The Best Seats We Spotted in 2023

A roundup of the most covetable sofas and chairs from our Splurge Worthy column
The Best Seats We Spotted in 2023

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If you’re unfamiliar with our Splurge Worthy column, consider it a sneak peek into the homes of stylish people who divulge to us their most beloved pieces of furniture and decor. An overwhelming majority of these treasured items are seats, from groovy 1960s sectionals to hand-carved wood rocking chairs, sustainable pine dining chairs with Danish design pedigrees, and everything in between…and we would love to sit in each and every one of them.

But even more compelling than the seats themselves (and trust us, they are wishlist-worthy) are the personal stories behind them. Iconic chairs have been purloined from parents, received as surprise gifts, and purchased at auction. Striking sofas have been inherited from earlier generations and reupholstered using handmade rugs.

As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back on the best seats of the bunch, whose sentimental origins make them all the more valuable.

Leigh Plessner’s Maison Jansen swan chair

Leigh Plessner’s Cygnet-ure chair is a symbol of her creative legacy.

Samantha Hillman

Simultaneously whimsical and neoclassical, Leigh Plessner’s Maison Jansen wrought iron swan chair is the best gift she’s ever received. The Catbird chief creative officer first spotted it while she was out with the jewelry brand’s founder, Rony Vardi. Fast-forward seven months and the chair appeared in Leigh’s apartment as a thoughtful surprise from her boss. It immediately delighted her then and continues to do so over a decade later.

1950s Maison Jansen Style of Neoclassical Wrought Iron Lyre Arm Back Chair

Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer’s reupholstered HAY Sofa

You‘ve never seen the Mags sofa look this good before.

Scott Bleicher

Soon after Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer bought a HAY Mags Soft Low sectional, its pink tweed upholstery was ruined by their two dogs and two children. Instead of ordering a new, more durable sofa, the couple, who founded textile brand Cold Picnic, decided to give their existing one a makeover. They reupholstered the sectional using hand-tufted wool rugs and greenish-mustard corduroy, creating a special piece that features both their own abstract designs and can withstand their active family.

Mags One-Arm Sectional

Danny Kaplan’s vintage Falcon Chair

“The leather has worn so beautifully on it over the years and it’s just really held up,” Danny raves.

Benjamin Hubley

When ceramist Danny Kaplan was a student at the Parsons School of Design in the early aughts, he asked his father for help furnishing his apartment. He particularly requested to borrow his father’s vintage Falcon chair, a canvas, leather, and wood seat by Norwegian designer Sigurd Ressell that he had always admired. Danny simply loved the Scandinavian chair too much to ever return it—so he didn’t. It’s followed him around New York City, from apartment to apartment, ever since.

Falcon Chair by Sigurd Ressell, 1970s

Vince Skelly’s hand-carved rocking chair

Vince Skelly sits back in his Sam Maloof-inspired rocking chair.

Photo: Vince Skelly

As an artist who specializes in wood sculpture, Vince Skelly knows all about beautiful woodwork. That’s why his most cherished belonging is a hand-carved rocking chair that his father-in-law crafted in the style of Sam Maloof. As it happens, Sam was introduced to the art of woodworking by the architect who built Vince’s house, Millard Sheets—a creative coincidence that makes the chair feel destined to be in its current home.

Modern Walnut Sam Maloof Style Rocking Chair

Stephanie Feinerman’s groovy 1960s sofa

Stephanie’s groovy sofa in action.

Photo: Mike Pieters

Not only did Los Angeles–based interior designer Stephanie Feinerman inherit her good taste from her grandparents, but she became heir to their curved midcentury sectional too. With a rounded L shape and a psychedelic orange-and-purple Schumacher fabric, the groovy vintage piece was custom made for her grandparents’ Pacific Palisades home in the ’60s—a one-of-a-kind family heirloom.

Pottery Barn Redondo Upholstered 3-Piece Modular Sofa

Emilia Wickstead’s Knoll Brno dining chairs

“I designed our flat so that the dining room would be separate from any other room because I still love that element of traditional dining where it’s not all in one open space,” Emilia says of her dining space.

Edd Horder / Courtesy of Karla Otto London

Fashion designer Emilia Wickstead had Knoll Brno dining chairs on her wishlist for years before she finally treated herself to the cantilever seats, which were first ​​designed in 1930 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for his Tugendhat House in Brno, Czech Republic. Emilia ordered her chairs customized in a rich tan leather, mimicking the ’90s model that she had been lusting after and matching her warm caramel-toned dining room walls.

Knoll Brno Chair Flat Bar

Cat Ward Carothers’ Mies van der Rohe armchairs

Cat’s beloved MVR chairs mingle with Rainer Daumiller pine dining chairs.

Cat Ward Carothers

Cat Ward Carothers spends her days sourcing iconic vintage designs for her Dallas-based furniture studio the Selby House, so naturally her own home is filled with secondhand gems. Her favorite pieces are her MR20 cantilever cane armchairs, also by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and she flew all the way to Los Angeles to buy them at Billings auction house. She simply had to see them in person before making such a major purchase.

Katie Spies’s Magis deck chairs

Katie with one of her pups.

Photo: Sarah Karlan

When Katie Spies moved her dog food company Maev from New York City to Austin, one of the biggest advantages was being able to move into a house with outdoor space. To celebrate, she outfitted her deck with a set of Sam Son chairs by Konstantin Grcic for Magis. The rotational-molded polyethylene chairs, which feature a rounded backrest and a dipped seat, are simultaneously weather-resistant, extremely comfortable, and visually intriguing.

Magis Sam Son Chair

Felicia Hung’s Rainer Daumiller dining chairs

A close-up view of Felicia’s Daumiller chairs, which she tucked under a circular dining table adorned with tulips.

Courtesy of Felicia Hung

It took Felicia Hung, the cofounder of Brooklyn lighting studio In Common With, five months to decide that she wanted to purchase Rainer Daumiller dining chairs. Once she set her heart on the 1970s Danish wooden seats, she actually had to find them. Eventually she secured four in mint condition from a Belgium-based vintage dealer, adding the sustainable pine masterpieces to her carefully curated furniture collection.

Rainer Daumiller Armchair in Solid Pine

Sharon Taylor’s oversized sectional

Sharon lounges on the statement blue velvet sectional; it doubles as a queen bed when guests pop in.

For coffee entrepreneur Sharon Taylor, the perfect sofa must pass the “butt test,” which evaluates comfort, firmness, and rise-ability (the ability to rise up from the seat gracefully). Her deep blue velvet Lovesac “sactional” not only passes, but excels—plus it’s modular and can accommodate a bevy of guests in her compact Fort Greene apartment. For all these reasons, it’ll be coming with her wherever she moves next.

Lovesac Sactional

Jonathan Wormser’s tubular chairs

One of the things that drew Jonathan to the chairs in the first place was how seamlessly they flowed with the rest of the red in the space.

Jonathan Wormser

It was an ice cream cone that led Jonathan Wormser, the founder of beauty brand Good Weird, to his favorite sculptural chairs. He was trying to keep his frozen treat from melting on a hot day, so he tucked into a vintage store in Portland, Oregon, and took the nearest seat. To his surprise, its fire engine red cushion, combined with its tubular metal frame, was incredibly comfortable—and would fit right into his Tribeca home. He promptly shipped it and its pair back east.

Macaron, One-Armed Mid-Century Modern Leather Chair