Friday, February 26, 2010

Searching for the perfect dining chair - a roundup of choices

As I wrote about earlier in the week, I am currently working on a design plan for a dining room for a lovely young family. 

The plan right off the bat was to use the Restoration Hardware "Martine" chairs, which I love for their stylish silhouette and comfortable seat and good price.

Martine Chair at Restoration Hardware - 25"w x 28"d x 39", seat height 19"

I had previously used a pair of these chairs in a bay window seating area in a formal living room.

And so, it was hugely disappointing to find out that Restoration Hardware had changed the legs to be a more rough hewn oak, dark or light stained, as opposed to the original refined dark stained finish. These new legs, which are intended to go with their new "Belgian industrial" style I guess, are pretty ridiculous looking on such a nice chair.  And so began a lot of research for suitable alternates. I figured since I'd done so much research on these chairs, I'd do a little roundup of what I found.

Of course, the leader of the pack, and the chair the rest are just hoping to be, is the Thomas Pheasant dinging chair for Baker Furniture. Gorgeous. Pricey, but gorgeous.  One thing I particularly liked about this chair is the narrower dimension. It's 5 inches narrower than the RH version. A good thing to take note of if space is at a premium. Another lovely aspect of the Baker chair is that the fabric is COM (Customer's Own Material), so the look is fully customizable. Something not possible with the RH chair. Although I prefer a quieter fabric so that the shape and detailing truly stands out, one could certainly go a little crazy with pattern.

Dining Chair #7841 by Thomas Pheasant for Baker Furniture  - dimensions 20"w x 24"d x 36"h, seat height 18.5"

The Gentry chair at Ballard Furniture is a well priced version of the chair. The shape isn't as graceful and the legs are a little too thick, but for the price, the look is there, complete with nail head and the ring on the back.  In addition to Ballard's large fabric selection, they also accept COM.

Gentry Chair at Ballard Designs - 22-1/2"w x 25-1/2" x 37h, seat height 20"

The Regis chair from Artistic Frame has a similar profile to the above chairs, but lacks the graceful look of the narrower front view. This is sort of the thicker, less flashy cousin to the Baker chair. Still good looking, but a little too stolid and sedentary looking.

Regis Chair at Artistic Frame - 22-1/2"w x 27-1/2d x 35-1/2"h, seat height 18-1/2"
(thanks for the tip Gwen at Ragland Hill Social)

The Margo Chair by Candice Olsen for Norwalk Furniture is a decent alternative. The splayed back legs and some panache and the nailhead highlights the graceful curve of the wings as they wrap around. The back height is higher than the RH and Baker chairs, but this chair still seems a little stumpy to me.
The Margo chair from Candice Olson for Norwalk Furniture - 25"w x 27"d x 38"h, seat height
(thanks for the tip Carol Ann at CAM-Design Interiors)

And finally, there is the Brooke Dining chair from Z Gallerie. Perhaps it's the dead on view of the chair, but the tufting seems to form a bullseye that I find a little distracting. But, the shape of the legs is lovely.

Z Gallerie Brooke Dining Chair - 24"w x 28"d x 38"h

And so, with all of this research, which chair has been chose? Actually, I'm not sure yet. I'll post it when I know it!

 Subscribe to ::Surroundings::


Greet said...

You are so right about the chair of RH. It really looks ridiculous! I don't understand why RH is doing this! The design of the chair is really nog matching the Belgian style and changing the legs, it will not match ever!
I think you have to choose the Thomas Pheasant chair from Baker! I love that chair a lot!!
So elegant, beautiful! But maybe a lot more pricely than the RH chair!

Willow Decor said...

Of all the chairs, I prefer the RH chair with the old legs, though I know its impossible to get. (Have you checked the RH outlet in Wrentham, - I could have sworn I saw a few there, but did not notice the legs -it might be worth a phone call) I agree with Greet, the chair from Baker was also my next favorite. Its so frustrating when change things that work!! I love shopping with you.

Melissa Rakowski said...

Hi Linda,

If your client really likes the Martine chair, you could purchased and have the legs stained to your specification.

Karena said...

My first pick is the baker design, then I think Melissa's comments are great. Have the legs on the RH chairs finished the way you want

JeanetteS said...

What a shame the original RH chair is no longer available. There's an outlet near me in Virginia and I am happy to look if you wish.

And I do love the Baker chair. Isn't Baker having a sale right now?

Good luck and I cannot wait to hear more on the outcome.

lizziefitz said...

I am kinda feeling the Ballard. Let us know:)

LindsB said...

My first choice would be the Baker chair, but it is of course the most expensive. For that reason my second choice would be the Z Gallerie chair, I think once its up next to the table the bullseye tufting wont be that noticeable.

I cant wait to see what one you go with!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

I wrote almost the exact same post last year, when I first started blogging! Did you see the Berndardt version of that chair? It was one of the ones I considered when I was looking for the same style. It's really lovely!

I wound up having custom chairs done to combine the details I liked from each of those chairs into one piece.

If you're interested, here's that post:

And here's my tiny dining room with the chairs in it: said...

if you need anymore of those chairs. we in the UK have millions of them, lol. x

Linda Merrill said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I forgot to mention that we're looking for 6-8 chairs. Likely 6 in one style and 2 additional chairs that can coordinate but also be used elsewhere in the house. The dining room is small, but they want to be able to entertain. The Baker chairs list for $2,550 plus 3 yards of fabric each. Even with the current sale going on AND my designers list pricing, we're still around $1500 each, which puts a big dent in anyone's budget. Since this is a client project, I don't love discussing $, but that's the issue with Baker - gorgeous as they are!

The RH chairs are not only the wrong color leg, but the texture is very rough with a prominent raised oak grain. It looks fake to me and so refinishing seemed less of an option because they needed to be sanded down, or filled, to produce a smooth surface. The sales woman at RH called around to see if anything was available, but nothing. And to find 6 or 8 in the same fabric that worked with my plan, not likely. Sadly.

The Ballard chair - well, I just don't know about the quality for the price. I expect this furniture to last for years and year, especially dining room furniture.

The Z Gallerie chair is likely not the best quality at $399 each. I have a magic number range in my head of $500-$1500 for DR chairs (obviously excluding antiques or full custom) and my experience says you do get what you pay for with furniture.

I appreciate all the input however. And Jeanine - I'm off to check out your post!

beachbungalow8 said...

I'm still wondering if you can replace the legs, or even have them stained?

camdesign said...

Loving the new elevation of 5 moldings, glad I could be of help... I love blogging and helping in anyway I can... have a great weekend.
Regards, Carol Ann

Boxwood Terrace said...

I agree with most everyone else. The Baker chair is so elegant and my favorite in the group, but as you mentioned it has an elegant price too!

camdesign said...

I was watching a video on House and Home and saw an interesting chair... not tuffed but a modern look of what you are thinking... anyway thought I would share. Cody Chair
seems they are in the US, not sure exactly where you are but there might be one near you.
Anyway, enjoy the closing of the olympics tonight, should be fun to watch.
Regards, Carol Ann

JeanetteS said...

Linda - I came across a chair on Gump's website you may want to look at. They are having a sale right now that ends tomorrow. The chair is not tufted but the stitching adds some interest to a classically modern chair.

Good luck!

The Scarlett said...

Linda, I'm voting for the Candice Olsen piece. I like how much latitude you have for customizing it and I don't see it as stumpy.

Anonymous said...

Linda, What happened to your blog? Enjoyed reading it and now no news. Hope you return soon.

Linda Merrill said...

Hi Anon 3/27 - thanks for your query! I'm still here and have been posting since this post - although admittedly not as frequently. I've been flat out with a bunch of projects and new design work. Thanks for checking in!

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda
I am looking for dining chairs similar to baker .cream/white tufted,nail head trim.please can you tell me were can I find one.not pricey like baker:)

Post a Comment