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The Second Coming Of The Wood Bar Stool

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Submitted by: Marc Hardey

Unlike its overpriced, designer, leather, vinyl, or hard plastic-trimmed counterparts, the wood bar stool unfortunately does not enjoy the degree of affection and admiration due it. Neither does it attract any of the snobby, pseudo-intellectual comments usually directed to its spidery chrome counterpart. Traditionally, the wood bar stool has been the preserve of old man pubs, sports bars, and home dining room breakfast counters amongst the aspiring middle classes. As a result, we may blame upon wood bar stools the mock, ridicule, and derision which bar stools in general have had to endure since the 1990s. How many times have we been in the furniture department of Walmart or Target only to hear some guy – in a voluminous tracksuit, sporting a crew cut and titanium-rimmed specs – cast a sorry but scornful look at some poor, defenseless wood bar stool, shake his head, and say loudly, “Oh my god! Check it out, man. Wood bar stools! That is so ’80s!”

Yee-ha!

But who, pray tell, was originally responsible for the homemade interior design travesty that was and could once again be the wood bar stool? In many countries around the western world, particularly with the rise of suburbia, people looked for the supposedly “exotic” in design, presumably to offset the boredom of their surrounding environment, their dull routines, and their drab lives. And so it was that an endless parade of exotic designs became the American home – the faux Mediterranean house, the Ranch style bungalow with its token half-buried wagon wheel in the side garden, and the hacienda style four-bedroom villa, with its arched straw double doorway and those bits of brown wood that stick out the walls to try and make your neighbors think that you live in Mexico instead of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Then, the home bar and the kitchen breakfast counter were introduced, and the wood bar stool became the essential furniture to complement the lavish, over-the-top fittings. The wood bar stool also helped reinforce the whole rustic western cowboy theme.

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Back from the Grave

So the vilification of the wood bar stool is not without justification. As we have pointed out before, style and chic do not lie in the properties of the material but in the hands of the designer. And boy, have today’s designers been doing their work to frantically dig out the wood bar stool out of the furniture design cemetery! The effort put in resurrecting the wood bar stool have been noble and nothing short of heroic. Expensive wooden fixtures such as oak wood flooring, beech wood wall paneling, and redwood ceilings, to name a few, have been shamelessly introduced and presented by many an interior designer to happily accommodate the wood bar stool.

Surprisingly, though, the wood bar stool is a bit of a novelty, if you really stop and take a good long look at it. It’s fresh, original, and, if made of high quality wood, quite classy. With a matching counter or bar made of equally good wood and a nice, sparkling hardwood floor, you can have a rather festive saloon right in your very own home. You might want to forego the tacky swinging doors, though. You can only go so far with the wood bar stool.

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