Monday, May 2, 2011

Settle into a Settee

Cristina and Chris Cuomo's house in the Hamptons via Elle Decor
A settee was originally defined as two seats, one set of arms.  It's earliest forms in the 1600's most resembled a double chair with a high back, but looked more like a bench.  These were commonly used for women to sit in formal living rooms; they did not have much cushioning and thus were not very comfortable (imagine sitting on a hard bench in a tightly bound corset for hours!).

Peacock settee in a French style
1780 Dutch antique sette 
(Van Nie Aniquiars)

In the 18th century settees began to take on a much more comfortable form with cushioned seating, splendid upholstery, and intricate woodwork.  There are a variety of European styles from French, Turkish, and Dutch, but no matter what type you prefer, their size makes them perfect for smaller living rooms or an alternative to a second couch in a very open living space.  I like to place them in smaller spaces, framed by a window. They are great pieces to seek out at flea markets because if you like the shape and size, recovering them with a fabric of your choice is a fun way to make it your own.  We have a vintage French settee in a sage green linen our bedroom in front of a big window.  It's the perfect spot to wrap up in a blanket and read on a rainy day.  Here are a few others I am inspired by for our first house.

Bedroom by Celerie Kemble


linen settee
(Country Living)


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