11/24/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Guide to Wing Chairs

When I was growing up, my parents always had a pair of traditional wing chairs on either side of the fireplace. I remember they were frequently recovered when we moved to a new house, or when mom and dad were looking for a change (I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree). At the time, I thought wing chairs were old fashioned and uncool, but my opinion has changed significantly -- in part because today's furniture designers have taken this traditional form to a new level of chic. The first wing chairs were designed in the late 17th century to protect their occupants from cold drafts as they sat in front of the fireplace. Today a fireplace is not required to stage a handsome wing chair, just a desire to be open minded about taking an old form into the 21st century and beyond. Clearly, by the number of new wing-chairs being introduced to the market, there is still a strong demand for this graceful chair.