Klismos chairs work in living-dining room Design: Neo-classical pieces by Niermann Weeks do double duty: both around the dining table and next to upholstered seating.

December 14, 1997|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

I recently bought an American Federal-style round dining table, which, though not an antique, is at least 60 years old. The 52-inch-diameter rosewood top is supported by a large center pedestal. The table needs to seat six people in my apartment's L-shaped living/dining space, which is furnished in a combination of Regency pieces and what may be considered classic styles. Can you suggest chairs for the dining table? The Federal-type seating pieces I've seen are all heavier-looking and more formal than would be appropriate for my setting.

You should first consider what types of chairs can be easily integrated in comfort and style with the existing seating pieces in your apartment's living area. Besides blending thematically, the right kind of chairs can serve as pre- or post-dinner conversation seating when pulled up to the upholstered pieces.

If you're willing to take a slightly daring approach, I'd recommend a neo-classical design with a painted finish. The photo shows the sort of piece I've got in mind. It's made by Niermann Weeks, an Annapolis manufacturer of beautifully crafted, classically based furnishings. This particular piece is inspired by the klismos chair of ancient Greece.

Its seat is supported by four saber-style legs that arch to the rear to support a shoulder-height curved back panel. As the padding on that panel suggests, this modern version of the klismos chair has been styled for comfort as well as for form. Similarly, the painted wood finish makes the piece look lighter in scale and less formal than the classic on which it's based. In fact, the neo-classical version has clear similarities to Scandinavian design of the 19th century, and that may be why Niermann Weeks calls this the Gustavian Klismos Chair.

If something of this sort is to your liking, I suggest you choose a finish that will complement your rosewood dining table as well as the pieces in the living area. The fabric on the seat and back should also be appropriate for the overall setting -- which means selecting a classical design. A stripe, a small diamond pattern, or even a contemporary geometric would all do fine -- but, please, no florals or botanical prints.

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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