by Marisa Marcantonio

Often called cocktail ottomans,  the ottoman with a large tray for easy serving delivers the ideal dual-function piece. If you have a large scale square ottoman, there are great trays you can place on top, to create a surface area to hold a portable makeshift bar and all that goes along with cocktail hour. If you don't and have been searching for a go-the-distance piece that suits a family room well, here are a few varied suggestions to help you on your hunt.

From the just-launched partnership, decoupage artist John Derian has created a scallop-edge lacquer tray with The Lacquer Company, the highly specialized British brand that has worked with Rita Konig, Stephen Gambrel and Martin Brudnski on trays and small tables.  Available in pea green, vivid red and black, the substantial shiny piece is a statement maker, just the piece that can play bar and tray table, as seen above.

Photos courtesy of Oomph

With crenelated cut out details resembling a fortified castle, high sides and ample handles, the Edgartown tray from Oomph makes an impromptu bar an easy reality. Oversized with a generous surface area, the lacquer tray will look at home on a large ottoman or etagere shelf.

A tray this size can be slightly unwieldy to move around frequently, so the Chatham ottoman below makes a nice perch for it.

Covered in raffia with discreet nailhead trim, this new square ottoman, the Chatham,  from Oomph is an easy substitute when you need a space-friendly square upholstered piece to put your feet up rather than a rectangular one.  The carved bobbin leg adds an additional decorative detail with traditional flair.

Photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Howard for Sherrill

A mid-century modern silhouette with an additional shelf for books, Mr. and Mrs. Howard's Un Deux Tray Ottoman has a streamlined walnut base, cut corners and upholstered top that holds a faux shagreen covered tray in a recessed section in the middle. 

Photo courtesy of Bunny Williams Home

With a built in tray, the Tray Chic Ottoman from Bunny Williams Home has the best of both worlds with a tufted edge and inset removable tray, it has versatility to be a workhorse.

Tailored and traditional, Hickory Chair's Bexley Otoman in leather with a sliding tray inside, has an x stretcher and tapered wooden leg on casters, ideal for a subdued chic look in a study.


by Marisa Marcantonio

When it comes to furniture design, it is easy to think it has all been done and you have seen it before. That is, of course, until you  cover a market such as High Point, where innovation is all-important. Newness, for an editor, is increasingly important. For companies, it  helps attract a new audience, and maintain an existing one.  To stay relevant, companies must continue to evolve. Home trends are starting to move at a quicker pace, and newness is expected. Most design is derivative, meaning it is tweaked and adapted for today, but rooted in a design vernacular of the past. Searching for sparks of innovation and newness, I look for eye-catching things that have not been done before.  When I came across these personality chairs, seen below, I realized they each had something unique to say, in their own way. Try adding an interesting conversation piece to a seating arrangement.  It is like inviting a really interesting gregarious guest to dinner, they make life more fun, less expected.

Barry Dixon created some upholstery pieces in his follow-up collection for Arteriors. This unique Ceylon Dining Chair, inspired by British Colonial India, has a pointed back, tight seat and curvaceous sides, supported by a painted white frame and nailhead trim. The stark contrast of white upholstery and white frame highlights the strong lines.

This feminine metal upholstered chair from Global Views won me over. I was instantly drawn to its painted metal finish resembling plaster and the sinewy curved lines. Both elegant and interesting, this chair can take on a completely different look depending on how it is upholstered.

Small side chairs are useful and can be used in a bedroom, dressing room, seating area or flanking console tables. A low profile kidney bean shape make this a charming  chair new by AERIN for E.J. Victor.