues fester any longer or else you all will be miserable all summer.
1 Like   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 6:38AM
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Did you really just post that on this form? Common sense goes a long way here. Do I leave my good china on the coffee table with a house full of toddlers? How about you treat your guest as a guest and provide him a comfortable, relaxing chair. Would you like to sit on hard stool for hours? Here is another tip kindness goes along way and if you stop going on about this man's weight and his impact on your beach house and sit down and have a nice conversation with him he may actually have something to contribute such as friendship. If you can't get past all this do him a big favour and end the visits.
3 Likes   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 6:40AM
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There are websites that sell furniture (chairs etc) made for the larger man. You could take a look and I'm sure he'd appreciated not having to squeeze into the antiques. Casual Male XL is one website that sells furniture.
   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 6:45AM
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Who wants delicate furniture? Anywhere.
2 Likes   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 6:48AM
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I wouldn't want to sit on a solid wood stool for very long; would you? Buy suitable chairs for the main seating areas and gently suggest to your other guests that these are reserved for Mr. Large.

   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 7:01AM
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Rhonda Bovine
Yep, this is a tough one and grrrrr, I too, have dining chairs that are very old/valuable, so I know your dilemma. Buy a large, comfy second hand chair that will accomodate him and let him know it's just for him as you want him to be comfortable. Chances are, he won't be offended and will be glad you thought of him.
2 Likes   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 7:13AM
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Wow! I pity you!

My first thought is what if one of these chairs break under his girth, he's injuried in the fall and sues you?? What then? He may be a relative of your husband's but don't delude yourself into thinking something like that couldn't happen. In our litigious society YOU'LL be blamed for his injuries as well as any embarrassment and humiliation he experiences so put the chairs away for your own sake! And if he does break a chair and is on the floor, do you honestly think you and your husband can get him up? Don't count on it! My husband is a firefighter, and I can't tell you the number of calls they have with the super morbidly obese who they have to call for an extra engine company so they have enough people to move the person.

My second thought was whose house is it anyway? Do your in-laws still own it, and you're just spending the summer there, or has it been passed down to your husband, and it's now YOUR house? If it's the later, it's time to set some boundries with this relative, and let him know you can't continue to host him at your expense for 2 months each year. Unless he's destitute, he should understand. And if he doesn't, well, you've got bigger problems than a chair.

As far as being an interloper, you aren't. You married into that family making you a legal part of it so you should have some say in what goes on in your home just as if you bought it yesterday and the mortgage had your name on it.
   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 7:17AM
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Sell the antique wicker, and go industrial with your style. Get steel furniture with wood and cushions.
I think your other option is to run your house like a spa, offering only steamed vegetables and chicken, egg white omelettes, no bread, rice or potatoes. This could solve your problem, too.
1 Like   July 7, 2014 at 7:19AM
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HI -- Sounds like this should actually be your husbands concern . It is commendable of your care and thought for your in laws past possessions, but they are yours now . Also reading into this I get the feeling you may not care for this person very much and spending and intruding in on your whole summer . There is a very short space between guest and moocher ! It's too late now but maybe for next year you could let this person know that your plans have changed and if he could just do a short visit , that would be better . But this should be your husbands job I think . Other wise ,we solved a similar problem by swapping out the precious furniture for some don't care for second hand furniture for that person's visit . Maybe get a more comfortable chair and tell him it is his own special chair because you want him to have a place to relax and enjoy . I cannot see how the wicker chairs can be very comfy for a larger person . But you and your husband should have a talk with him and tell him your concerns with out making his size the main issue . His reactions might not be that bad . And if he gets put out about it , then problem solved and he either shortens his visit or doesn't come back at all . Then problem solved .
   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 7:23AM
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Yikes! You've got two months to get him out for long brisk walks, cook only healthy fresh food and rid the house of snacks and junk food. Maybe he'll lose a few pounds and think of his summer visit as "fat camp" and either embrace a new healthier lifestyle, or preferably, not stay so darn long.
   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 7:25AM
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Ahh, you have answered your own question within your question. Your husband's relative stays at your in-law's beach house annually and your husband is non confrontational. The family has decided not to provide sturdy alternatives to antique furniture and replace mattresses and toilet seats as needed. Please grab a fruity drink, a great book, and a carefree attitude and proceed directly to a cozy chair to enjoy the incredible view!! When situations are out of your sphere of influence, you just accept it.
4 Likes   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 7:25AM
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Also, when the wicker collapses, as it probably will, you'll be able to update the look.
1 Like   Thanked by bsecco    July 7, 2014 at 7:46AM
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