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Finding right kitchen stools to fit room

The Baltimore Sun

Our renovated kitchen includes off-white wooden cabinets, dark granite countertops and ceramic-paver flooring. Now we're looking for stools to go with a maple-topped island.

We'd like to add wooden pieces, but the ones we've seen look like they belong in a bar.

Can you suggest where to find some graceful wooden stools that will fit in a small space?

The market will supply what consumers demand, we're always being told. But that doesn't seem to hold true for situations such as the one you're describing.

Why do so many readers complain about how hard it is to find good-looking, small-scale tables, cabinets and seating pieces?

A few manufacturers do respond to this need; it's just that they're generally not well-known. Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers, for example, a company based in Freeport, Maine, has been producing craftsman-quality furniture since the 1970s.

Among the pieces available through the company's Web site ( and at showrooms in some major U.S. cities are wooden stools in various styles. The kitchen seen here appears similar in layout and design to your own.

What unifies this grouping is the distinctively American styling of each of the pieces. And wooden stools do serve as welcome additions in contemporary settings that could use some warmth and homeyness.

It's also a pleasure to touch these contoured cherry wood saddles. We want to create an exotic look in a small room next to our bedroom, which is furnished in minimalist style. We envision this hideaway as a place for reading and watching television. Can you suggest a direction for the design?

Your plan appeals to me, partly because the minimalist style can start to look painfully plain after a while.

One possibility to consider is the sort of setting that in 1930s Hollywood was referred to as a Turkish Corner. It typically contained a pile of Oriental rugs and a mattress barely above floor level covered in paisley shawls and multicolored tasseled pillows. A Turkish Corner also would include a couple of low tables and an ottoman or two.

All that may be a bit much for the tastes of even those grown weary of minimalism. So perhaps a less-embellished setting will seem more appropriate.

Consider a Chinese-inspired teak daybed with multicolored silk pillows and mattress cover akin to the coverings found in a Turkish Corner.

Chinese garden stools can be used as tables in a small space such as this one. An Asian altar table for lighting and accessories also would fit nicely. And in your specific situation, some low bookcases in black finish could be introduced as well.

Add Pergo synthetic wood flooring in a color that resembles mahogany. The laminate planks simply snap together without glue or nails.

Rita St. Clair is a Baltimore-based interior designer. Readers with general interior design questions can e-mail her at

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