Woolly Chairs

woolly chairs

It’s oddly relevant to this story that my mother’s pure Icelandic lineage has been carefully recorded and passed along since 600 AD. The countryside in Iceland has always been filled with sheep, which they pronounce ‘seeps’, something I find charmingly amusing. Scandinavian culture has much to do with seeps and wool. Thus, the hot trend for Scandinavian style chairs covered in woolly upholstery strikes me as both culturally organic and touching. Long hair, curly hair or woven with a loopy texture, the upholstery can be genuine hide or a woven blend of wool with linen, viscose or polyester. The wool content gives it the loft, the textile term for volume.

Holly Hunt and Lelievre
Photo of fabrics courtesy Holly Hunt and Lelievre
The chair frames for this look are mid-century in styling and rounded in contour. The colours are mostly the natural shades of wool from creamy white to grey and dark taupe. But there are a few deeply coloured long haired versions like the blue chair that I absolutely fell in love with shown further along.
Danish easy chair, blush sheepskin
Danish easy chair, blush sheepskin
The other colour exception, pink boucle (loopy texture), must wait for my next article that will cover modern woolly seating. That’s the second direction for this highly charged design trend. The Scandinavian chairs are the heartwarming vintage version, like this Danish blush coloured fur easy chair. The modern blob chairs are the leading-edge world class design look. Trust me, we will be seeing this texture all over the place.
Toast coloured klysmos chair on stained wood legs
Toast coloured klysmos chair on stained wood legs
This is the perfect re-do for a vintage chair that might be in your possession. These pieces are so much fun. Brace up, though. The fabric is costly, but the effect is worth every penny! It’s sure to be claimed by the family pet who will be perfectly delighted with you for providing an ideal napping spot, including the two-legged one aka Father. Luckily wool is naturally stain resistant and easy to spot clean. It’s as fire proof as any textile treated with fire retardant chemicals too.
Blue wool ‘fur’ chair and Boussac fabrics
Blue wool ‘fur’ chair and Boussac fabrics
A light chair with tall splayed metal legs can pull up wherever an extra seat is needed. The contrast between a big fluffy body and skinny legs is endearing. There is a wonderful version of this long hair fabric in ivory, gray and black at Boussac.
Off White klysmos chair
Off White Klysmos Chair
Introduced in Copenhagen in 1938, garnering numerous awards worldwide, this substantial little armchair called Little Petra is also in the Klysmos style, characterized by an uplifted crescent-shaped back. All the chair photographs in this article have been taken from 1st Dibs where you’ll find many more examples.
Pair of grey-beige Finnish chairs
Pair of grey-beige Finnish chairs
The Finnish chairs are from the 1930’s and have a wonderful rounded contour. The rounded shape, as I’ve been reporting, has taken over from the square one.
Ring base chairs with sheepskin upholstery
Ring base chairs with sheepskin upholstery
A little riskier but very clever are stronger modern sixties styles given the woolly chair treatment like this pair of ring-based chairs, an ideal spot for two people to sit while comparing impressions of a modern painting, cocktails in hand.
Natural wool coloured wing chair
Natural Wool Coloured Wing Chair
The vintage Scandinavian wing chair has a more curvilinear shape than its English counterpart. This is the wing chair shape currently popular in designer furniture. A large chair covered with curly fur is a reading chair superbe. Slide in a sideways U-shaped metal table to hold a computer or journal and you have a writing chair, an ideal place for creating these blogs, that take far more time than they ought.
Icelandic landscape with sheep
Icelandic Landscape With Sheep
While a woolly lounge chair is on my wish list, I’m eyeing my Swedish-style chaise for a re-do. You’ll see lounges, sofas and chaises next, along with fabrics selected from the leading textile houses, in a post featuring the latest seating and wool boucle. Pronounced boo-clay. That’s French for loop, Cheri, or should I say Elskan. That’s Icelandic for Darling!

View Comments (4)
  • Hi Lois, you do have beautiful taste and I love the look of this – but I am concerned – at what price? Showing people lovely things and creating demand needs assurances that our behaviors are humane and not just human. While they are “just” animals, how we treat them can make us worse. Please ensure that the wool sourced is from “kind” farmers, please take a look at many of the treatments including Mulesing that need to be stopped – but I guess as this is “sheep skin” the animal has been killed so that we can sit on it. Supply chain risks are business risks

    • As a lifelong vegetarian I sympathize with your heartfelt concern. You have raised an important question. I was reading how small independent farmers worldwide prized Icelandic sheep for milk, wool and meat. But a friend just shared disturbing reports of cruel sheep shearing. The firms who work exclusively with designers generally take pride in quality and ethical practices, as research into any of the houses referenced in these articles would surely confirm. Thank you for making me aware of this issue. Note that I featured fabrics woven with wool to replicate fur which would be my personal choice.

  • These woolly chairs are fabulous and super-cozy looking!. I love the ring-base round version, decadent, modern yet so functional and warm. Perfect pairings for our Canadian climate, I am sure the trend will take flight! Thank you Lois for another innovative article, keeping us all current and in the loop!

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