Thursday, July 2, 2009
As I mentioned yesterday, Optimum Optimorum is a Latin phrase meaning "the best of the best" and I thought that, while I was away on vacation, I'd bring you some tightly edited selections of the best of the best in home decor. Today, we'll kick things off with dining room chairs.
My obsession with finding "the perfect" dining chairs for my new house continues unabated and I've spent entirely too much time scouring the web for my favorites. In this roundup, I've tried to highlight an array of styles, from traditional and transitional to mid century modern and just plain modern. And, while some of these are certainly more aspirational than attainable, I've also highlighted several moderately priced options for the budget-conscious (i.e., 98% of us). If you find yourself in lust with a more expensive chair, you can always just purchase a statement-making pair for the ends of your table -- or use one or two as desk chairs or extra seating in the living room. After all, there's almost always room for just one or two more chairs.
From top left:
1. Beau Hall Chair from Baker Studio: Baker Studio is a more contemporary and casual line of furnishings from the big name furniture maker. I love this chair for its modern and sleek interpretation of classic Chinoiserie. This chair would play well with a more traditional space, adding a great jolt of color and sleekness. I see a pair of these on either side of an amazing Chinoiserie-style buffet or console table in an entryway or dining room. This chair is also available in a mid tone wood and black lacquer, but I love the red lacquer (shown here) best.
2. Spindle Chair from CB2 ($79.99): Classic shaker-style chairs will never go out of style and I love this interpretation from CB2 both for its price and for its sleek white finish. These would add a great dose of traditional style in a modern kitchen. Since they're made of solid rubberwood, these are also a sturdy, eco-friendly option.
3. Chippendale Chair from Jonathan Adler ($550 as shown): Of course, Jonathan Adler wasn't the first to invent the Chippendale chair (that'd be Thomas Chippendale), but I love Adler's interpretation of the classic design in lime green. Since there are plenty of lookalike options that can be found at your local antique store or eBay, I'd do some serious digging to find a less expensive set, which can always be repainted to the color of your choice. I just ran a search for "faux bamboo chairs" in eBay and came up with several amazing options for way less money. Of course, going the vintage route may mean you won't be able to find a complete set (rarely can you get more than 2 or 4 of any given chair at once), but you can always mix several styles together and then have them all painted and upholstered to match/coordinate.
4. Alexandra Side Chair from Hickory Chair ($840): I'm a sucker for a quatrefoil and I love how this chair is at once graphic and feminine. The detail work in this piece is also amazing -- note the quatrefoil detailing on the front of the chair legs. As with all products from Hickory Chair, this chair is completely customizable, from the fabric to the finish. You can even select contrasting welts or different fabrics for the seat and back. If I had the luxury of my own dressing room/vanity area, I'd put at least one of these in there upholstered in raw silk. Since I don't though, I think a pair of these upholstered in a navy velvet would be the perfect accent chairs for a small sitting area in my new bedroom.
5. Overlapping Squares Side Chair from West Elm ($169 or $329 for two): The overlapping squares chairs are instantly recognizable and wildly popular -- and rightly so, in my opinion. A modern take on Asian design, these West Elm chairs are rapidly becoming a modern -- and affordable -- classic. Each season West Elm puts out the chocolate and white versions as well as seasonal colors (like cinnabar or green). To keep your dining room from looking like a West Elm showroom though, I'd add some custom seat cushions in a fun pattern and would avoid pairing these with a West Elm table.
6. Juliana Armchair from DWR ($650): To be honest, I think MCM is getting a bit overplayed at the moment, so, despite my love of Saarinen's tulip chair, I've intentionally stayed away from several MCM classics in this list. However, I have to make an exception for this chair. Its simplicity belies its brilliant design and I love how fluidly the legs become the back which becomes the arms (which flow back into the legs). Simply stunning. I'd like to see these paired with a smoke glass-topped table, like this one from Williams-Sonoma Home.
7. Napoleon Side Chair from Pottery Barn ($199): Like the Overlapping-Squares chair from West Elm, this chair from Pottery Barn is ubiquitous, but its range of finish options and solid construction make it a good choice for those who are looking for transitional style at a reasonable price. To keep things interesting, I'd upholster the seat cushion in a fun fabric (like the zebra-print shown in the chair above). If you're looking for a more traditional chair-style, Pottery Barn's take on the classic Queen Anne ($249) is also a good choice.
8. Folio Chair from Crate&Barrel ($249): Crate&Barrel's folio chair is a riff on modern Italian design, but at a far more affordable price point. I've sat in these on multiple occasions and I can vouch for their comfort. C&B has also done a great job in offering the style in a range of color choices. Right now, I'm all for the cool gray.
9. Ava's Chair from Calico Corners ($799 plus cost of fabric): Last, but certainly not least, is Ava's Chair from Calico Corners. Since I included it in my wish list mood board for my new dining room a few weeks ago, y'all know already how much I love this one. Sure it's insanely expensive, but it's sure statement maker. And, with 25 wood finishes to choose from and hundreds (if not thousands) of fabric options, it's sure to fit in with any decor.
Don't forget that the competition to win one of my favorite three design books is currently going on. To enter, simply leave a comment to this post filling us in on your favorite dining chair(s). For more information on prizes and rules, click on over HERE.