June 1, 2010

The Chic Swivel Chair: a key to the multi-function room

Is the formal living room a thing of the past? My clients want to get as much use as possible out of every corner of their homes.  So, why save prime interior real estate for “special occasions”?

More than ever, I’m mixing functions in what is often the roomiest, prettiest and most comfortable space in the house.  The old idea of setting aside a formal living room, and having a little TV room somewhere is getting pretty old!

The flat TV has been instrumental in pushing this trend forward. But there’s been a less conspicuous player that is …shall we say,  PIVOTAL in making this type of room work…The  fun – beautiful – versatile – functional 


This is the Orion Swivel, from KCC Modern Living.  Jensen Lewis carries this style.  I like the mix of straight and curved lines.  The size is ample for sitting, and yet compact.orion swivel kccmodernlivingORANGEORIONCHAIRSlkrutjpj0w39476gpnw9485n48o56ngv93845mf;e94tunvp9w867gb48y

Interior Design 101:

A room  designed strictly for television viewing, will have all of the seating oriented toward the TV.

If a room is meant to be used for socializing, then the goal is to create cozy inward facing conversation areas.

If you’re trying to mix it up, most likely, you will need a swivel chair or two, so you can go from inward facing socializing, to outward facing TV watching, without a neck injury!

Here are a few modern swivels. Some are very charming, some are modern classics, some are just oh-so comfy.   One thing they have in common, is that in keeping with the philosophy behind most modern design..”form follows function”  In other words, they LOOK like swivel chairs.

This is a swivel that’s big enough for two (51″ round!), which I think makes it pretty unique.  It’s called the Eos, and it’s from Room and Board.



The stylish swivel chairs below are (clockwise) from Room Room and Board the Sutro, from Knoll, the Durso,  from Ikea the Karlstad, and from Design Within Reach the Egg Chair.

sutro r and bdurso-swivel-chair_2 knoll

egg chai dwr blackkarlstad
BLACKCHAIRANDORANGEKARLSTADsli4ur0n345yuo4yv5l845yv8y45vbo93 y5i5ut
Aren’t these fun? They’re The Question Mark Chair from Tonon Italia.  If they don’t work out inside, you can always plant them in the garden, and see if they grow!tononitalia-chair-question-mark-1 trendir
A little history, just for the fun of it!

The Eames Lounger, introduced in 1958, has been in production, and selling well ever since.  Since the television was not a major factor in home planning at the time, I suppose the new open floor plan concept in residential design may have been the impetus for putting a swivel on this gorgeous comfortable chair.

If you can get your hands on an old one in decent condition, go for it!  New ones are available through Room and Board.


Here’s the 1966 brochure for the Time Life Executive Chair from Hermann Miller.  The only major change on the current model is that it has five feet on the swivel base, instead of four (more stable)  Now, as then, this chair is a symbol of power, high status and gravitas in the the world of business.

I for one, would love to have four of them around a game table!  You can see that I’m just not that serious!! ( I got no gravitas!) I’d rather play games, than do business…in a really comfortable, supportive modern classic chair.

exective time life chair by eames for herman miller 1966 brochurefive leg exec chair

Where would interior design be today without these two geniuses of modern furniture design? Below is the Eames Soft Pad (so comfy and elegant) and the lovely Saarinen Tulip Chair. Both swivel, both look great in almost any setting.
Eames EA208 Softpad Swivel Chair 1969saarinen_tulip_chair

Okay, we’ve got an American! And a genius of twentieth century modern furniture design! Milo Baughman spent most of his career designing for Thayer-Coggin (from 1953 to 2003)  Among his many iconic, (very often copied) designs is  this classic modern take on a swivel tub chair. This is VERY close to the chairs my Mom had in our living room in the 1970’s, earth tone stripe and all! What a trip!
Milo Baughman forThayer Coggin Inc.

Montgomery Ward, 1975, The Gyro Chair! This one tickles my memory (and my funny bone!) too. I’m pretty sure one of my hipper friends had this in her bedroom. So cool!  I suddenly feel like listening to my old Neil Diamond records…weird.   If anyone still has one of these, I’d love to know about it!
Gyrochair mont ward 1975

Secret Swivels

Modern isn’t for everyone.  This makes my job so much fun, as I’m a design omnivore!

Here are some very classic, traditional chairs that HIDE their swivels.  They disguise themselves as mere objects of luxury, but are in fact eminently practical.

This perfectly proportioned tufted chair from Duralee (available from GaitaInteriors) would feel right at home in the most formal room imaginable, but is SO COMFORTABLE, and of course, swivel-able.

duralee tuscany

The four swivel chairs below are from (clockwise) Pearson, Kravet, Pearson and Kravet.  All are available through Gaita Interiors.

pearsonmajorca swivel kravet

PEARSONBLUESWIVELANDKRAVETMAJORCAlowpetite serenade chair4i5r0gw39475utnvw9p847towgn475v938v7

This is personal favorite of mine from Kravet. It could double as a game chair, and a lounge chair. I think the transitional lines are very beautiful, the proportions are just right, and it’s very comfortable.  It could take almost any fabric treatment, and fit into almost any setting.. Just great!tarragone skirted shair

So get yourself out of that tiny TV nook, (turn it into a pantry!)  get rid of the velvet rope, and start using your LIVING ROOM to live in!


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