No rustic chic interior would be complete without a classic wing chair or two. But to be useful as well as decorative, wing chairs have to be inviting, enveloping and commodious. They have to coddle you in their embrace, seduce you to take a break and sink into it their waiting arms.
As we all know the wings (or as some call them, blinders) on the upper sections of a wing chair were meant to keep air drafts at bay as you unwound by the tavern’s hearth and sipped your stein of beer while the blacksmith re-shoed Old Paint. Wing chairs will always be in style, but we’re not talking here about your grammy’s fusty, musty, dusty and crusty, knobby-kneed Queen Anne wing chair. We’re talking the straight-up, no-nonsense, tailored variety that would appeal to Cooper, Gable and Grant.
Wing chairs are at their best when they’re upholstered in simple, plain and honest fabrics. The photo at the top shows one of a pair in our barn that I upholstered in a beautiful cocoa-colored alpaca velvet. Another key to making the wing chair relevant today, in addition to strong, simple lines, is upholstering it “clean” – that means no welts, trims or other bells and whistles. And ditch the black watch plaid wool upholstery for wing chairs – that’s yesterday’s snooze.
One of the most successful wing chairs available today is the Hudson Valley Wing Chair from Ralph Lauren Home shown below (www.ralphlauren.com). It’s big, it’s bold and it’s ready to give you a full-nelson hug. I really like the simple linen stripe upholstery shown here. This wing chair is perfect for those cozy nights by the fire.
I have to hand it to Restoration Hardware these days (www.restorationhardware.com). I really like their Belgian vibe and I think this is one of the sharpest wing chairs out there. It’s not huge but I like the proportions just the same and the flathead upholsterer’s nail detail is one of the best parts about it. They also got it right with their wide assortment of plain greige linens for upholstery.
And in a nod to the ladies, how about this one from Woodson and Rummerfield’s House of Design (www.wandrdesign.com) upholstered in the great “picture frame” print from Schumacher (www.fschumacher.com)? This would be great in an all-grey or all-pink room. I really like the sweeping fan shape to the back and that print works so well on it. Notice how they gave it just enough dramatic sweep so they didn’t have to seam the inside back?
And if you have to go mod, how about this Zero Gravity guy from www.deeplymadlyliving.com? This would definitely work in a rustic chic interior. The key here is to keep that wood grain detailing and supple leather upholstery.
I designed this wing chair especially to use at my desk. I call him the “Papa Bear” chair. He’s covered in plain greige Belgian linen and detailed without fuss or muss. High, wide and handsome, this wing chair is very rustic chic.