Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Around the House: Rush-Seat Stools

Decorating my house is a favorite pastime of mine, and I'm going to start writing about it now and then. By decorating, I don't (usually) mean shopping. I love finding new ways to use what we have and to buy strategically. After living in small apartments for years (hey California!), I am reveling in having the space to live with more things I like, to do stuff like seasonal decorating, and to mix things around to keep them fresh. Maybe in my next lifetime I'll work on that whole Zen simplicity thing, but in the meantime, I love stuff! There are lots of things in my house that give me pleasure every day. As part of Things I Love Thursdays over at Diaper Diaries, I'll be sharing some of my favorite things here at home.

Today I want to show you my rush seat stools, and to suggest that you might want to have some around. Here's how this came about: I love magazines like House Beautiful and Domino, and it's fun to try to translate their ideas to my non-gazillionaire lifestyle. In the April 2007 issue of House Beautiful there was an apartment decorated by David Netto (designer of all that drool-worthy and super expensive baby furniture). The article opened with a two-page spread--here's a piece of it.

Okay, check out the stools in front of the coffee table. You might want to embiggen the picture. I have memorized every detail of this apartment (you can see all the pictures here), but I really loved the idea of having low stools in front of a coffee table. That was the takeaway for me. It just seemed fresh and kid friendly. I didn't recognize the stools and they weren't sourced in the article, but by looking around online, I realized they are by Hans Wegner, the Danish midcentury designer, and they can be yours for $469 each at Room and Board. Yes, they are $469 each. Beautiful, and so sturdy you could park a Volvo on them, but ouch.

So I set about finding a cheaper version. To me the key design features of these were the proportions--they need to be about the same height or a little lower than a coffee table, which is about 15 inches high usually, and the rush seat. Actually, the Wegner stools are papercord, but it's the fiber look that's important. I didn't have much luck. Months went by. Then I found Plow and Hearth, the online/catalog company. Now I would not usually think of them, because they seem to sell a lot of things adorned with chickens, but they had a collection of rush stools.

Alright, now to the modern-loving eye, these are a tad more traditional than the Wegner version. They have turned legs, for one thing. But I like the little stool and the bench. And the small footstool, the one shown in black, is $69. STILL seems high if you love to thrift-shop like I do, but I took a chance on a couple and they are worth it. I love having flexible, portable kid seating, and they add a little interest to the room. Here's my sunroom (this was taken last year when Hank was a tinier tot):

So, this room ain't Netto, but it sure was affordable. And I love how the darker wood wound up working with my painted furniture, though trying some of those other paint colors could be fun. The wood kind of grounds all the paler colors, and the stools made the room seem a little more "finished." Both Hank and Laura find these stools to be a great size for working at the coffee table, or moving around to different places. They don't take up much floor space--I recommend them if you want a little shot of something new.

So thanks for reading along. And if anyone knows where I can get a cheaper version of that vintage French midcentury desk in the Netto apartment, let me know right away. Because it is gorgeous. Or, I know, it's probably at Ikea.

Oh, and the whole time I was putting this post together, I could not stop thinking of the "Stool Boom" song from Waiting for Guffman. So I'll just leave you with:

"You will drool at the splendor of these magic stools.
It's the rule, everyone has a stool.
Just three legs, it's the thing for which a monarch begs.
Hock your jewels, use the money for stools!”


thediaperdiaries said...

HAAAA!! I love Waiting For Guffman. I can picture them handing those stools off right now :)

I am loving this idea. Might have to get some for the family room.

Meredith@WrittenByHerself said...

Cute idea! (And yay for not paying $469/each!!)

Brooke said...

very cool! both the look and the $800 savings! :)

unfortunately, my new couch has recliners so i'm not even sure how to work in a coffee table

Maria said...

Love it! I may have to go check those out!

Anonymous said...

So cute!

Becky said...

Thanks, ladies! I know, $469. I only wish. . .

Carrie said...

What is this "free time" of which you speak?

Amy said...

"Stoool booom! From the parlor to the poool rooom!" :)

Becky said...

Dang it Amy! Now you've got me going again. "A chair's for fools! They want stools they want stools!"

David said...

"working... making... some for selling... some... for... keeping."

of course, i'm doing the robot very, very slowly right now.