Friday, October 12, 2012

another episode of decorating indecision

I told you there would be more decision-making angst.

So I'm working on the prep table/island/thing for the kitchen. I showed you my (most recent) inspiration picture:

I shall detail the great process that brought the table about when the table is entirely finished, and we can be confident that it has, in fact, reached its final stage of evolution.  For purposes of the present agony of decision, suffice it to say that I shall have a small work table on one side of the kitchen.  It will be mobile and easy to disassemble, so that it can be gotten out of the way relatively easily.  And it will have two stools, which will tuck under it when not being sat upon, so that they take up the least space possible.

But which stools?

For many moons, I have been in love with the iconic Tolix Marais stool.  The original Tolix Marais chair was designed by Xavier Pauchard for Tolix in 1934, and looks like this:

It comes in lots of colors - this is the clear-coated galvanized steel, which is the classic and also my favorite.  (You can read more about its history here if you are interested.)  And you can still buy one (at Design Within Reach, among other places) for about $250.  Once you know what it looks like, you'll see it cropping up everywhere.  These are two of a legion, from houzz:

There is also an iconic Tolix stool (which is also about $250):

Of course, after this much time, as you would expect, there are also knockoffs.  Shockingly, Ikea doesn't offer one yet.  But Overstock does.  It's called the Tabouret stool, and you can buy them at counter-height (what I will need for my table) for $80 for two.  Not bad, eh?  They come in a powder-coated dull silver paint finish, rather than the galvanized steel, but they look nice, too:

(And Overstock would like you to know that they're stackable.)  Oh, Overstock also sells this adorable option for $80, but it only comes in a 19" seat height (that's tall enough to sit an an ordinary-height table), which will not work for me:

So, I had an option.  But I kept reading about people who picked up both of their industrial-style (not necessarily Tolix Marais) stools for $10 each at someone's garage sale.  I never find any good furniture at garage sales!  So I had to keep looking.  And then, while I was still in the pondering stage, I was walking through Ikea's kitchen showroom, and I nearly tripped over this:

They had actually stained it a darker color (not an option you can buy, but I think I could re-stain it).  They're $40 each - so, the same as the Overstock stools.  I checked its tag, and it was solid wood.  And 24" high - that's counter-height!  And, as you may recall, I have these very tall cabinets.  What if I could have stools tucked under the table that did double duty between seats at the table and stepstools to get into the cabinets?

This opened up a whole new world of possibilities.  But...I was still thinking it would be nice to get my two stools for less than $80.  So, I scoured craigslist for weeks.  Oddly, I found a dearth of stepstools.  I checked through the home improvement stores' websites.  Not a lot of 24" stepladders, and what they had was well over $40, and generally in screamingly loud colors of fiberglass.  Hmm.  And then, one fine day last week, I took a look at the True Value website, and found this:

OK, that's a lousy photo.  But it's a 24" ladder.  It looks to me like it's unfinished, which would make it way easier to stain than the Ikea one.  I think you can tell just by looking that it's much more sturdily built, too.  And, they're just $26 each.  Plus there's a coupon.

I was thinking I could stain the steps dark and paint everything else white.  Maybe.  I haven't decided.  Of course, now that I've found it, I've suddenly decided that maybe $52 is too much for two stools.  (Also, my DH is not sold on this idea, but I think he just can't picture what they'd look like when they were finished.  Possibly.)

So now I am, once again, at a point of indecision.  Thoughts?  Sources of stools that I've missed?


  1. I like the Tolix stool. Not a fan of the wood step stool, they are not that comfortable to sit on.

  2. The only issue I see is that the top of the stepstool is fairly narrow and does appear not particularly comfortable for sitting for any significant length of time. I think they could be painted/stained/altered to fit very well into your chosen decor. But not something I would enjoy being offered to sit on as a guest. I do like the look of the ones from overstock and think they would be more comfortable (especially with a pillow with ties).