Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Windsor Chair

Interior by Tom Sheerer

I admit I have a thing for chairs, especially timeless classics whether it be a classic modern or classic traditional, I have a list of personal favorites that includes both and regret that I can’t somehow own all of them (but I'm working on it!).   I’ve always loved the lines of a windsor chair because the spindles and the graceful arc have such a graphic quality to them and they evoke a nostalgic sense of hand made craftsmanship.   I love how their elegant lines compliment both traditional and contemporary spaces.

Modern Country model home by Toronto designer Yanic Simard

In case you haven’t noticed, windsor chairs are HOT right now - I’m seeing them everywhere.  I would never categorize a windsor chair as trendy but like many classics from the past, they are definitely expieriencing a renewed appreciation from a new generation.  I first took notice about two years ago when i was recommending some for a clients kitchen and noticed their popularity seems to have grown since then.   Its hard to pick up a shelter mag lately without seeing them in a feature story or advertisement.  Last week while I was out sourcing chairs for a client I spotted them again and again, in even the most modern of furniture showrooms.  

P.E.I. Beach Home of Canadian Pamela Kline as featured in Country Living

Windsor Chair in distressed Black from the showroom of Sharon O'Dowd.

I'm partial to these chairs in high contrast black because it emphasizes those great graphic lines (like in the photos above), especially in white spaces,  but for clients I’ve often recommended them in a fresh colourful hue which makes them look like striking pieces of art.  

Red Canadian Maple windsor Chair from Toronto shop Commute Home

Tourquoise windsor chairs photographed by Karl Juengel via Brabourne Farm

A 1948 modern version, George Nakashima's straight back chair as seen at Toronto's Design Within Reach showroom. $700.

The Salt chair available at Design Within Reach.  $120

Crate & Barrel's Ingram Side Chair emulates the classic bird cage back windsor chair.  $250.

Martha Stewart's Everday windsor chair for Kmart was flat packed and sold ready to assemble for a mear $49.  For that price I wouldn't be able to help myself from taking a paint brush to them and going crazy,,,a beautiful chartreuse green perhaps....
The complete family of windsor seating also includes stools, with and without backs.  Windsor bar stool by Toronto's Windsor Workshop.

The famously beautiful kitchen of Nancy Meyers (Somethings Gotta Give) by designer James Radin as seen in House Beautiful.  He describes the windsor barstools as being "like a punctuation mark in the room".

24" Windsor bar stool by Toronto's Windsor Workshop.

Rod Back windsor chair in black by Toronto's Windsor Workshop.

Large comb back windsor arm chair by Toronto's Windsor Workshop.

An elegant large comb back windsor chair seen in this Sunroom by designer Michael Smith for a Millbook New York Farmhouse as seen in Elle Decor, photo via Cote De Texas.
Windsor Settee by Toronto's Windsor Workshop.

I think a perfect way to add some graphic interest or that "punctuation mark' to a hallway or foyer is to use the graceful windsor settee.  Unfortunately I was unable to find a photo of a windsor settee in this setting,,,,,so you'll have to tap into my designer vision with me here.......If I was to furnish a hallway or foyer with one of these beauties, I could easily envision them in hallways that looked like these....

Stone hallway of a model home toured by Cote De Texas.  How perfectly striking would a black windsor settee look in this gorgeous white and stone hallway.

How about a windsor settee painted fresh spring green or crisp white in this modern traditional home.

As beautiful as this rustic bench looks in this foyer, I can't help but think how perfect the curved back of a windsor settee would echo the rounded top of the panel door.

It would be easy to picture a black or white windsor settee in this modern panelled entrance hallway but with this neutral grey panelleling a windsor settee in any colour your heart desires would be a graphic pop of unexpected colour.