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March 17, 2009

Hi Everybody!

To date, the most popular search term that lands people on our little blog is “Klismos Chair”, so let me show our most popular chairs in this style.

If first you need a definition fo the klismos style, Wikipedia says:

image002From the mid-fifth century BCE onwards ….A vase-painting of a satyr carrying a klismos chair on his shoulder shows how light such chairs were.[2] The curved, tapered legs of the klismos chair sweep forward and rearward, offering stability. The rear legs sweep continuously upward to support a wide concave backrest like a curved tablet, which supports the sitter’s shoulders, or which may be low enough to lean an elbow on. The seat was built of four wooden turned staves, morticed into the legs; a web of cording or leather strips supported a cushion or a pelt. The klismos was a specifically Greek invention, without detectable earlier inspiration.[3] For illustration, they show a portion of the stele or burial stone of Xanthippos, an Athenian, ca. 430-20 BCE.

For more information, see the entire entry here.

Starting in the 1790’s, the klismos chair has been popping up time and time again.  People like its gracefully tapered legs that splay outwards, while its backrest curves around the lowr back.  The downside, however, is that this chair design often does not sit comfortably, especially for a large person.  So when we design a klismos, we must incorporate ergonomic research into how we sit today.  Our test: can you sit restfully during a ninety minute dinner party?  If not, we must redesign our prototype.  So here are some of our best klismos chairs.

image004Our Elgin Chair is shown here on the right.  According to House Beautiful’s survey in December 2007, our chair has the sexiest leg in the market.  For your convenience, we offer the Elgin with lots of options:

–  With or without arms

–  In a large or small scale; think NY apartment vs. California hacienda

–  In a pale pearlescent finish accented with goldleaf (shown here) or the painted or stained finish of your choice

The delicacy of this chair means you can’t abuse it, so no tipping backwards while sitting in it!

We’ve customized this chair in many ways, once as a set of bar stools painted black with gilt decoration.  We’ve also made them in aluminum for outdoor use.


image008Our Circolo Chair is a little heavier and sturdier klismos.  It too is available in both an arm or a side chair, but only in one scale – 22″w x 22.5″d x 33.5″h, with a seat height of 19.5″.  While we call our preferred finish Circassian Walnut and Goldleaf, we fabricate the chair from farm-grown cherry wood.  A motif of interlocking goldleafed circles decorates the curved back slat.

image012Our Jacob Chair is even sturdier, although the light painted finish camouflages its inherent toughness.  Its sophisticated elegance mimics the lines but not the riot of decoration that marks furniture from the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.  My husband designed this chair in 1992 for the late, wonderful designer Antony Childs of Washington, DC; Tony added the scalloped skirt as a summary touch.

image009Another designer wanted a set of Jacob Chairs for an attorney’s office, so we made the look more masculine in a blackened cherry finish.  Goldleaf detailing lightens the mood somewhat.

image014Our Russian Chair owes it inspiration to an 1820s chair from Moscow.  We went through eleven different prototypes until the original antique transformed into a larger, more comfortable chair.  You would never have lasted through a dinner party in the original; I think its function was more as a perch.  Our chair back shows interlocking circles composed of a pair of mythological creatures whose heads eternally chase their tails.  We make the chair frame in cherry finished to look like Circassian Walnut with goldleaf detailing.  Our seat comes in black leather or the COM of your choice.

image016Our Empire Side Chair started life in the early 1800’s as a narrow little chair with raised sides.  Only the tiniest of people could find its seat.  We made the chair to the scale of today’s people and changed the upholstery to easily support the derriere.  Joe bought the original chair out of a dusty warehouse where a previous owner had buried it.  We show it here in a distressed black finish with goldleaf piping and covered in muslin.  I’ve used it as a dining chair in my home, where it easily passed the fanny test.  Our muslin can be replaced with a much more interesting COM.

image017Our English Club Chair keeps the splayed back legs of the Grecian Klismos while the curve of its fully upholstered back gives blissful support.  This chair works well in the bedroom, dining room, library, and living room.  The mother of our chair came from a neo-classical club for leisured gentlemen in London.  We make ours in mahogony with leather upholstery.

image019Just today at the factory, we completed upholstering two different orders, both in eye-popping orange colorways.  Sherlock Holmes would not have approved, be we may be seeing the birth of a trend.


image023Our Malmaison Chair comes in stainless steel for indoor and outdoor use.  The original was a poor rusty derelict from the late 19th Century that we have transformed.  Our seat is perforated so rain runs right through it.  Both of our daughters use this chair in their outdoor gardens, and I have used it in our dining room.

image028And finally, my favorite, the Gustavian Klismos Chair.  Joe and I were shopping for cool, light furniture with a Swedish look and found this wonderful chair in New Hope, PA.  The way Joe has re-designed the chair, it holds one’s body comfortably in the spine and the seat.  I’ve used this at home for dinner parties, and not one of my guests were squirming.  While we normally finish the chair in a pale finish with a pale linen or silk, a customer recently asked us to silverleaf the frames.  What a great look!  I hope the designer sends me a photo of them fully upholstered in their final setting.  I’d love to see them in their home.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2009 12:54 am

    Breakfast in the morning.

  2. March 18, 2009 4:40 pm

    Hi, George. Thanks for your critique of our layout, which I hope improves the next time. Eleanor

  3. March 24, 2009 12:13 pm

    Your klismos chair has such an architectural shape. I too like the Gustavian klismos chair the best!

    I would be great to see a picture of this chair in the context of a beautiful room. I know that I have seen it in some recent design magazines, in the dining room perhaps?

    Great post!

  4. Joyce W. Brasfield permalink
    April 21, 2009 4:01 am

    I have admired your designs for years in magazines and on your website. The last time I visited your website it had employment information, I did not see it this time. I have been a faux finish painter for twelve years, among hanging wallpaper and painting.I have worked for my self for over 20 yrs. Are you presently in need of a highly motivated, very creative faux painter?

  5. April 21, 2009 3:51 pm

    No, thank you, Ma’am, but I wish you well. Do you have a portfolio I could see, or a brochure we could display in our Washington showroom?

  6. Joyce W. Brasfield permalink
    May 3, 2009 6:32 pm

    Thank you for answering my e-mail. I will definitely put together a portfolio and mail it to you. Please provide me with your mailing information at your convenience.


    Joyce w. Brasfield

  7. November 13, 2010 3:28 am

    bar stools that are made from stainless steel are the best because they don’t tarnish often ;;’

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