King of Clubs

6 of America's best regional designers & their favorite club chairs


I think we’d all agree that design is purely subjective.  Everyone has an opinion, and every opinion is valid.  It’s also true that there are as many decorating styles as there are decorators.  With those ideas in mind I decided to chat with 6 of America’s best regional interior design professional to learn about their individual aesthetics, their favorite club chairs – and more specifically – how those chairs speak to the area of the country they call home.


I’m sharing what I learned from these designers in alphabetical order, which makes for a diplomatic (and slightly dizzying) cross-country journey.  First stop LA, with a man who strikes a balance between the ‘timeless’ and the ‘of-the-moment’ – Michael Berman.

Michael Berman

“I mix understated glamour with welcome livability to create a personal style I call American Trans-Modern.  It reflects my interest in history, art, and architecture – especially the Deco period of the ’30′s and ’40′s”

~Michael Berman picks the ‘Strand’ Chair from his own Bronze Collection

Strand Lounge Chair“The ‘Strand’ chair epitomizes my style.  Semi-modern and easy to work with.  Slightly deco, slightly moderne and perfectly proportioned hitting a note of timeless  beauty.  It’s design was inspired by the lounge chair my Dad could be found in any given evening.   It’s a perfect club chair with softened, squared off lines and a “sink into” down filled seat and back cushion.”

“The chair has a relaxed, laid back attitude that’s synonymous with a California lifestyle.  It’s the chair that everyone wants to lounge in at a party and no one wants to share.”


Next stop Washington DC, and designer Mary Douglas Drysdale who shared with me that she draws design inspiration from the life Thomas Jefferson.


“I focus on both the architectural base and the decoration, in rooms where I create an environment where past meets present.”

~Mary Douglas Drysdale chooses the ‘Regency Sabre Leg’ Chair from Rose Tarlow

Rose Tarlow Regency Saber leg“I have used this chair in traditional paneled rooms, and in modern spirited spaces, in yellow, orange, brown, gray, beige and blue and the scale and gently curving lines of the piece always look great. It is a piece which is comfortable, classy, and sexy in profile. It suits men and women and never dates.”

“Washington is a city which is steeped in tradition, but comfortable with transitional. This is a piece that seems to be graceful in the kinds of rooms we do here. It has real elegance, while maintaining a certain comfortable reserve.”


Next stop, sunny Miami Florida, and interior designer Wade Hallock whose eclectic, tailored rooms defy categorization.

Wade Hallock

“I work to create conscious, living environments that takes into the consideration the client, location, and function of the space.   With a balance of all three – plus proper scale, color, and furnishings – one can create a blissful harmony that conveys a sense of place that can engage all your senses.”

~Wade Hallock picks the Vladimir Kagan Contour Lounge chair

kagan club chair1“I love the sculptural quality of this chair.   It’s designed with a low comfortable seat and the perfect pitch.  The upholstered seat is cradled in an oiled walnut frame giving it that sculptural quality I admire. The piece is very versatile; I have had fun upholstering it in a faux white fur to a simple understand boucle.  I am currently using this piece for one of my celebrity clients.

“This chair is perfect for any home that is looking for classic modern piece.   Its lines are simple and strong and can work with a variety of décors.   It’s perfect for a home in Miami with the light airy lines and modern design which Miami is known for.”


Next I talked to Kara Mann, the Chicago designer whose background in fashion and art informs the spaces she creates.

Kara Mann1

“I collaborate with clients to achieve a balance of edgy yet attainable design, producing interiors that are both current and enduring.”

 ~Kara Mann Richard and Richard Shapiro’s ‘Ricardo’ Chair

Richard Shapiro Ricardo Chair“This is a chair with both presence and comfort.  The graceful curved arm plays beautifully off the linear back.   The proportion of the bullion fringe is so bold and not whimpy or even decorative!”

“I’m based in Chicago, but this chair transcends regions.  I can see it upholstered in a scrumptious silk velvet in an apartment on the Upper East Side or in a white linen with cotton bullion for an upscale beach house.”


Next I turned to Dallas Texas based designer Denise McGaha, who’s talent is as renown as her time efficient business acumen.


“My style is tailored, sophisticated, modern and done on a deadline.  It’s what I do.  High-end and prompt.   My relationships with clients last for years because their projects don’t.  My clients hire me for speed and style.”

 ~Denise McGaha’s pick is the ‘Giles’ Chair from Hickory Chair

Denise McGaha whole


“I’m in love with the great wood peep-show on the arms and legs.  It almost appears as a wood welt cord and it just proves that tailoring is KING.  It’s sexy from the sides and back.  Look at those great curves and it is oh-so comfortable – perfect pitch on the back cushion.  Did I mention you can get this chair in four weeks…for a designer like me who does everything on a deadline, this makes me smile.”

“In Dallas, more is more, so square footage can soar.  A club chair can sometimes be just-too-petite to handle 24 foot ceilings.  This chair is up to the challenge.”


And finally we’re back in my home town, New York City, with a pick from architect and interior designer Alan Tanksley.

Alan Tanksley


“My goal is to create warm, welcoming environments that bring people together and function in keeping with my clients’ needs.  I achieve this by organically applying my expertise in classic design to the way people live today.”

 ~Alan Tanksley favors the ‘Georgian’ club chair with a fixed seat from George Smith


George Smith 1

“Of all the high quality, traditionally proportioned chairs at George Smith my all time favorite is the Georgian club chair with a fixed seat.  It’s tailored back and sloping arms make this chair at home in practically any room I design whether it be a traditional uptown apartment of a downtown loft.”

“New York style is not easily defined – designers create rooms ranging from sleek urban chic to casual family friendly, sometimes in the same apartment.  This chair works just about anywhere.”


A special thanks to all 6 designers for sharing their design modus operandi and their go-to club chairs.  I encourage you to click through the links to see some of their sensational spaces first hand.