Slipper Chair Marathon 2

Avington slipper chair upholstered in leaf-and-branch pattern – Target via AtticmagModern & vintage variations on the ideal accent chair for any room. Part 2 – Neutral legs, long and short.

When I evaluate any chair I focus first on the legs. That’s the way I was taught to approach antiques, where furniture legs and feet are helpful in determining style. So when it came to organizing the 26 pieces in my slipper chair marathon, the legs became a more important distinguishing feature than silhouette or even height. Chairs in Part I of the marathon had turned legs; some with casters to enhance portability. This second, more contemporary group has somewhat neutral legs – square or round – which  are smooth and of various heights. And  all have tight upholstery — no pillows. With simpler legs and nothing to disguise the lines, the shape of the back and the choice of fabric color and pattern have greater impact. Additionally, the depth of the seat deck in relation to the legs can affect the visual weight. Even without arms, a chunky chair can look heavy and lower than it might be by measurement.

Like paint, the fabric pattern and color make a dramatic difference in a chair’s personality. One of my favorite ways to see that is to browse Target’s website. There, the same budget-wise Avington slipper chair [top], which has tapered legs and lovely proportions, is shown in more than 20 different fabrics. Among the most attractive is the cotton leaf and-branch pattern in pewter, copper and gold, which leans to mid-20th century but would be a transitional choice, too. There is Dacron and foam fill and the chair requires assembly. Target. $170. Dimensions for reference: 24” w. x 30” d. x 32” h. Seat height: 18.5”.


Dover armless chair in mimosa yellow square – Angelo Home Store via AtticmagWith shorter tapered legs, and a back that’s higher to balance a thick seat deck, the Dover armless chair looks heavier and shorter than the Avington. Weighing in at 33 pounds (to the Avington’s 21 pounds) the visual weight is actual and the back is 3-inches taller. But the rest is an illusion helped by the windowpane check of the vivid mimosa yellow fabric. The seat height is only ½-inch higher than Avington’s. These two have chameleon qualities that allow them to be used in so many rooms. I could see the Dover in a country French setting (especially with this fabric) or as a statement piece in a mimimalist library. Angelo Home Store. $330. Dimensions for reference: 23” w. x 29-1/2” d x 35” h. Seat height: 19”.


Harlow tufted scoop-back slipper chair – Windsor Smith via AtticmagIf L.A. designer Windsor Smith’s Harlow chair is named after one of Hollywood’s most luscious blondes, it’s an apt match. Curved sabre legs add to the light scale and graceful appearance with a tufted back curved for comfort. Despite the corset silhouette, the straight top and squared-off shoulders prevent it from looking overly boudoir. Yes, it would be perfection in a bedroom. But it would be killer in a dining room, where repetition would showcase the sexy shape of the back. Windsor Smith Home Collection. $1550. Dimensions for reference: 30″ w. x 24″ d. x 36″ h. Seat Height: 18″

Little slipper chair in hot pink and white zig zag – Land of Nod via AtticmagHow adorable is the Little Slipper Chair, a toddler-size confection covered in hot-pink zig zag cotton (100%)? Barely two-feet tall it’s a dreamy addition to a nursery or kid’s room and can live on as a perch for dollies or stuffed animals. Stubby round hardwood legs are slanted for stability and welting gives the mini chair a neat finish. Think pink! Land of Nod. $300. Dimensions for reference: 19″ w. 21″d. x 22.5″ h. Seat Height: N/A.

Custom slipper chair with Designer’s Guild fabric – Jane Hall Design via AtticmagA funky slipper,  shown by Toronto designer Jane Hall, features legs reduced to short bracket feet in front. In back, they disappear into the hot colored stripes of Designer’s Guild fabric. I’d call this a one bottom-heavy  and, while it’s a custom piece, it looks like vintage ca. 1978. Custommade. $1500-$1800. Dimensions for reference: N/A. Seat height: N/A.

Pair 1940s vintage fan-back slipper chairs in original fabric – Cain Modern via AtticmagFan back slipper chairs are a love-it-or hate it proposition. This pair, dated 1940s, are distinctly bedroom furniture at a time when slanted, channel-tufted furniture had its heyday. I still see them occasionally in old films. Authentically low, with conical ebonized legs, they are offered “as is.” With original fabric, these twins are ripe for redo. Now picture this on an episode of Million Dollar Decorator: Martin Lawrence Bullard purchases them, has them reupholstered in leather, and puts them in a client’s front hall. Cain Modern at First Dibs.  $2850. Dimensions for reference: N/A. Seat height: low.

Click on a chair or a link to read Part 1, Part 3 or Part 4:
The Cushion Chair, bespoke slipper chair with pillows – Soane Britain via Atticmag Caned rattan slipper chair with loose upholstered cushion - Wisteria via Atticmag Edwin slipper chair with walnut frame and wool-poly upholstery – Room & Board via Atticmag

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Slipper Chair Marathon

The Cushion Chair, bespoke slipper chair with pillows – Soane Britain via Atticmag  Modern & vintage variations on the ideal accent chair for any room. Part 1 – Victorian details.

Recently, I started looking at slipper chairs and couldn’t stop! Every time I found a lively armless chair that would be great for use in a living room, bedroom, kitchen, library, bathroom, front hallway or mudroom, another one in a different style, color or shape turned up. When I sat back to review what I’d curated there were more than two dozen beauties – 26 to be exact — the same number as miles in a marathon! So I’m presenting them in groups based generally on the style of the legs which make similarities and differences easiest to see.

One reason slipper chairs are so useful is due to their scale. Generally no taller than 36-inches and having no arms, they take up less visual space than an armchair. That makes them versatile in terms of placement and keeps things looking casual. In the past, slipper chairs had seat heights below the average 18-inches — that is no longer true today.  The historical suggestion is they were low because they were used to get undressed or warm oneself by the fireplace. The term chauffeuse  is still used for some framed slipper chairs (the French verb chauffer  means to heat or warm.) These days the form is being adapted and reinterpreted purely for comfort and style. And with prices starting around $200, they need not be budget busters.

Leave it to me to fall in love with a completely bespoke slipper chair made in England [top]. Sigh. I can almost feel how the wonderful down in the plump seat and back cushions would feel as I sit, which is likely why this is called The Cushion Chair. These cushions are knife-edge, with no welting. Notice how they crown? Casters are traditional Victorian details and all four legs of this chair have them, which means it rolls without tilting. And, true to form, back legs are smoother than front legs which helps to avoid dings when they are pushed against a wall. This aqua and white calico print is an example of a fabric with a huge helping of personality which would works with any décor from boho to minimalist. In red damask, the same chair tells a different story. Soane Britain. Price N/A. Dimensions for reference: 24” w x 31” d x 35” h. Seat height: 19”.

Kate Slipper Chair with welted seat and back cushions – Williams Sonoma Home via AtticmagLoose, welted back and seat cushions give the Kate slipper chair a tailored, conservative aura that marries well with the stubby turned “English” hardwood legs. Casters on front legs only means that the chair must be tilted forward to move it since the back legs are designed for stability. The discreet French pinstripe in the cotton-poly fabric also speaks to traditional style though it can mix with country or cottage. Of paramount importance, though, is that the stripes line up properly from the base through the pillows, which these do. Williams-Sonoma Home. $1350. Dimensions for reference: 24″w x 25″d x 32″h. Seat height: 18”.

Picadilly Slipper Chair in Spice basketweave – Serena & LillyWhen I think of sweet Victorian slippers, the Picadilly comes to mind. I viewed the chair in a variety of colors and patterns then chose Spice for the photo because upholstery details on this chair  dominate most prints. That’s both the benefit and limitation of a chair with distinctive button tufting plus curved shoulders and an hour-glass-shaped back. I see a feminine silhouette that makes the Picadilly an immediate candidate for a dressing room, “her” cave, or spa bath. While it’s slightly shallow for lounging, it also would fit right into vintage or cottage décor. Serena & Lily. $1150. Dimensions for reference: 27” w. x 21” d. x 35” h. Seat height: 17”.

Caroline Slipper chair with button-tufted back and seat – Pottery Barn via AtticmagA full button-tufted slipper chair with its scrolled back almost screams “lounge in me.” If the Picadilly’s shallowish seat is yin, the Caroline, with its deep angled,  is yang. This would be such a wonderful chair for a nursery! The trick with a style like this — which has a channeled rolled edge on the front of the seat – is to be sure it sits comfortably. A throw pillow might be required. Like the Picadilly, care must be taken with fabric choices (velvet or linen are options) due to the pattern created by the tufting. Turned oak legs with front casters only. Pottery Barn. $499.  Dimensions for reference: 23.5″ w. x 31.5″ d. x 35″ h. Seat height: 16.5”.

Deconstructed French Slipper Chair with tight seat and back – Restoration Hardware via AtticmagChairs don’t get much more elegant than this retro Deconstructed French Slipper finished in Sand Belgian linen. The intention is to look slightly unfinished — maybe even spirited out of an upholsterer’s shop — because the walnut frame is partially exposed and distressed with nail holes. Nor is there an attempt to hide lowly upholstery tacks, which on this chair serve as industrial/decorative details. Spindle-turned front legs with casters and the tightly scrolled back are additional period hallmarks. $520-$715. Restoration Hardware. Dimensions for reference: 23″w. x 32″ d. x 34″h. Seat height: N/A.

Antique boudoir slipper chairs with curved back and integral lumbar support – English Country Antiques via Atticmag A pair of antique French boudoir chairs illustrate how difficult it can be to evaluate antique upholstered furniture pieces. Dated by the dealer to the 1940s, they have Victorian-style turned front legs with casters, and slightly angled back legs. Additionally, there is a gracefully arched back, with a center curve that tapers off into square-ish shoulders. I always wonder about furniture from the 1940s.  World War II began in 1939 and ended in 1945 and styles can overlap by decades.  Most noteworthy, however — and the reason for their inclusion — is a singular feature:  the lumbar support upholstered into the back of the chair — nearly disguised by the unfortunate choice of vintage and antique fabrics used for the upholstery.  English Country Antiques, Bridgehampton NY via First Dibs. $4650. Dimensions N/A.

Shell-Back Channel tufted vintage Slipper Chair – via AtticmagA vintage slipper chair, with no distinctive history, got a fabulous makeover by a Chicago dealer. Redone in vibrant tangerine velvet and offered for sale at a very modest price,  it must have been snapped right up! The unusual angled back is fan-shaped and channel tufted, a motif often associated with Rococo Revival style furniture. The flared seat looks deftly finished with welting all around. The legs tell me this chair may have belonged to someone’s Grandma who bought it at her local furniture store, perhaps in the 1950s — it is typical of how a “find” can become a treasure., Chicago. $175. Dimensions for reference:  24” w. x 20” d. x 33 h.” Seat height: N/A.

Slipper Chair 1561-01 in velvet with loose cushions, nailhead trim and spade Feet – Lee Industries via AtticmagAnother favorite combines the contemporary look of a sectional sofa with two traditional embellishments – double-cross nail heads on the base just above tapered, paneled legs with spade feet. Deep enough to accommodate the thickness of the loose welted back cushion, this chair has a comfort quotient that can elevate it to investment status for a living room or den.  Slipper Chair 1561-01. $2030. Lee Industries.  Dimensions for refrence: 24 w. x 33” d. x 35” h. Seat height: 18″

Click on a chair or a link to read Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4:
Avington slipper chair upholstered in leaf-and-branch pattern – Target via Atticmag Caned rattan slipper chair with loose upholstered cushion - Wisteria via Atticmag Edwin slipper chair with walnut frame and wool-poly upholstery – Room & Board via Atticmag

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Under Counter Refrigeration Kitchen

kitchen with under counter refrigerator/freezer drawers - Elle Decor via AtticmagHow does a kitchen look with Andy Warhol’s neon cow but no full-size refrigerator? The answer is: just great!

Under-counter fridge/freezer drawers can replace a conventional refrigerator for many reasons. A large fridge might not be needed, which is the case in this kitchen (formerly a rental apartment). The owners, a high-end furniture restorer and his companion, have no family meals to prepare. With space and light at a premium on the ground floor of a 1864 French Empire house with a side yard, the choice was made to tuck a pair of refrigerator/freezer drawers under stainless steel counters (by Galesi design) to the right of the main sink. That strategy allowed them to preserve natural light with twin doors out to the garden in back as well as two large windows on the side of the building – ground floor rooms in town houses are notoriously dark. Unbroken wall space in the long, narrow room is occupied by a vintage Wolf range plus a small storage cabinet alongside.

As a DIY project, the owners also opted to leave plumbing pipes exposed and paint the open joist beams in Benjamin Moore’s white Dulamel (water-based enamel). Light fixtures are from Progress Lighting, the cork floor by EnviroChoice (from and the Summit refrigerator/freezer drawers from our awesomely knowledgeable pal Mitchell Weissberg of Krups Kitchen and Bath in NYC, who gave us expert advise on Top Kitchen Faucets several years ago.

(Source: elledecor)

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One Wallpaper, Three Baths

brown and Lyford Trellis  wallpaper by China Seas - Quadrille via Atticmag rom China SeasPapering walls can add welcome pattern in addition to color.

If there’s one room in my house that I’d wallpaper it would no doubt be a bathroom. Unless tile is used lavishly, papering walls is the quickest way to get visual interest in what’s often a rather small space with oddly interrupted surfaces. The right paper can help unify the look and provide a charming backdrop for mirrors, art and accessories. In a previous post called Powder Rooms Papered, I explored a variety of papers. Here, thanks N.Y. to designer Tom Scheerer who has used the same Lyford Trellis paper by China Seas for Quadrille in three different baths, it’s interesting to see how a change in colorway and accessories can alter the mood of a bath.

A lattice or trellis motif suggests a garden-y feeling and a bamboo always feels exotic and traditional as it was a Victorian staple. But the dramatic brown on natural version of LT [top], in a Florida house, enhances the Victorian antique style bamboo washstand and matching mirror. This bath has been seen a good deal and we also featured it in our Five Faces of Wallpaper post. Justifiably — it’s a graceful classic.

aqua and white Lyford Trellis wallpaper by China Seas - Quadrille via AtticmagThe very same paper, in aqua and white (with brown accents) is so understated on the walls of this white bath it hardly seems like a sibling. Obviously beachy, it marries well with shell sconces. And, notice how the medicine cabinet is  centered on the pattern — perfect!

brown and natural Lyford Trellis wallpaper by China Seas - Quadrille via AtticmagUsing the same brown paper in a different powder bath, Scheerer picks up the orange accents for the vanity shirt. While the orange was hardly noticeable above, here it draws the eye down to a fairly dull sink feature. Much more interesting is the white-painted bamboo motif mirror reflecting tropical palms through an open window.

(Source: Tom Scheerer, Quadrille)

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Sevres Blue Obsession

Sevres blue house trim – Veranda via AtticmagThis 300-year old hue is rarely seen today, yet it’s one of my favorite house colors.

Psychologists probably wouldn’t give me a positive assessment for being a blue-and-white person. Orange is happier. Yellow more cheerful. And gray is far more soothing. Still, I’ve come to terms with my blue walls and blue furniture and a front door painted Sèvres or Cerulean blue which went out of style when Marie Antoinette lost her head — and never returned. But those of us who revere the 18th century adore this blue as a choice for exterior house components such as shutters, gates, planters, trim, fences and doors. French designer Jean-Loup Dirand used a variation on Sèvres for the trim on his house in Provence [top]. An interior of the house was shown in our Color Poem post.

 Sevres blue garden gate - Veranda via AtticmagDirand also used it on this stunning gate to his walled garden.

 Sevres porcelain cupid cup – Trouvais via AtticmagOf all the blues out there, Sèvres (pronounced sevv), or Cerulean, blue is less admired than its cousin turquoise and less chic than sapphire. In the world of home décor and furnishings, this is the namesake body color of decorated porcelain made in France since 1738, of which this Cupid cup is an example. Yes, it’s gaudy with gold and a little putto. But color had to be intense and gilded to be seen at a time when candles provided the only interior lighting after sundown.

Fine Paints of Europe Zuider Zee blue Dutchlac front door – AtticmagIt also happens to be the color I chose 12 years ago for my salvaged front door. It adds personality and harmonizes with  the red tones of our cedar shingles so I doubt I shall ever change it.

Sevres blue paint swatch – Society for All Artists via AtticmagThe Society for All Artists includes a swatch of acrylic resin Sèvres blue in their color collection.  House-paint companies give it e various names which may vary with the undertones of green and gray. Farrow& Ball calls it Chinese Blue. Fine Paints of Europe lists it on their Classic European color chart as Zuider Zee Blue after the famous inlet in Holland. Benjamin Moore dubbed it Cool Blue (2058-40) and describes it as the “shade of tropical waters” and as a “saturated sea blue.” Saturated is a key word in this discussion because most people find it too intense for interior walls.

 Sevres blue shutters on a cottage – Artesanato & Humor de Mulher  via AtticmagOutside, colors always appear many shades lighter. It works well muted on the shutters of this English-style cottage.

 Italian residence in Friuli with Sevres blue trim – tempodadelicadeza via Atticmag The owners of a former 18th century mill in the Italian province of Fruili, also used a muted variation on the theme to set the shutters apart from the climbing greenery on a white house while not upstaging it.

weather worn Sevres blue shutters on a stone house - weloveprovence via AtticmagBack in Provence, even weather-worn shutters on an ancient stone house with a terracotta tile roof benefits from this old-fashioned pop of blue that reaches out to the color-lover in all of us.

(Source: Veranda, trouvais, ssa, artesanatoehumordelmulher, tempodadelicadeza, weloveprovence)

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