Searching for dining chairs seems to be a pretty common theme for design bloggers, so I might as well join the group and talk about my quest. I knew the style of chair I wanted (though I didn't know what to call it) and found a number of options at major home furnishing stores.
This amazing chair by Thomas Pheasant for Baker furniture was way too expensive, but still a fantastic start to my search.
There was this beautiful chair from Restoration Hardware, available in many different fabrics:
A gorgeous Bernhardt chair:
Then this chair from Ballard Designs, also with many fabric options:
And then this slighting different chair from Z Gallerie, only available in one, shiny fabric:
I went back and forth about which chair was closest to what I had in mind, but realized that none had the perfect combination of curved back and fabric that I wanted.
One day, I went to the now defunct Gallhans Furniture in Fredericksburg, thinking I would just look at the Baker, Century, and Hickory Chair sections. While I was looking, I saw a chair that was somewhat reasonable in price, but nothing like what I wanted. I started chatting with a salesperson, described what I wanted, and she told me we could make the chair I wanted. I was intrigued. She told me to meet her in the fabric room (bigger than some entire stores) in five minutes.
We wound up finding a chair that was almost exactly what I wanted. The company was willing to make a few edits so that the chair would be THE chair that I had in my mind. The price was high, but not prohibitively high. Considering I was getting custom pieces of furniture made, it was a pretty good deal. The only catch was that I would be waiting 6-8 weeks for the work to be done. We decided to go for it and spent the rest of the afternoon picking out fabric. Thank goodness for my salesperson, Lolly, who seemed to understand how big this purchase was for me and who was as entertained by fabric as I was.
A couple months later, I got the call to come get my chairs (I saved myself a delivery charge by diving two hours to get them). When I got to Gallahan's I was shocked to find the doors locked. They were closed, preparing for their going out of business sale! I found my way in through the loading dock and saw my chairs waiting for me. Turns out the family that had been running that store had a few more up in Pennsylvania and decided to consolidate, closing their one Virginia location. They let me poke around to see the mark downs (including some pretty good ones on all those Baker pieces I usually drooled over) before loading up my chairs to take them home.
The final product is the perfect chair. So perfect, the boyfriend's chair gets draped in a towel when we eat anything with tomato sauce in it. He's used to my decorating obsession by now and is pretty good natured about that.