Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wing Chairs Masculine or Feminine?

There has been an ongoing argument in my family about the sex of the wing chair. I know. You probably think we are insane. Here’s the whole story. My brother-in-law came into possession of a Queen Anne wing chair and was taken with the notion that they were chairs made strictly for women. He even went so far as assuring us the wings were meant to keep a woman’s face in shadow so she’d appeal to prospective suitors. This notion, of course, was soundly refuted and the women went to bat. Since my uncle, a reputable businessman has a pair of leather wing chairs in his office, and is every bit the manly-man, then the chairs must be for men. It might have gone on forever if it weren’t for my youngest brother, the peacemaker and the guy who always seems to have Internet access wherever we may be.

In two quick searches, he trumped us all by stating that wing chairs, if they must be classified as having a sex, are bi-sexual. He went on to explain that the chairs were originally designed to be occupied in front of the fireplace to help keep the heat from escaping past their occupants and into the drafty corners. They were made, in fact, for the man and woman of the house. So, while some might appear a bit more frilly and feminine, and others a bit more rugged and masculine, the truth is that they will serve equally well for either sex.

Even with the truth revealed, some were hesitant to give up their assertions. My brother-in-law, as far as I know, has yet to sit in the Queen Anne. My sister, however, finds the chair charming and quite comfortable. I wouldn’t put it past her egg him on to ensure she gets sole use of it. After all, they’re great chairs, no matter what sex you are or aren’t when you sit in them.

Tub Chairs Provide A More Comfortable Wait

I do not know that the person who designed the first tub chairs was the least bit interested in helping the misery of those with low back pain. It doesn’t matter. The fact is, that these rounded, slouch-backed chairs provide excellent lumbar support for long periods of sitting, and can alleviate much of the pain that prolonged sitting can cause. Whether it was a purposeful intention or a happy accident, the result is the same. These good-looking chairs with their rounded backs and arms are great for those with or without low back issues when it comes to long periods of sitting.

I keep harping on the “long periods” of sitting for a reason. I would like to suggest that all doctor’s offices and medical facility waiting rooms be required to replace those horrid, hard plastic chairs or those overstuffed faux-fashionable chairs, with stylish and comfortable tub chairs. This probably would not cut back one minute on the endless waits we experience in these rooms. It would, however, render the wait time far more bearable.

In order to get the doctors, clinics and hospitals to agree, I figure we could force a few dozen of these well-meaning medical professionals to spend a few hours sitting in one of their current chairs. Then, after a short break, switch out their seats. After an hour or two, we offer them an option. Which chair would you rather sit in until I have time in MY busy schedule to see you? I think we know what they’re answer would be.

Still, this exercise is still in the planning stages. I just need to find a way to get a dozen doctors and other medical professionals to obey my commands for a day. Since I don’t think that’s likely, I can only hope they will read this please. If we must sit for hours in a waiting room, please let us sit in comfort!

Footstools Fashions For Instant Room Makeovers

You have a beautifully decorated living room or den, but you are just a little bored with it. There are lots of tricks that allow you to make a very small change that will affect the overall appearance of the room, banishing boredom like waving a magic wand. A favorite instant makeover of this decorating diva involves that often-overlooked necessity of a comfortable room, footstools.

The lowly footstool doesn’t get center stage attention in very many decors. Indeed, in this modern era, many people don’t seem to bother with them at all. Still, I find them delightful because they provide us with a comfortable place to prop our tired feet at the end of a long day or a long walk, and because they are adaptable to almost any style. They can, in addition, perform an amazing trick. They can change their skins like a chameleon, providing a constant array of different looks from the same piece of humble furniture.

This trick works with almost every style of footstool, but I prefer the classic rectangular pones that are upholstered but still have a bit of leg either showing or hidden beneath a skirt of fabric. A couple of yards of upholstery fabric and some trim, along with your staple gun and the willingness to tackle a transformation project are all you need to take the gray and green plaid footstool and turn it into an exotic, delicately embroidered silken footstool, or maybe a thick, tapestry woven covered stool. With an endless array of fabrics, you can have an endless supply of new footstools to punch up that ho-hum looking den.

So pull out that footstool, dust it off and, then give it a fresh change of wardrobe. You can even do seasonal changes, covering it with the colors that best suit the time of year. Whatever fabric you choose, your footstool can provide an instant perk for a dull look.

Chesterfield Sofas Built With A Reputation For Quality

Some people believe, incorrectly, that any sofa that identifies itself with the word “Chesterfield” is one. Chesterfield sofas have been manufactured for centuries, but only those that can pass a rigorous inspection earn the right to be deemed “authentic”. Unlike furniture manufactured by only one company, Chesterfield is a style. Still, each and every craftsman who builds in the style adheres to basic guidelines that assure the finished product will not only be elegant and stylish, but will also be strong and durable.

The legend has it that the Earl of Chesterfield was presented with a specially commissioned piece of leather furniture sometime in the late 1500s or early 1600s. From this signature, one-of-a-kind commissioned piece began the tradition of building furniture in the “Chesterfield” style. While that story may or may not be true, the end product is singular in style and construction.

Chesterfield sofas, chairs, loveseats, davenports, divans and other furnishings all have the same family traits. First, their frames are constructed using prime hardwoods for durability and with extreme attention to each structural detail to ensure the durability of the unit. The padding and other filler materials are of the best quality and overlay the frame almost completely. Atop these goes the cover, usually high-grade leather that is sewn to exacting standards. The most obvious outward trait of a Chesterfield piece is the buttons, either leather covered or occasionally brass, that you’ll find on the backs of the chairs, sofas, etc. The term “buttoned down” is often used to describe this style. Some have rows and rows of buttons, others only a few. The amount is unimportant, as long as the result is stylish.

So, in short, if you find a sofa that meets all of these criteria, then you have a real Chesterfield. Anything that offers you less in the way of craftsmanship and quality of materials would be considered a fake.

Chesterfield Furniture Provides Stately Elegance

I recently visited the showroom of a local retailer who has a reputation for carrying some of the best-made leather furniture in our area. I stood there, surrounded by overstuffed leather sofas from Italy, artistic contemporary designs from Sweden and even a rustic cowboy style living room set from here in the States. In this sea of pillow billows of almost “fluffy” leather, one line stood out. Chesterfield furniture, with its very upright British carriage and its trademark buttons is unmistakable. I could not help but think, as I gazed up on the difference between these grand duke and dames of leather furniture, that they must be somewhat scandalized at their competition’s lack of formality and class.

While Chesterfield sofas and chairs, along with many other pieces done in this signature style, are manufactured all over the world, including in this country, they still retain that aura of aristocratic British dignity that sets them at odds with fluffy pieces of furniture with too many pillows that look as if you should sleep on it instead of sit.

While I can appreciate the appeal of the newer styles, I find that I am a traditionalist at heart and prefer classic styles. Fortunately for me, today’s Chesterfield furniture can be found in a number of very decorative styles, more modern than one would expect for a couch that is built by an old-code for quality and style. I finally opted for a Chesterfield sectional. I found it offered me the blend of old and classic with new and fun that I wanted.

Thinking of buying a leather sofa? Or chair? Whatever you’re looking for, do yourself a favor and visit a showroom, or shop on-line and see the many great pieces now offered in the Chesterfield style. Who knows? There may just be a Chesterfield waiting to fill that spot in your house.