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Product review: Easy chairs
Product review: Easy chairs
By: Lynette Evans and Monika Weiss
Design Days at San Francisco Design Center, the annual event that brings out the best in high-end home furnishings, caught us sitting down. We sat in chairs, and got up, then sat again, looking for chairs that are easy to use as well as beautiful. One such was the Chelsea Club Chair (above) from PierceMartin by Palacek.
At this winter's show, we found a lot of easy chairs that are just that -- easy to get in and out of, comfortable, a good fit for our behinds -- and beautiful to boot. People who are exhausted by climbing into and out of humongous designer furniture (the oversized Kreiss collection comes to mind) or who've given up sitting in their favorite lounge chair because they can't get up without help, can find the right chair for them, and their decor, with a little perseverance.
We found these chairs in the Galleria. Note: Unless there is a sample sale to the public, showrooms in design centers throughout the nation usually sell to the trade only. Talk to your interior designer or go online to the various companies' websites to access their products.
From the Sherrill Collection at Lani Taylor's new Taylor Blue showroom: 91346 chair in Bistro finish with comfort down seat, in McNair -- Camel gr24; 39 inches high, 30 inches wide, 37 inches deep overall, with 20-inch deep seat. About $2,700 retail.
More contemporary, though no less easy-sitting, is Sherrill's chair No. 91313 at Taylor Blue. The chair, shown at right in a Guild finish with Engel-camel gr36 upholstery and comfort fiber seat, measures 36 inches high, 30 inches wide and 37 inches deep overall, with a 21-inch deep seat. The chair requires 7 yards of fabric. and as shown, retails for a little over $2,700.
The Helena Chair from Ferguson Copeland at Hinc caught our eye with its classy black and white upholstery (finished here in 5100s Spoleto dark). At 34 inches wide, 47.75 inches high and 34 inches deep, this traditional design is both comfortable and easy to get into and out of. About $3,000 through your designer.
GETTING A MOVE ON
The Sherrill swivel rocker at right (No. 9M1994-01 at Taylor Blue) envelopes one in the luxury of ultra-soft leather (here in UR-UD Nottinghill Cream leather with contrasting welt of Landon Brownstone). At 39 inches high, 28 inches wide and 41 inches deep overall, with a 20-inch deep seat, this is a chair you won't want to get out of -- although you can. $4,000-plus retail.
Everyone knows Dad must have his recliner. And not every partner can relegate him and his oversized Super Bowl seat to an out-of-sight Man Cave. No need to ban recliners if they're as beautiful as they are comfortable.
Such a chair is the B511 Cornish Lounger we found at Kravet whose SFDC Galleria showroom was featuring it in Trail-Granite leather with No. 9 natural brass standard-size nailheads, ebony finish and spring blend down seat. The size -- 33 inches wide, 39.5 inches high and 39.3 inches deep, with a 22-inch deep seat -- is manly enough but not so massive that the typical person will get lost in it.
Of course, such a chair will set you back a lot more than would a La-Z-Boy.
Even a great recliner can be too much chair for some. What if there were a chair that was as easy to get in and out of as your office chair, but one that would complement your modern living room?
Designer Holly Hunt must have been reading your mind. Her sleek, modernist Tesoro Lounge Chair swivels on a four-footed, brushed stainless steel base. Kneedler Fauchere showed the Tesoro chair (right) in Sevilla/Goya leather. The chair, which measures 29.75 inches wide, 29 inches high and 32.5 inches deep overall, with a 19-inch seat depth, will set you back almost $5,000.
Hunt's Standard Cubist Chair with swivel is shown at Kneedler Fauchere in Sevilla/Cafe leather. A chair that fits nicely with a range of furniture styles, the Cubist chair measures 35.25 inches wide, 33.75 inches high and 37.5 inches deep overall, with a 21.5-inch seat depth. About $3,500 through your designer.
Another go-anywhere chair that you can get out of easily -- but won't want to -- is A. Rudin's style 628 chair with swivel. Shown at right with A. Rudin's fabric No. 116100-780, the chair measures 33 inches wide, 37 inches high and 39 inches deep overall. It has soft seat and back cushions; nevertheless, the arms curve gently upward, making it easy to pull yourself forward to stand up.
The Cape May Chair (B150) at Kravet, shown at right, features upgraded fabric and a spring blend down seat. At 33.5 inches wide, 35.5 inches high and 39.5 inches deep overall, with a 23-inch deep seat at 20 inches high, this chair is big enough to coddle a good-sized person and his creaky knees.
MAKING MODERN COMFORTABLE
Holly Hunt Studio was responsible for a number of simple -- and simply super -- chairs we found at Kneedler Fauchere, including the boxy LaSalle Club Chair, that Kneedler was showing in leather (144 sq. ft. if you're buying the whole cow) with a mohair seat cushion. At 33.5 inches wide, 28.25 inches high and 33.5 inches deep overall, with a 22-inch deep seat, this is a classic contemporary design, retailing at about $8,500.
Another Holly Hunt Studio design we couldn't resist for its good looks was the Max Lounge Chair, featuring diagonal splits where the arms attach to the race car-tilted back cushion. Kneedler was showing both the prototype and the more evolved version seen at right. The chair is 28 inches wide, 35.75 inches high and 34.75 inches deep overall. At 25 inches deep, the seat would fit a long-legged person better than his shorter spouse, although the firm seat and sturdy arms make the chair easy enough to exit.
CHAIRS THAT SUPPORT BUT DON'T CODDLE
At several Galleria showrooms, we came across chairs we wouldn't normally think of as easy chairs. But, we just couldn't resist giving them a try.
Kravet's Haddam chair (at right) looks like it wouldn't be comfortable. Certainly, it isn't an ultra-soft seat, and those low curving arms -- what good could they be? Nevertheless, the wild paisley Kravet fabric caught our eye, and we sat down. Surprisingly, the chair is not only comfortable but the wood-trimmed arms provide a solid railing to assist a person in rising from the chair. The seat depth is 20.5 inches and has a low back pillow.
And we couldn't resist trying Christian Astuguevieille's sculptural Ilorg rope chair from the Holly Hunt Studio at Kneedler Fauchere. It's a hard sit, so you're not going to curl up in this chair, but at 35.5 inches wide and 27.6 inches deep, it is easy to get into and out of. And you can certainly hold court from this perch, not only because the chair will be a conversation piece but for the princely pricetag -- more than $13,000.
At Provasi, we spotted a pair of small antique side chairs (one shown at right) that, with their high back/slightly flared arm combination, made sitting easy. Lana Keyhan at Provasi assured us that the company owns the right to reproduce the chairs, and will do so, at $1,150 each COM. These chairs would be good for a small sitting room where you can assure guests they won't get lost in the furniture once they've sat down.
Finally, we might have despaired of finding a great Asian chair design that is compatible with reduced flexibility (those wonderful carved Chinese beds are just too big for many of us to crawl into and out of). And many other wood designs, beautiful as they are, aren't comfortable to sit in for long. Still, at Tansu Designs we found the Riva Bergere Wing Chair (at right) that is roomy, and, with a back pillow that brings the seat depth to 20.5 inches, can be navigated by the ordinary person. $2,350 retail.
That, and PierceMartin by Palacek's chair (at top) with premium spring down and a seat depth of 22.5 inches (reduced to 18 inches by an added cushion) satisfied our craving for woven chairs with an Asian feel.