Modern & vintage variations on slipper chairs for any room. Part 4 – Exposed Frames.
One reason I’ve done this series of posts on slipper chairs is purely practical. These are, for the most part, exceptionally approachable and affordable pieces of furniture everyone needs. One chair may be better for perching while another is made for lounging – that’s fairly obvious. But dimensions — the facts of each design – as well as the angle of the back, the height of the seat, and the way a chair is upholstered (including what’s underneath) affects its comfort. If someone is 6-foot-2 they won’t love sitting in a small low chair. A deep wide lounge chair may not be the best choice for a petite person. It really takes more thought than general style and fabric choice.
The Slipper Chair Marathon begins with Victorian-inspired styles. This is the fourth, and final, leg. (If you’re glad to see it end you probably have all the furniture you need! If not, there’s more to discover).
Part 2 focuses on how the height and shape of the legs affect various chairs.
Part 3 looks at slipper chairs with feet rather than legs, as well as a few with skirting on the bottom.
Here, in the final installment, I’m looking at variations in chairs with exposed frames.
Beginning in the 1950s, when Scandinavian furniture came into vogue, walnut chair frames – often with tapered angles legs — became the height of furniture fashion. Walnut is a warm wood without excessive red tones and when properly sanded and oiled (rather than lacquered) it offers a subtle partner for fabrics. The Edwin slipper chair [top] is a contemporary interpretation of the mid-20th century look. Tight upholstered in a wool, poly and viscose blend it is meant to be seen from any angle – as the easel back detail makes clear. Room & Board. $749. Dimensions for reference: 25”w. x 33”d. x 31”h. Seat height: 16”
American furniture designer Edward Wormley went to work for the Dunbar Furniture Company of Indiana in 1944 and produced attractive, fine-quality furniture that has become collectible. The wide seats and tapered button-tufted backs of these Wormley slippers look almost organically grown on the walnut frames. Bottle-green Maharam mohair is typical of favored mid-century furniture colors and lumbar pillows in the same fabric add an attractive bonus. Archer Modern. $2300 each. Dimensions for reference: 23″w. x 32.5″d. x 32″h. Seat height: 16″
Like so many of his designs, Jonathan Adler’s custom furniture has special energy that his Morrow slipper chair really expresses. Perhaps it’s the Volumes of Velvet (acrylic, cotton, polyester and viscose blend) in a blowout tangerine or just the graceful lines. In spirit, this is a mid-20th century chair with the requisite walnut frame with chamfered legs and a tapered back similar to Wormley’s (above). The two chairs have different silhouettes but are within fractions of an inch of the same dimensions. A trio of button tufts keeps the back from looking too plain and the way the cut-back sides whisper wing chair comfort. Digs Showroom. $1295. Dimensions for reference: 24”w. x 32”d. x 33” h. Seat height: 16.5”
The Kathryn slipper chair is so refined. Low, easy and graceful, the bleachy chalk-painted frame makes it feel very now. With a less dour fabric color this could be a glamorous addition in any bedroom or flanking a fireplace — imagine it in lavender, dove gray or a chic small-scale print. From the Robert Brown collection it is made by MacRae (a repro house) and sold via the wholesale market. Lee Jofa. Price N/A. Dimensions for reference: 31”w. x 32”d. x 33”h. Seat height: N/A
If I had a mid-century ranch house, I’d kill to have this pair of 1950s Belgian chauffeuses by the fireplace. Unquestionably, they are an acquired taste as well as an investment. Extremely eccentric both in their form, proportions and crazy small, they almost look like cut down chairs set into frames. The seat height – 11.81” (30 cm) – is exceptionally low and if the kooky “ears” on the back were added to prevent someone from rolling out when they fell asleep (can’t imagine any other reason), it’s odd since there isn’t far to fall. I’m mad about this vintage fabric which reminds me of Picasso or something vintage the folks at Anthropologie would use on one of their wild furniture pieces. Jean-Philippe Demeyer. $7545 the pair. Dimensions for reference: 21.65”w. x 21.65”d. x 32.28” h. Seat height: 11.81”.
“Inspired by an antique French chair, the Ansley Chair by Suzanne Kasler offers the versatility of a slipper chair with beautiful hand-carved detailing and tapered legs. Scaled for comfort, the chair works well as a pair of side chairs flanking a sofa or as a floating occasional chair. With optional nail head trim over grosgrain ribbon the pieces offers ample opportunity for custom details. Light Walnut is the standard finish. Optional Birch paint shown.” The description of this chair is so well done, it bears quoting. But I will say it vexes me to read “antique French chair” when this is a reproduction of a Louis XV chair which a classic of 18th century furniture. We’ve had a major revival of French seat furniture over the past 10 to 15 years thanks in large part to shelter magazines such as Veranda. Chairs of this style, produced during the 1970-90s are also being repainted and cleverly recovered. But the knock-offs of Marie Antoinette’s signature chair (which were painted white over the original gilding to see less posh) have kept on coming during the 221 years since the poor girl her head. Hickory Chair. Price N/A. Dimensions for reference: x 21.5″w. x 24″d. x33″h. Seat height: 19”
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