Google+ House Revivals: Designing with Tulip Tables and Banquettes

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Designing with Tulip Tables and Banquettes

Who doesn't love a classic Saarinen tulip table?   The graceful curve of the base, and the marble top are swoon worthy.  Over the years, lots of manufacturers have created Saarinen inspired tables.
 The Real Thing, complete with marble top and impossibly graceful lines.

You can still get the "real thing" from Knoll, or you can get inexpensive knock-offs from places like IKEA. 


IKEA's clunkier plastic version is not made to last forever like the Saarinen table, 
but it is an affordable option for "starting out".

You may even get lucky and find a vintage "knock-off". That's what happened to me the other day, when I was searching for a small table for a client's tiny breakfast nook.  Several frantic texts later, this set was being loaded into the back of my truck! 


My client has a really tiny eating area in his kitchen, so we decided a small table and banquette with a couple of additional chairs would be a great space-saver. 

How lucky we were to find a vintage Virtue Brothers of California tulip style table!   Although the set had four chairs, one had been damaged.  We were fine with this, since we don't need all four chairs.   Virtue Brothers is probably best known for their fifties era chrome and Formica dining sets, but they did a great job with this steel-based tulip pedestal table.


For design inspiration, I thought I would share some "banquette vignettes".  Though not strictly a banquette, this settee vignette is a lovely mix of masculine and feminine elements.

The cheery yellow banquette and Bertoia style chairs help create a youthful, modern space in the image below.  The rectangular table top on a tulip base is not as common, but it fits the space perfectly.


Here is another rectangular top, paired with Eames inspired chairs and a clean lined banquette.


The classic traditional trim work in the space below provide a perfect backdrop for the graceful table and Eames molded dining chairs.


In the space shown here, the smaller tulip table functions almost like an occasional table....


In the serene scene below, the simple round shape of the table is repeated in the light fixture, while the tufted settee back is referenced in the pattern on the window treatment.


My client is pretty stoked about his "new" table!  How about you?  Would you buy vintage? Would you buy a knock-off?  Would you buy the "real thing"?  Or would you skip the modern aesthetic altogether?  I love to hear what you think!



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1 comment:

  1. Great post- I adore tulip tables and have a knock off one. They are perfect for a little breakfast area, and in my next home, I plan on incorporating a banquette into the space with it.
    Nice blog - all the best.

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