Design Classics: Ceramic Garden Stools

Earlier this week, you got a refresher course on the history of the Chinese garden stool. Easily movable, suitable for damp or dry areas, and a simple way to add color and shine to a room, the garden stool has moved beyond the outdoors to become a classic of twentieth century design.

Here are some rooms that show the garden stool in action and demonstrate just how versatile this piece can be.

TOP ROW:
1. In Grant Gibson's San Francisco home, a yellow garden stool injects a pop of energizing color.
2. Mike and Maddie put their garden stool to work in the bedroom. Sitting next to the nightstand, it keeps reading material and remotes within an arm's reach from the bed.
3. Scott's ceramic stools are tucked away under a console table, ready to provide extra seating in case of guests.
4. Richard Raymundo used six ceramic garden stools in this Manila apartment instead of the more traditional option of a single coffee table.
5. Sklya uses the stools as side tables in her living room, and she adds that with their aid as seating, she can comfortably fit ten people in her small, 425-sq. foot living space.

BOTTOM ROW:
6. In Charmaine and Mark's kids' bathroom, the garden stool provides seating while they tend to their kids in the bath.
7. Anthony Gianacakos cleverly turned a $20 Target stool upside down to create a chic, waterproof spot for umbrellas.
8. Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio, a master of color and pattern, put a ceramic stool to work in her bathroom, holding spare towels.
9. Lynn Morgan uses ceramic stools as clean-lined side tables in her Savannah row house. This is one example of how well the stools fit into a variety of decor styles, including a neutral, traditional setting.
10. Writers Tom Dolby and Drew Frist use a garden stool between two occasional chairs as a side table/ plant stand.

(Images: 1. Architectural Digest, 2. Mike and Maddie's Sweet Nothings, 3. Scott's Global Pop Art Pad, 4. Richard's Favour of Friendship, 5. Skyla's City Oasis, 6. Charmaine & Mark's Lovely, Lively Family Home, 7. Lonny Magazine, 8. The Glitter Guide, 9. House Beautiful, 10. Lonny Magazine)

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Carolyn is a freelance writer and photographer, as well as a lover of all things colorful and quirky. She grew up in Texas and settled in Chicago by way of L.A., England and Paris. Currently, she is a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology.

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