stool of thought

July 16th 2013 Comments: 3 Topics: , , ,

At it’s base, design is truly defined as taking an ordinary purposed object and, by creative rethinking, transforming and elevating it to a thing of beauty.

That’s precisely why we architects and designers exist as a profession. After all, just about anyone can draft a house – a room – a chair; that’s base vocational training. When sculpture results in the manufacture of the everyday, then shelter and gear venture into the realm of art.

Take the kitchen stool – one of the most mundane pieces of furniture in the modern home and probably one of the most used. A nod to the age-old saloon bar stool, this type of seating offers comfort to the casual visitor, the cereal eater or the scholarly homeworker. The following are some examples where we’ve taken the lowly perch to new heights.


Two examples of our manufactured upholstery bar seating: the aptly named “bongo stool”, a tallish take on the common ottoman, and the dining bench, inspired by the bygone automotive bench seat. Both of the are available through McAlpine Home from Lee Industries.


These industrial office chairs found in the catacombs of the Paris Flea Market were re-purposed around an oak island of our design.  Their adjustable height capabilities adapted perfectly for counter-height dimensions.

Bobby McAlpine’s Nashville kitchen was a showcase for his designs for MacRrae including these goat-hair covered bar stools. Take note of the hardware on the stool’s low back, a necessary handle allowing the user to pull it away from the bar thereby keeping potentially soiled hands off the upholstery.

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A dressier version of the bar seat, this one, designed by McAlpine Booth & Ferrier, coquettishly flirts in her tailored mini-skirt.


The steampunk-ish island in Greg Tankersley’s Manhattan kitchen has it’s own built-in cantilevered seat. This industrial rolling piece was manufactured by the amazing artisans at Herndon & Merry.

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Many new stylish wood bar stools are now available.  This armed English version boasts a sensually carved shield back.


Because of the elevated height of the working kitchen counter, a raised seat is necessary.  In this clever adaptation, Ray Booth took an antique dining chair and simply added an elevated seat cushion – an adult version of the booster seat!

Greg Tankersley, for McAlpine Tankersley Architecture


  1. The Manhattan island cum seat and antique Italian work stools are my favorites!

  2. Susan S says:

    Here’s to hoisting!

  3. katrinac81 says:

    Wow – I’m loving the Bongo Stools. I’ve never seen anything like them! An upholstered stool seems so unexpected and fresh.

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