Steel, wood stools for extra kitchen seating
- The San Francisco Chronicle, 12/27/2009

The kitchen is the heart of the home. But too many cooks can really clog the arteries, making your help feel more like a hindrance.

Just as you've separated the spice cabinets from the silverware drawer, we say find a place for every person. So when all hands are on deck, and there are no more cleaning stations to allot, you can say: Hey you - sit, stay.

Counter stools may be just the ticket. They keep everyone in the kitchen but break up the traffic jam by the sink and stove.

McGuire, an American furniture company, turned heads with the elegant and appropriately named Swivel Bar/Counter Stool, which came out in 2008. The satin-finished walnut seat is fastened to sleek steel tubing with a glossy polished-chrome finish. The circular metal footrest mimics the curve of both seat and base, giving the stool a considered, clean look to accompany its $1,250 starting price (mcguirefurniture.com). The counter stool is 26 1/2 inches high, while the bar design is slightly taller at 30 inches, but both are 20 inches in diameter with seat depths of 14 inches.

For a less-pricey option, check out the Perch Barstool from Anthropologie for $398 (anthropologie.com). The stool is made of reclaimed teak and set atop a steel frame, with strong, architectural lines. The dimensions - 38 inches high, 32 inches wide, and 15 1/2 inches deep - exceed the McGuire Swivel stool, and the seats have subtle differences: The Anthropologie stool scoops out to accommodate the legs, while the McGuire design has a low backrest.

That said, the two designs share the pleasing contrast between hard steel and natural wood. So whether your aesthetic tends toward the earthy or the industrial, they'll fit right in.

$1,250 McGuire walnut Swivel Bar/Counter Stool

$398 Anthropologie Perch Barstool