The seasons have shifted and with autumn comes the move back into the cosy indoors. It’s the perfect time to slow down and enjoy simple moments in comfort and warmth.
For me, this is the season of restoration and renewal – when my introvert self can retreat into the sanctuary of my own home and find a pocket of calm. While summer is joyful and energetic, autumn takes a slower pace, without the pressure of making the most of it all before the season ends. Instead of fighting the darkness and gloom, I choose instead to appreciate the quiet and time to pause.
When it comes to styling my home for the season, it’s all about embracing natural materials and loading up on the texture. Warm woods invite touch, while delicate foraged finds bring an element of sculptural simplicity. The glow from a fire, the turned down page of a well-thumbed book, the hug of a much-loved armchair – all make autumn magical for me. As evening falls, candles will be lit and the blankets pulled out, ready for a peaceful evening by the fireside.
Enter the newly relaunched Windsor chair, taking up pride of place next to my cosy fireplace. With its gently sweeping back and traditional meets contemporary look, it’s the perfect spot to lean back and take in the new season.
[Ad – this is a paid partnership with Carl Hansen & Søn. All images Cate St Hill]
I think there’s something so familiar and comforting about a spindle back chair. They remind me of the chairs we had when I was a child. These Windsor chairs somehow manage to bridge the gap between the classic and the contemporary – they have history but they also don’t look out of date in a modern home either.
The spindle chair is an instantly recognisable archetype that was born in England and has been around since the 16th century. Traditionally, Windsor chairs are made of a curved, steam bent back and slender spindles that are pushed into drilled holes in a solid wood seat. It is thought the design originally stemmed from Irish and Welsh ‘stick-back’ chairs. The name ‘Windsor’ refers to the Buckinghamshire town where it was first shipped from, but in reality, different versions of the Windsor chair have been made worldwide; the design becoming particularly popular in North America in the 18th century.
This Windsor chair (FH38) was first designed by Danish architect and cabinetmaker Frits Henningsen in 1938. Henningsen was inspired by furniture from the Rococo period and 17th century England, refining the classic design to give it a Scandinavian twist. As a carpenter, Henningsen knew how to utilise the skills of a joiner and pare back the design to create a simple expression.
Henningsen’s Windsor chair is formed of two steam-bent parts, which create the bow of the backrest and the up-turned curve of the armrest. The back is comprised of 14 spindles that gently slope outwards to create a natural embrace. Each spindle is set at a different angle and they’re all tightened together at the same time without the need for glue. The chair is finished and sanded by hand in what Carl Hansen & Søn term the ‘feel test’.
The result is elegant and refined, but distinctly practical. The seat is gently carved to create a soft dip for sitting, while the armrests are angled at just the right position. It’s truly a chair that would stand you in good stead and endure the test of time.
The Windsor chair may once have been considered a classic of the English countryside, but with the soft soap finish, Carl Hansen & Søn have brought it straight into the 21st century. Henningsen’s design had been continuously in production until 2003, but with this new relaunch, it comes to life again. As well as the more contemporary soaped oak, the Windsor chair is also available in smoked oiled oak and oiled oak. There’s also a matching seat cushion if you want to make it even more comfortable.
We’ve all heard how ‘cottage core’ is having a moment – well this is my version of it. Plain, simple and understated. For cosy moments at home.
Find out more about the Windsor chair here.