Patterson Bench

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Sometimes a piece of furniture is a work of art. You keep it in your home not because it's practical but because it's beautiful, or because it has special meaning for you.

(For instance, although we live in very tight quarters and have mixed feelings about knick knacks, we've set aside space for a Victorian bric-a-brac shelf because it belonged to a beloved grandparent.)

The Patterson Bench, even though it has no sentimental value, falls into this category for us. It's just a lovely and amazing thing.

Its basic design (a one-armed, spindled bench built with just one seat) evokes an antique featured in Blue and White Japan, and may have some function that's lost in translation. No matter, we can think of many ways to use that spot next to the carved seat. A pile of reading material, a basket of knitting, a pillow for the cat. If we had a foyer to speak of we'd place it there: a very special spot for a sit-down-drop-your-bags-and-pull-off-your-shoes-moment after a long day.

The model pictured is made of solid walnut with ebony joinery and is $2,900 through Silho Furniture. Enough cash to make it a sentimental treasure. Custom sizes and woods are also available.