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Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools – Yes or No?

Domino (April) arrived over the weekend and I couldn’t help but feel left out of the hip ‘n trendy Chinese Garden Stool Club. Michael Bargo had one in a lovely green, the amazing Lulu de Kwiatkowski sported one in her home (in what appeared to be orange), Tom Scheerer incorporated a perky lime stool into the drinks table arrangement that he pulled together (in classic Scheerer style), and Jennifer Marsico had two white ones in her living room alone. But no worries my fellow design addicts. For as little as $69 USD, you can join the Garden Stool Club, too.
Here’s a floral ceramic stool used by Burnham Design in one of their rooms, it looks inspired by the Chinese garden seats, just a bit more dainty and detailed. I wasn’t able to find an exact copy of it, but if you spend some time on Google, I’m sure you’ll find something like it. Check with your local antiques dealer, too.

Why so appealing? They can do it all – the true multitaskers. They fuction as a foot rest, small table, plant stand, place for kitty to sit, or just for a little eye candy – a bright burst of color. They are also small enough to not give commitment phobes a showroom freak out, it’s just one itty bitty stool. Slightly larger than throw pillows. About the same price. We love a good ole barely-break-a-sweat purchase.

Also know as ‘tea stools’, ‘chinese stools’, and ‘porcelain garden seats’, the big sellers seem to be those in solid colors, circular, with intricate, but spare, cutouts (vs. the ornate hand-painted or square varieties). Although, I have to say that I love the hand-painted stools in blue and white, like the one shown a few images down from Wisteria for $179.

My #1 stop, Oriental DestinAsian on eBay. Prices range from $69-119 for solid colors in blues, greens, yellows, and of course, white. With a flat rate shipping anywhere in the U.S. for only $35, you can’t go wrong for a repro. Keep in mind that just like anything else, you can pay more and find something really unique and one-of-a-kind straight from artisians in China, or you can opt for reproduction pieces inspired by traditional Chinese garden seats if you’re on a limited budget.

Although the stools I’m seeing in magazines and designer’s portfolios aren’t nearly as ornate, if you love to mix things up, opt for handpainted or these cutout floral patterns from The Company Store ($108), or Mecox Gardens. For a one-of-a-kind seat, Red River Trading Co. in Boston’s South End has imported stools straight from Hunan, China. The two shown above in teal were handmade and fired in a kiln which means that are totally worth $350- each.

Try these gorgeous stools from Wisteria in your space. I can’t help but think they’d add that perfect touch. Or for ones with a bit more detail, go with these from Gumps of San Francisco.

Additional Ceramic Garden Stool resources: Tonic Home, Clipper Trading, even Pottery Barn is in on the trend with a Jade green stool for only $99. You can google for “Ceramic Garden Stools”, “tea stools”, “chinese stools”, and “porcelain garden seats”, and find hundreds of other sources. Use those as search words on eBay, too.

Can you spot them in these rooms? Some are much less obvious than others…

From: Domino, KWID, Kelly Proxmire, Todd Romano, Timothy Whealon, Kemble Interiors, Burham Design, and Kenneth Brown Design.

So what do you think – Are you into these, or do you run screaming in the opposite direction?

Posted by decor8 in trends on March 26, 2007

Your comments...

  1. scrappy girl commented
    March 26th, 2007 at 7:28pm

    Honestly, I really can’t get into those things. They don’t seem very comfortable. I look at them and my lower back hurts. But what do I know.

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  2. Rose Red commented
    March 26th, 2007 at 7:33pm

    I can’t get excited about them, nor can I hate them. They seem like a good idea, function-wise, then I look at them and they’re pretty, but when I see them in a room…eh. I can’t muster enthusiasm one way or the other.

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  3. jamie commented
    March 26th, 2007 at 9:27pm

    I like them! Horchow has some lovelies too!

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  4. Carlene commented
    March 26th, 2007 at 10:44pm

    I’m with rose red. They don’t really do anything for me. I think I saw a cinnabar one somewhere, and that was nice, but I can’t help thinking I would accidentally kick it or knock it over and break it.

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  5. Caroline commented
    March 26th, 2007 at 11:27pm

    I like them, I think partly because I grew up with them. My nephew likes to play with his Thomas trucks on them :). And they can double as sidetables. I’d love to be able to afford the ones with enameled patterns that you see at estate sales and at auction. I blogged about a pair last week that ended up going for just under $5,000 at Freeman’s in Philly. Ouch!

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  6. ** Terramia ** commented
    March 27th, 2007 at 2:51am

    I fancy them!
    Better as a pretty side table than a stool! I just love the lines… something so exotic about them.

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  7. TonicHome commented
    March 27th, 2007 at 4:00am

    I love them as side tables too. We have one on our site http://www.tonichome.com called the Lauren Stool that was reported purchased by Ralph Lauren for his pool. Never thought to place them in the pool for seating, but a great idea!

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  8. jill commented
    March 27th, 2007 at 4:41am

    funny that you post this. i saw a bunch of them this weekend when i went to the hudson hotel this weekend for drinks. (amazing design there, byw – http://www.hudsonhotel.com/)

    i didnt like them because they looked to fragile and uncomfortable to sit on. they were placed next to a table so i assumed they were to be used as a stool. i was confused.

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  9. Lynn in Seattle commented
    March 27th, 2007 at 6:36am

    Hmm…
    It doesn’t look very comfy to sit on…they look really vulnerable to kicking and breaking…especially me, with my clunky feet. Hahhaha..

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  10. jen commented
    March 27th, 2007 at 4:36pm

    about a year ago i was DYING for one of these in white for my living room – it was so hard to find one at the right height that was a reasonable price – now they are everywhere and i am over it – funny how that tends to happen…

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  11. frances commented
    March 30th, 2007 at 10:45pm

    kind of love this gold one from jayson home…
    http://www.jaysonhomeandgarden.com/product.php?productid=2918
    maybe for outside?

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  12. TammieCheryl commented
    March 31st, 2007 at 5:25pm

    one that I looked at in a catalog said it could hold 100 lbs. I wondered–does that mean if Kate Moss or someone who weighs over 100 lbs sat on it, it’d crumble? OR do they mean, don’t put your massive entertainment system on it or something???

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  13. Anonymous commented
    May 12th, 2007 at 1:07am

    I personally wouldn’t want to sit on them. I would rather sit on one of these cool bar stools!

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  14. LITTLEJAKE20 commented
    July 21st, 2007 at 10:34pm

    I HAVE 3 OF THESE AND THEY ARE FOR SALE. I HAVE UPDATED MY LIVING ROOM. 2 ARE MATCHING AND 1 IS AN ODD BALL. CONTACT ME AT LITTLEJAKE20 [at] CFL [dot] RR [dot] COM. I CAN SEND YOU PICTURES. THEY ARE AT A RESONABLE COST.

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  15. Anonymous commented
    September 16th, 2007 at 9:46pm

    I have found the link of chinese ceramic garden stool in your post of “orientaldestinasian” on ebay stores has changed to:
    http://stores.ebay.com/DestinASIAN-Home

    I think they have changed their name to DestinASIAN Home.

    I bought two from them, they are awesome. Very well packed and super fast shipping ( I got a tracking number 3 minutes after I completed the checkout)

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  16. J commented
    September 27th, 2007 at 12:29pm

    They are great for as magazine rack, end table; not comfortable as a seat. I took three of them that I found at FineGardenProducts.com and placed an old rusty gate on top of the stools and then a piece of glass and made a coffee table.

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  17. Ferris commented
    March 27th, 2008 at 9:57pm

    where are the ones for $69. I love this look and have been wanting one for a while now.

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  18. decor8 commented
    March 27th, 2008 at 10:12pm

    ferris – click on all of the links above in this post, i wrote this a long time ago so i do not recall off the top of my head where the $69 stools are but i’m sure they’re in the text above somewhere!

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  19. Mademoiselle Frou-Frou commented
    April 15th, 2008 at 11:27pm

    wow, you did an incredible job with this post! you included every detail that i was looking for! thanks.

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  20. Anonymous commented
    April 29th, 2008 at 11:07am

    I want one in my bathroom to function as a step stool. Can they stand the weight of 170 lbs? Could you get back to me ASAP since I am about finished with renovating the bath and need to find something that will work but look interesting. Thank you

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  21. Anonymous commented
    May 25th, 2008 at 10:34pm

    Here’s another source with an interesting variety of the garden stool http://www.homedecodirect.com/Ceramic_Garden_Stool_s/59.htm

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  22. Sherman Unkefer commented
    May 25th, 2011 at 3:17am

    I absolutely love the idea of having a garden stool in the home! Personally, I feel that it adds character and a bit of whimsy to a room. They are so versatile and won’t go out of style over night.
    Sherman Unkefer´s last blog post ..Sherman Unkefer Team- Recalling Anne Frank

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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