Monday, February 14, 2011

Deciding on Counter Stools for a Clean & Simple Beach House

Who knew picking a counter stool would be so difficult, peeps. I mean, it's a counter stool, not a couch, or a dining table, or any other significant piece of furniture. The way I used to nerve wrack over J.Crew purchases, I've somehow channelled that anxiety and overthinking into my counter stool purchasing. It's good to see neuroses never die!

First, let's talk about the stool requirements and the set the stage a little bit. I'm in need of 3 counter stools, around 26" in height, for my kitchen island. The kitchen and family room are right next to each other and form a large open space. If I could have a theme running through the house, it would be, "Clean, Simple Beach House." Everything needs to go with what we already have, peeps. But I've come down to some common elements in each of the rooms downstairs:

1. White walls
2. Dark distressed wood floors
3. Distressed wood antiques of the Asian variety.
4. Lighting fixtures with clear bulbs.
5. Touches of bronze in ceiling light fixtures and floor / table lamps, and drapery rods.
6. Stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.
7. Dark wood plantation shutters and white, long drapes on the windows.

Now that we got that straight, walk with me down counter stool lane and I'll go over the finalists I've got on the brain. I'm in need of some direction, ladies. Some serious, Come-to-Jesus-style direction.
The Modern Industry stool from Sundance Catalog. $125.
Me Likey: The white metal contrasting with the dark wood floors and the way the stainless seat would pick up the accents in the kitchen. I also likey the price.
Not So Much: It seems to lack warmth and doesn't look that comfortable.

Modern Times Factory Stool, Sundance Catalog, $195.
Me Likey: Again, the white / stainless combination. In particular, I like how much more this one is distressed (chipped paint and all), and I love the swivel seat.
Not So Much: It looks unsturdy and slippery. & again, it seems to lack warmth.

The Lyon Fixed Height Industrial Stool, available online for $83.
Me Likey: The stool on the right. & I'm seeing it spray painted a funky color, like an interesting green or something. It would be a pop of color in my very color-neutral house. It also looks more sturdy than the other stools so far, and I love me the price on this one.
Not So Much: It looks too industrial. Definitely lacks warmth, and may not go well with the distressed wood we have elsewhere in the house.

& Finally, the Colby stool from Potterybarn, $99.
Me Likey: It would add the warmth I think is missing from the other stools and add that depth of distressed wood in the kitchen and tie the other rooms' antiques together. It would definitely add that "beach house" element I'm going for, with the rough hewn look it's sporting. I'm relaxed just looking at it. It also seems sturdy and the price is right. Where's Bob Barker at when I need him?
Not So Much: It doesn't have that "industrial" tie I'm looking for, and is a bit of a safe choice.

A final contender: Restoration Hardware $169
Me Likey: The swivel wood seat. Brings in that wooden, vintage feel to tie in the antiques and add warmth to the kitchen, while keeping the industrial vibe I so adore. Adds dimensions of the black colored oiled bronze we have going on in each of the adjoining rooms. The metal accents would tie nicely with the stainless steel in the kitchen and it would contrast nicely with the dark wood floors and white kitchen cabinets and walls. Overall, my favorite for its balancing act of price, requirements, and aesthetics.
Not So Much: The max height is 25.5 inches and I'm worried about how sturdy it is "under pressure" at that or at 24 inches high. It's RH, so the quality should be great, but you never know. The seat diameter is 13 inches. That's a lot of possible rumpus hanging off the edges.

The choices are maddening!!! So now that you've seen all the finalists in the line up, which one would you go with?


  1. When choosing stools, I think it is important to think about the comfort of the bar for your feet. A sharp, thin crossbar hurts bare feet or even feet with slippers. For that reason, I would pass on the metal stools and choose the wood. I like the dark color, too except it may blend into the floor too much.

  2. I agree with the wood stools, but I like that distressed wood look. I often find myself sitting at friends' kitchen counters for hours and a comfortable chair is key!

  3. Hate to complicate things for you but consider something with back support. Otherwise, you will rue the day you chose style over comfort.

  4. I'm loving the Lyons one, especially the idea of painting it a cool color. I think that with some color, it might gain some of that warmth you want. I love the wood ones you picked, but like Kathy mentioned, it might blend into your floors too much.

  5. i agree that going for look over comfort will defeat the entire purpose. The kitchen brings memories of family, togetherness, making rice krispie treats with your child with Iz playing in the get the idea. That island will be where you all sit and discuss the important things in life: family, friends, food, all while sipping coffee or hot cocoa.