Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Inspiration: Bar Stools--The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Picking bar stools as the subject for Tuesday's Inspiration is kind of a joke, since I have found very few bar stools that are stylish or inspirational. This cane bar stool from Ballard Design though is an exception to the rule. It is not only stylish, but the seat can be easily reupholstered in your own fabric, giving it a custom look.

Ballard also has this bar stool, which can also be customized.

Buckingham Interiors
Here it is customized in a fun turquoise fabric. I'm loving this chair! The nail heads and the COM option make this chair a winner. With one exception: I am not a fan of the swivel!

It just seems to me that bar stools should be like regular chairs that don't turn! I love these leather chairs, but I suspect they swivel!

The swivel bar stool reminds me of this chair growing up! We had something very similar, and my brother and I were always spinning around and hitting the counter.

I think the swivel idea is a carry over from vintage mid-century design, when bar stools were relegated to the basement or family room bar. Let's take a look at some bar stools from the past.

A pair of bar stools from the 40's. Not bad, not bad...

Ah, there is nothing like avocado green naugahyde!

Can someone say "Meet George Jetson?"

At least these classics from the 50's don't swivel!

And my personal favorite....!
Have you had enough?

Restoration Hardware
Let's take a look at my favorite picks from a few retail sources.
This retro chair from Restoration Hardware has a fabulous industrial chic look.
Can't you see it in a NYC loft?

A classic metal stool, reminiscent of a science lab. For some reason, I don't mind that these swivel!

Another classic, this metal industrial stool is from Pottery Barn.

Southern Accents
Industrial style stools looking great in a traditional kitchen.

I prefer a traditional bar stool though, like this caned back stool from Restoration Hardware.

Or this classic, traditional chair, also from Restoration Hardware.

Restoration Hardware
This chair is very popular right now.

This French style chair from Pottery Barn has been around a while.

Country Living
I like how it can be gussied up with a simple, pleated slipcover.

Southern Living
Another slipcover option, these chairs are adorable!

Southern Living
Really fancy slipcovered bar stools. Maybe a little too much for my taste...

House Beautiful
Loveseat bar stools? I'm not so sure...

I saw this plaid upholstered chair at ABC Carpet and Home in NYC recently.
What a beauty!

Then, there was this unique stool that I saw in Santa Fe. I like how it is simple, yet stylish with the barley twist legs. The upholstery webbing is a great idea, and one that can be copied easily.

Restoration Hardware
Sometimes, the simpler, the better.
A simple stool, upholstered in burlap. Perfect for a natural, rustic look.

Noir Furniture
Simone from Antique Style sent me a link for this chair, which is similar to the black version I almost bought at Big Daddy's Antiques. Love the burlap seat!

Another natural approach: kubu wicker from Restoration Hardware.

Pottery Barn has this wicker option.

Or these seagrass stools, which I love.
They remind me of our bar stools in Asti.

We found them at the Alameda Antiques Faire, from Big Daddy! They are a thin woven kubu wicker and they replaced the green stools that came with the house.

There is nothing wrong with these chairs, but I love the wicker ones better for that rustic look that goes well in the wine country.

I think bar stool design has come a long way since I was a kid, and even a long way in the last ten years. Companies like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Wisteria and Ballard Designs are paying attention to customer demands.
It is about time!

Stay tuned this week for a special giveaway, an exciting announcement and a reveal...

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Anonymous said...

your new stools look great, they have really fit your kitchen much better!

La Dolfina said...

I love all the options from Restoration Hardware best and you didn't even show my favorite one, the classic pickled bistro chair with the cross back which is also offered for bar height.
I have to say I am so envious that you have the perfect spot for that fabulous huge pendant light from there. It looks amazing in your kitchen. There are not a lot of spaces that can accommodate it!
Love your kooboo bar stools too, can't believe you found them at The Pointe!

A Toile Tale said...

Delores --
Funny you should pick this subject for today's post. I am searching for the perfect barstools for a design client right now. We have a very small counter that will only accomodate two stools, and they should be no larger than 16" across. No back. Black paint or iron. I can't find them!!! Many of the smaller stools flare out at the bottom and that makes them unusable for us. This client wants nothing "country" by which he means a lot of things. No oak!
Does anyone have any advise?
Linda @ A Toile Tale

Antique Style said...

Barstools are something that we all struggle with, so I'm delighted to see your article.

I was a Big Daddy Antiques in SF a few months ago, and fell in love with these stools:


BDA chairs were sold, so I was delighted to find them on the internet. I thought you'd enjoy seeing them. They have elements that I love right now--nailhead, rich legs, burlap.

Great post!

carolyn bradford said...

Glad to know someone else is re-searching bar stools as well! This was great and very helpful! I'm always afraid they are going to make my kitchen feel "cluttered" when you are seeing the backs of the barstools along with your kitchen chairs! I think I'm opting for the backless version of something! We are also in the process of choosing which barstools to carry in our shop that will blend well with our antique tables, etc... Thanks for the post!
Carolyn Bradford

quintessence said...

Wow - quite the assortment!! I had. Been eyeing the Ballard one as well. Love your new kooboo ones!

Gerry said...

I have to be honest.... I have ugly swivel bar stools! What was I thinking?!?!? Now I have inspiration to correct the err of my ways....:) Thanks.

24 Corners said...

Love the new barstools, they look perfect in your amazing kitchen...that island is beautiful!!
We're still searching for the right ones ourselves...we have a mishmash now while we wait for the right one to click...I'm now thinking the olive green vinyl swivels might just be the ticket! ;)
Thanks for inspiration...
xo J~

Kathysue said...

Hi D!! You are so right there have not been very many good resources until recently for barstools. I know I had a bear of a time finding mine. I was just thinking the other day I might spruce mine up a bit. You have given me some great inspiration!! Can't wait for the BIG announcement!!!xo Kathysue

The enchanted home said...

Great post and so timely since I have just started looking...your kitchen is totally gorgeous and looks amazing with both! I love all your choices but am partial to those by Restoration Hardware, timeless and very elegant. Thanks for this great post!

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

I am so NOT into anything MODERN.!!! I love the wicker and seagrass ones, THAT is for me!!! Great post!

gertie @ The Old Block House said...

I am rolling with laughter here. The really ugly stool......ya know, the ugliest of the ugly, my grandmother had a chair in that same fabric. It was unbelievably ugly, but oh so comfy for watching tv in.

Mary Ann Pickett said...

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE BEST BAR STOOL POST I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! (ok a little dramatic, but true.) I am in our mountain condo and we have your basic espresso leather bar stools...and based on the Southern Living ikat stools...I think I will just slipcover the backs (leaving the leather seats) in some fun fabric. I am excited! I am bookmarking this post.
Mary Ann

Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Delores!
I love the Restoration hardware choices, the Pottery Barn ones, the country living ones and that cane back one the first one, I really am charmed by the Jute woven one with the oak barley twisted legs one, yet I might bring the dark oak up to date by aging them and painting them gray!

I am kind of happy I don't need to hunt down bar stools right now! they are the hardest choice to make for a counter space making sure you love them!

This was a great post, just when you thought a bar stool was going extinct, you create a long list of choices :)


Burlap Luxe said...

Delores I forgot to mention...
that pendant light is the best! It add major villa-ness to your space, and I tooo! love the wicker stools with the look and feel of your room, its all so amazingly beautiful! a room to love!

Le Potager said...

Wow. . .what a lot of research you did! I love it! And I really love your new bar stools; they are perfect for your look.

Beachwalk83 said...

Favorite was the first one--cane bar stools-Ballard design. But my second fav was the last one--the green
and cane seat ones. I suspect the last was cheaper than the first :)

Anonymous said...

First, let me thank you for finally giving me some information about the, for me, infamous "slabs". I've coveted them for years, and could never find them on ebay or 1st dibs. Thanks to you, now I can! And hopefully, the freebie will be the start to my new collection!

Anonymous said...

I love the new bar stools!!!

Unknown said...

I love your selection, it’s really great! So many wonderful bar stool options! Thanks for this great post!! My favorite is caned back stool from Restoration Hardware.
counter and bar stools

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