Unquestionably due to the time I've spent living in China, my style skews distinctively Asian when it comes to architecture and interior design. (Case in point: I framed Tibetan flags picked up in Lhasa, and they hang above my bed in every home I've had.) So I love when Western trends involve Eastern flair. One such instance is the mania for garden stools over the past few years.
Garden stools are traditional to Chinese decor, originating during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Originally, they were intended for use actually in the garden. It's easy to imagine these brightly-colored porcelain stools resting in a hutong garden, the many rooms housing the family encircling a peaceful green space where the residents could dine, work or rest. At that time, the most common styles were similar to the stool on the left, with the Chinese blue and white coloring. The stools were shaped like drums, even incorporating faux nailhead trim to simulate the stretched skin of the drum and the pins that held it together. Antique stools can run into the thousands, but affordable copies or even modern versions are also available. Stools sell in every color possible and feature fresh designs, like the elephant on the far right. I just purchased my first garden stool for my patio - I love how it stays cool even in the hottest California days and doesn't show dirt. The ingenuity of the Chinese never fails!
Do you have a garden stool you love? One you've been wanting? Check out a few I'm coveting on my Chinaful Pinterest page, or follow the links to those I've featured above.