Yes, so soon. Given our track record on deciding on our new dining room table, we've been positively speedy finding, agreeing on and ordering chairs to go with it. How quickly we agreed surprised us both - there's hope for us yet!
We knew that our current chairs - mahogany effect and very traditional - just wouldn't go with our new, sleek white glass table, and neither of us were keen to make do with them for longer than we needed to. So before we started to look at the installations from Lumiere London we headed over to the furniture shops on Tottenham Court Road to see what we could find.
To make things harder we weren't sure what we wanted either. No checklist or criteria this time. Well, almost. We knew we didn't want a high backed leather-style chair, but that was about it. We started in West Elm, well any chance for a look around. It was promising to see a wooden chair with a glass table, but we didn't think this would work so well with a white glass table.
The metal and wood mix on the right above did make us think, but again not to go with the table we've ordered. Onto the next shop.
We stepped into Lom Bok and I was immediately drawn to the black chair below, the shape of which is a long term favourite. We liked the black and it ticked the box of going with the table, but I didn't like the seat cushion material. MOH, who's never really been a fan of this style of chair refused to like anything about them. I recognised this wasn't the time to fight for them, and I'll save those for another time somewhere down the line.
The reclaimed teak chairs on the right above were lovely; they would have gone with our reclaimed teak unit (this one) so we wouldn't be introducing yet another wood into the room, but we decided they were too chunky for a glass table. They were very chunky and heavy and beautiful chairs, but not for us.
The next stop on our route was Dwell. Here we saw the replica Eames chairs, which we both liked. But we weren't sure as we thought we didn't want a solid backed chair. But they are gorgeous chairs so we had to take a look.
MOH, who took on the role as chief comfort tester for the day gave them the ok, saying they were much comfier than he expected. They were much cheaper than the chairs we'd looked at so far, so that left us with a question about if they'd last. We ruled out the clear chair as while it is lovely, can you just imagine the fingerprints on it and the amount of cleaning it'd need to stay looking so good.
So onto Heals, which I'm sure you'll recognise as a very dangerous shop. Usually we limit ourselves to the ground floor as there's only so much damage we can manage on one floor. As soon as we walked in though, look at what we saw:
There was no escaping these Eames DSW chairs. We were both smitten. And clearly it showed, as a rather keen young saleswoman took it upon herself to practice her sales technique. It was quite sweet really and we played along, getting the spiel and trying all sorts of chairs in the same style - including the one that looked like it was made from a shopping basket, which the king of comfort passed as ok, only for me to rule it out because it didn't come with the light maple legs. Sometimes you just have to use that veto!
We broke our rule and went up to the second floor, to see if the colours they stocked matched what we were after. Not that we knew what that was. So we spent some time with the samples, and a new salesman asking sensible questions like the height of the chairs, the lead times and such like. By the time we left we knew we would be buying the DSW Eames shaped chair. But in what colour, or colours?
My next job was to work on MOH and embed the idea of more than one colour chair to go around our table. We knew the sale ends on January 31 and there's really no better time to buy from Heals as when there's a sale on, is there. We left pondering colours - yes I got him to agree to two colours fairly easily, and where we would buy them from.
This last weekend we got to think about logistics. We knew our new table was 75cm high and we thought the chairs were 43cm high, however on the website it said they were 41cm - and it seems that 2cm can make quite a bit of difference. We weren't sure enough to order them online, or by phone so on Sunday (and full of cold) we headed back to the West End for some more pertinent questioning.
We quickly learnt that the Vitra DSW Eames chairs now come in a new height of 43cm (so we weren't imagining that) because, well we're generally taller than we were in the 1950s and tables are now standardising at 75cm instead of 73cm or lower. Interesting hey? And yet another time when you'll become expert in a chosen subject, although to be fair chair and table heights is better than plumbing and kitchen unit placement!
With the height question resolved - which did involve me checking the showroom for a table that was 75cm high and persuading MOH to bring the nearest chair, from off the display so we could try it for size. Well, we needed to be sure! Then it came to choosing colours. By now I'd mooted the idea of three separate colours and I think I'd got away with it. Although every time I asked MOH what colour he wanted, he insisted on saying Red. As I was keen on White and a Teal Blue (called Ocean) I wasn't so keen as to me, it was a bit Brit Pop.
So we settled in with the samples to work out which we'd go for. And as you can see, the red was well and truly hidden!
The salesmen I think knew MOH didn't have a strong hand with the red insistence, so scurried off to find us a coffee and then left us to it. And finally we made our decision: 2 x Mustard, 2 x Ocean and 2 x White (and no red in sight). And if we're lucky they should be with us a week or so after the table.
Exciting times, but that waiting just got twice as bad!