Thursday, July 2, 2009

Optimum Optimorum 1: Dining Chairs

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.

28 comments:

Patch said...

I love chair #5, but I am also a HUGE fan of dinner tables with comfy benches instead of chairs.
Hope you are eating fish and chips right now! :-D

Cyma said...

I like the last one. Your blog is lovely :)

Christy said...

Though I love the chippendale chair from jonathan adler (and I'd have them painted a bright blue with a blue and white cushion) I'd have to say that my favorite is the last one which you showcased on your mood board. I LOVE that chair!

Liz said...

As always, your picks are fab!! My faves are the quatrefoil chair and, like Christy, the Calico Corners "Ava" chair - how unique and gorgeous! The back actually reminds me of ram's horns, but I love it!

Style Redux 2 said...

Averill-I adore the Alexandra Side Chair-a stunning chair.

Style Redux 2 said...

Averill-I'm commenting twice because the Baker Beau Hall Chair is such a wonderful modern Chinoiserie piece.

Maple said...

I love the last one- Ava's chair. I'm also really liking this set at Horchow: http://www.horchow.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=cprod56950003&parentId=cat000004&masterId=cat8060731&index=1&cmCat=cat000000cat000001cat8060731cat000004

pk @ room remix said...

Since I REALLY wanted the Ava chair when I was designing my own home, I would have to say that's my fav. Wouldn't it be funin the lime green of the Chippendale chair?

Hope your vaca is going fabulously!

Jan Jessup said...

Dear Averill,
It's been fun to watch the evolution of your decorating projects. As a Calico Corners devotee, I love the Ava chair--but also wanted to suggest that you consider the Anthony chair (like Ava, but with arms). Chair with arms are so much more comfortable, especially if you're going to sit in them a lot for dining, reading the Sunday paper, etcetera. Here's a link to the Anthony's chair:
http://www.calicocorners.com/product/custom+upholstered+furniture/custom+upholstered+chairs+and+chaises/dining+and+wood+frame+chairs/anthony%27s+chair.do?search=basic&keyword=anthony&sortby=priceAscend&page=1
They're not that much more expensive--and when you consider the number of years you're likely to have them and the amount of time you'll spend in them, good chairs are worth the investment.
Best,
Jan

Casey said...

De-lurking to say hello and to tell you that #4 is my favorite chair!

Things That Inspire said...

My favorite chair is the Alexandra chair, but I don't really see it in a dining room; I agree that it would be lovely in a bedroom, or in an entry.

I think the best approach for dining rooms is to buy once, and buy the best you can, but keep it very classic. This way, you will have the chairs your whole life.

Take a peek at the Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair collection; there are some lovely choices there, including a cool chair called the "london Chair' (very appropriate given your trip). I also love the Gibbons chair, made by Dessin Fournir - http://www.dessinfournir.com/View/kj1001-s.jpg

Finally, Dennis and Leen has some incredibly beautiful chairs, but (like Dessin Fournir), they are to the trade only.

Things That Inspire said...

I have one more option - if I were to do a new dining room, and wanted it more streamlined, this is what I would select: the ribbon chair, by David Edwards. It was used in the Chesapeake Bay house that was on the cover of a recent Traditional Home (I featured this house in my breakfast room post):
http://www.davidedward.com/products/pullups/ribbon.html

Kellie ~ Ada and Darcy said...

I have a big soft spot for Jonathan Adler!! xxx Gorgeous post.

Casie Rachele said...

I am loving the Alexandra Side Chair you pictured above, but I also really love the Lou Lou Ghost Chairs. They come in so many colors. :)

http://www.conranusa.com/ProductDetails.aspx?pid=9061563&cid=FurnitureChildren&language=en-US

Rev Kim said...

Since I'm a traditional kinda gal who likes an ever so tiny country look, the spindle chair is my favorite - for a kitchen nook, of course, not a formal dining room.

melinda said...

I'm replacing mistake DR chairs soon, luckiy we have a second home that has become my mistake dumping ground. I'm replacing chairs from bernhardt, now discontinued but look sorta like these: http://www.wandrlust.com/savoy_dining_chair_5517_prd1.htm

only much taller, more hourglass-ish in the middle, that were covered in COM beacon hill cream/tan cheeta patterned damask. Love them, just way off scale, too much chair for our demure urban townhouse. I have a 55" round and all 6 wont even fit around it. I call it my platoon of tall soldiers standing at attention. Our second home has plenty of room, they'll fit fine and are much needed to replace some super UGG ones that belonged to my husband's ex-wife! hhhrmmmp. So the new ones should be a much better fit http:

//www.cbellfurnishing.com/palm-beach-collection/palm-beach-collection-seating/1329170

Haven't decided on fabric yet, but something neutral with great texture. The ovals will mimic an oval gilt mirror in that room and a ceiling fixture over a nearby kitchen island. These 2 chairs may not indicate, but I am very much a budget minded, obsessive deal finder in this long quest to furnish our house. But i do splurge every now and then on key pieces, the kind that should last a decade or so. And then I make up for it with lots and lots of very cheap finds. I have a chair in my home office in that catagory. Don't hate me but it's a Dorothy Draper ORIGINAL, my proudest bargain find. That the AVA chair from calico is an obvious copy of it. Mine is bright white, and came from a liquidation sale at the Greenbrier Resort in WV that she famously redecorated in the 40's. I got it for under $100. (there are exact repos of it being done now for $2,400....plus fabric). And the existing fabric on it matched my office perfectly, and still in great shape thanks to being laminated for hotel dining use. I thought the laminate would drive me astheticly crazy, but I've warmed up to it for it's indestructiblility. Something to be said for being able to wet wipe down your fabric. I have lots of great bargains like that through the house, a deco bar cabinet from ebay, my husband's mother's old sofa from the 50's, recovered in yummy cream mohair from silk trading (again, the fabric splurge balanced by a free sofa), and many many pieces that i stalked for a year or more waiting for them to go to half price. The key is patience I think. We will have been in this (was) new construction blank wall home for 5 years this August, and I still have no barstools or living room lamps, and I'm almost ready to paint! Happy 4th ~ Love love the blog!

Cristin said...

I love Adler's Chippendale Chair.

Happy 4th!

xo,
c

Laura said...

I love the Ingolf chairs from Ikea for something cheap yet classy--especially the white ones with a dark wood table.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30125923

Kara said...

it's really hard to choose. you really have to sit in them to know. you def. want to pick a really comfy chair but it should also be gorgeous.

Hope you are having an amazing time!!!

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

The Ava chair is really special, but I think my fave might still be the Xi Li Chair by House Eclectic {swoon}.

Sanity Fair said...

2 words: Jonathan Adler. Love that chair!

jane said...

I liked it, you can find more Dining Room Furniture Set from Casamodern.

windhula said...

My favorite chair is the Overlapping Squares chair from West Elm. I've always admired the overlapping squares pattern. In fact, I attempted to replicate the design with tape and paint in my den. When I pulled up the tape disaster struck. I was so mad I gave up and wallpapered over the whole thing.

Lisa said...

I think the Alexandra chair is the most beautiful with the quatrefoil but I am also a huge fan of the Jonathan Adler Chippendale chair....I would love to have one as my desk chair.

maureen said...

the chippendale chair from JA is my favorite. again, because of the color.love their yellow ones, too!

Kilgore's said...

Oh how I love the Ava chair! Perfectly perfect.

dining room chair slipcovers said...

I have been checking out a few of your article stories and I must say pretty clever stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog. Thank you very much.

furniture removals said...

Intriguing stuff you write about. Thinking of publishing any new feeds to your blog ?

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails