A chair fit for a King (or Queen)

With a new office to decorate, lately I've found myself spending hours seeking out the perfect chairs for the space.And while shopping for seating for a private home brings its own perils, I've discovered just how challenging the selection process for commercial use can be.

Slipper Chair. Designed by Terence Harold (T.H.) Robsjohn-Gibbings. Available at Todd Merrill Antiques. Materials: leather, wood.

First, a little back story...

We recently leased a gorgeous office in an upscale part of the city. It's a corner unit with high ceilings and hardwood floors. It is the ideal blank canvas every designer dreams of.

From the beginning, I've been focused on obtaining a pair of slipper chairs for our client seating area. This is a sunny little space where we'll review our client portfolio with potential clients and discuss progress with current ones. We are in the style business, so while the chairs need to offer comfort they must reinforce the polished look we aim to deliver on each project.

Appearances aside, the armless nature of the chairs lend an undeniable level of versatility. The current movement towards the oversized seat means that in a pinch two people could share a seat. That's the kind of flexibility I can't afford to ignore. But slipper chairs? Yes. Once relegated to the bedroom, these glamorous pieces are becoming statement pieces in some of the world's most stylish spaces. Pick up any current shelter magazine and you'll see them everywhere. The slipper chair has emerged from the boudoir and shows no signs of retreat.

We have legendary decorator Billy Baldwin to thank for our modern version of these chairs. He transformed what was once a heavily embellished chair into a sleek, modern piece of furniture that could be used effectively in any space. Goodbye Victorian formality. Hello 50's modern.


Pair slipper chairs by T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings. Ebonized frame, newly upholstered in sumptuous ivory leather. Deep, generous proportions make these chairs exceptionally comfortable.

Popularity has brought both new interpretations and as well as demand for classics. Take for example this classic pair of Robsjohn-Gibbings slipper chairs. And top interior designers are celebrating their comeback. The New York Times recently asked Mario Butta for his take on the trend:

''I've used slipper chairs in all kinds of rooms for years,'' says Mario Buatta. ''Not only do they ï¬t into funny places where it would be hard to put a full-sized chair, they're also charming. Besides, I've also noticed kids like them. When they sit in a slipper chair, they feel big and deï¬nitely grown-up.''

Maybe that is part of the appeal. These remarkable chairs seem playful and serious at the same time. It is our professional office after all, but that doesn't mean it can't be our design playground. In fact, it should offer unquestionable evidence of our personal style.

So while my hunt for the perfect pair of slipper chairs continues, I can relax knowing that my options are limited only by my imagination and our design budget. Thank you Billy Baldwin for launching another unstoppable style movement. If their current widespread appeal is an indication, this iconic look is here to stay.

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