All Propped Up And Sitting Pretty: Upholstered Ottomans, Footstools and Benches

Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches are not merely an all propped up and sitting pretty home furnishings accent piece anymore.

Chinoiserie-upholstered-ottomanNew England Home

Now for a few words of ottoman wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld:


“I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?”


Style and taste answered the call from function, comfort and storage with a big hello, decoristas.  I’m listening!  There has been a palpable shift towards a broader use of upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches over the last few seasons and trends.  Thank goodness the furniture designers and home furnishings world is answering the call with gorgeous offerings in a wide range of style, shape and fabric selections.  Non-traditional placement accompanies this look with a blended balance starring pattern, color, form and the crucial decorative eye candy, the mixing of styles. 


A gorgeous first impression in your entry or foyer whets the appetite for the interior design and decorating curious.  Never discount the power of the small space nor the big statement these areas of the home are capable of making.  An entry or foyer is such a space, and often the initial preview of the decorating style of the home.  The entry or foyer interior design and decorating layout is prime real estate for an upholstered ottoman(s), footstool or bench to call home.  A statement piece should be considered a decorative investment, a front and center accent designed to enhance the look you want to convey and placed to visually impress.


Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches crafted in wood and leather in shapes of round, square or rectangular, upholstered in designer fabric, chic upholstery patterns and textures or vintage textiles and tufted, embellished or trimmed to bespoke specifications define unique utility.


A cocktail ottoman well-placed in front of sofas, settees or stylish accent chairs can easily transition into the ultimate entertainment center. Coffee table, guest seating, cocktail station, game table, textile storage- an ottoman offers versatility and functionality with a sense of style and multipurpose. 


upholstered ottomans, footstools, and benchesDecorPad

Upholstered cocktail ottomans pull decorating double duty as both stylish accent piece and functional home furnishing.

upholstered-cocktail-ottomanWalter E. Smithe

upholstered-round-ottomanBetter Homes and Gardens

upholstered ottomanHome Bunch

I am a big fan of placing a matched pair of upholstered X-bench ottomans side by side, stepping back and letting the accomplished look produced and spot-on placement precision impress.  That is the visually rewarding moment in decorating we strive to reach.


Antique Russian benches upholstered in luxurious Fortuny fabric  become the focal point extraordinaire in polished pairing perfection by capturing the eye and complementing the accent palette through pattern and proportion.

antique-Russian-benchesAtlanta Homes & Lifestyles

In the world of decorating, two can be better than one.

upholstered-ottoman-matching-pairMy Design Chic

The bigger and bolder the statement the better.


lucite-ottomanTaylor King

dressing-rooms1, 2, 3, 4

Lovely, indeed, in European artisan splendor and simple elegance.

Swedish-ottoman-accentGoods Home Furnishings

Dave the Builder, DIY guy extraordinaire, walked in one afternoon and placed before me a salvaged antique burl walnut sewing cabinet with one drawer, porcelain castors, and no top.  My words said thank you, Dave, but my mind thought what in the world am I to do with this?  Dave proceeded to fill me in on his vision for this piece.  The “eyedea” was to have our upholsterer build a padded form to secure to the top to create a custom upholstered footstool.  The unforgiving lighting and cell phone image do not do the finished footstool justice, but trust me, the piece was a work of accent art.  It sold within a week of being introduced into inventory.  I regret not keeping it, but am currently on the hunt for another you say trash and I say treasure piece to repurpose into a footstool.


The thinking outside the design box treasures, the noteworthy accent pieces that accentuate our home decor choices and capture the essence of personal style with a “that’s it!” exclamation mark is what distinctive decorating is all about. Unique upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches definitely fall into that category.






*** this is a refreshed post ***

A Good Book: My Under the Weather Reading List

Read any good books lately?  As a matter of fact, I have read several over my week of recovery.


Reading is proving to be a fundamental part of my under the weather routine and with good reason.  A good book has the power to transform thought, enlighten the soul, teach the mind, lift the heart and take the reader on an all expenses paid trip to places and spaces through inspiration and imagination no plane, train or automobile can get us to.

Susan+Greenleaf+San+Francisco+Home+upholstered+BD2ig9bAH9TlDomaine via Lonny

First up on my under the weather reading list is Paris Flea Market Style by Claudia Strasser. The ooh la la factor and how to get it, emulate it, and incorporate it into our design and decor needs no introduction.


Love of family, faith, Louisiana and balancing a politically mixed marriage-I like the yin and yang world of Mary Matalin and James Carville that noticeably makes this political power couple tick.  Their this works for us attitude is the prominent feature in Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home.


A smart, funny read with witty observations that rate hilarious on the laugh-o-meter, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
by Mindy Kaling is a gem of a good read. This book accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do by taking the reader on a most entertaining ride with hilarity riding shotgun.


Veranda A Passion for Living: Houses of Style and Inspiration is a gorgeous review of gorgeous style from cover to cover! Beautiful addition to any bookshelf or coffee table.

Dave the Builder is embracing his role as runner, and I reassured him there is a beginning, middle and end to this new duty.  I like going to the neighborhood parish library to check out the new offerings and to check out books.  There are books that pique your interest but give pause to actually purchasing it for your home library.


Toni Braxton’s autobiography, Unbreak My Heart, has been on my check it out list for awhile now.  She’s a personality that flies under my radar most of the time, but I do love her voice and think her story will make for a good read.


What book is on your must read list?

Love your style!







Design Show and Tell

A wonderful opportunity and prospective client may be in my future. It is crazy busy, crazy beautiful at Places In The Home, and I’m loving every minute of it- multitasker extraordinaire that I am. The world of interior design and home decor is a beautiful place to resource in.  With swatches, fan decks, caffeine  patience, eye drops, and Tylenol keeping me company,  the moodboards and mock-ups featuring dining room tables and chairs are under design and decor construction. Dave the Builder knows it serious when I break out my readers. Love the world wide web contacts and convenience, but  computer time wreaks havoc with my eyes!  Anywho, the original concept for this blog remains near and dear to my heart- a design show and tell.

dining room tables and chairs

Be steel my heart!  On trend for 2013 is the mix and match styles of dining room tables and chairs. I discovered the decorative and design impact of this one afternoon at Hopefully Classic, details here. This option may not fly with the client(s), but I’m considering  these metal dining chairs from Masins Furniture Classics Metal Collection.

Masins Furniture metal chair

I have a vintage china cabinet with double arch pediment in storage that is a candidate for an update in the style of this Thomas bookcase in dark grey with antique pearl grey inside from Blanc d’Ivoire.

gray bookcase

The beautiful thing about sourcing for potential projects is I never get bored with it,  regardless of the outcome.  Keep plugging, keep sourcing, keep stylish, and keep beautiful- the mix and match of life and design.  I’ll share more later of this design show and tell project.

DIY Dining Room Chair Redo Considerations

DIY time is coming around again at Places In The Home.  DIY time is born out of I know exactly what piece, accessory or accent I want, but can’t find it necessity.  The following custom detail must have requirements apply as well to the diy dining room chair redo considerations checklist:

1. A supreme case of sticker shock aka having a there is no way  I’m paying that moment.

2. The piece would be perfect if only the finish was________  and the upholstery was________.

3. Not one nailhead in sight.

4. Dave the Builder’s mad building, refinishing and reupholstering skills.

Patience is the virtue of a determined interior designer and or do-it-yourself aficionado.  I try not to allow decorative compromise into my vocabulary.  Here at Chez Places In The Home the mantra remains have ideas, will repurpose redo-renovate-reupholster or re anything.  We like to “re” things.


This picture is about three years old, and the only one I can quickly locate showing the first of two sets of six dining chairs I have in my diy sights. The upholstered chairs around the oak dining table are one of Dave the Builder’s “you need to get these” fueled purchases.  On a antiques buying trip and between antiques shop and antiques auction shopping. Wait. Let me explain. Between antiques shop and antiques auction shopping is the time in our treasure hunting day before the antiques auction begins when we scope out antiques shops for shop ready to go pieces.  Time is money, and in many cases it’s a better deal for us to purchase shop ready to go pieces from fellow dealers.  Repair , refinishing and reupholstering costs can negate the deal you think you’ve gotten on a piece purchased at auction.

The Walnut set is Circa early 1900’s.  Each chair has decorative marquetry inlay with  mother of pearl below the arch.  I’ve lost count of how many times I have pulled them from inventory to use at home and added them back to the shop inventory.  Currently they are pulled and first in line for “re” consideration.


The second set of dining chairs under consideration presently reside in Dave’s man cave.  As you can see in the above image, this particular chair will require a fair amount of diy tender loving care.  Our dear friend and fellow antique dealer purchased a container of English antiques over ten years ago.  She hit the dining room chair mother load with this container- hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of dining chairs in the container. Dave the Builder swung by the shop to pick up a delivery and our friend asked him if he wanted a set of the chairs.  Yes!  Dave brought the chairs home and asked me the famous question, “do you think we can do anything with them?”  We can sure try!  Take it away, Annie Sloan chalk paint.

This product is the miracle worker.  Watch this video to meet Annie, her team, and see the product at her shop in Oxford, England.

I am still debating what color to go with. The options are beautiful and I do want to try and capture a French influence.   French Linen, Country Grey, Louis Blue or Paris Grey will be the most effective in doing so.  A half and half “recipe” may produce the desired color I have in mind for the chairs.  The colors mix well together to fine tune and produce the color which is best for your project.

This is what I have planned for the chairs. First and foremost, we will be de-Englishing the heck of these babies.  It will require removal of the ornamental “fan” wood pieces below the seat.

Some of the stretchers are missing, and in order to keep the integrity of the look we will have to replace all the stretchers.  On second thought, I may not even use stretchers on the redo.  Dave can remove the stretchers and if need smooth over the area with filler.  Did you notice the water damage on the front legs?  Fine sand paper and a KILZ stain blocker will fix that right up.  Although not always a necessary step, it makes me feel more secure to go ahead and do it in order to eliminate any bleed through.

What do we have here?  Nailheads make me happy (even the missing ones)!  I’ll soon share images to help show the general idea of where I’m going with this project.

Love your style!