American Leather


A few years ago, I wrote a v.v. popular post entitled Recliners: the Ugg Boots of Interior Design  in which I bemoaned the complete and utter lack of attractive recliners. Is it the holy grail of interior design?  It’s a tale as old as time — I hear it with clients, but I also hear it in my own home. He wants a chair of his own that he can relax in, and she can’t handle the awful overstuffed look in her pretty living room.  Can comfort coexist with style or does somebody have to give up what they want? 

Because that’s really what The Great Recliner Debate boils down to: if it’s coming in the front door, it’s gotta be pretty AND comfortable.  For us, the low point was when I was pregnant with Archer.  Simon was spending his free time roaming thru the local big box furniture store sitting in all the horrific recliners because apparently my snoring was out of control and he couldn’t take it one more night.  (Luckily not too long that, the baby was born! No medicinal recliner required!)

But let’s add another layer of difficulty to the hunt — what happens when you’re married to a guy who’s nearly a foot taller than you?  The chair that fits one person at 5’7” (me) never appropriately fits another at 6’4” (him).


Last spring, Simon came with me to High Point for my Rowe feature and it was a great opportunity for us to roam around and sit in allll the furniture.  He’s been a fan of American Leather for awhile so when I realized he was insisting that we check out their recliner options,  I was grudgingly going along for the tour.  I was pretty sure there wasn’t going to be anything that I could sign off on.

But the big launch in spring for American Leather was their Comfort Air collection. These chairs can fully recline to the feeling of zero gravity,  and somewhat hard to explain until I make someone sit in it (which, incidentally, I will totally make you do if you come over).   It’s a total gamechanger — It’s this curious hybrid of glider, recliner, and swivel all in one and Simon grinned when he finally got me to sit in one of the chairs.  Guys – this is the solution to the Ugly Recliner Conundrum.

It ticks all my boxes of form and function.  The styling overall is pretty contemporary, but I think it’s a fantastic contrast if you’re more traditional/transitional and there’s plenty of options for how you style it.  Each frame style comes in 2 different sizes and the base is customizable in different metals (yes, including brass). The Stratus chair was the best choice for Simon due to his height and long legs — in the larger size it sits deeper and it’s tall enough to allow proper support for his head and neck. And we chose the Mont Blanc leather in a gorgeous cream so it can transition easily with whatever color I choose to contrast with it.


A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I were in Dallas for market and we were invited over to American Leather‘s HQ for a tour of the factory. It’s an enormous facility and with a dizzying array of leathers on display Every single piece is handmade there in Dallas from start to finish and we saw every step of the process. (Pssst — their Instagram has some pretty fun behind the scenes shots). The company was founded by engineers and they’re all about pursuing innovation and their facility reflects that. And from an industry perspective, they produce each piece within in 30 days which is a pretty amazing turnaround for completely custom design. It makes for a happy designer —  and an even happier client.

Big thanks to American Leather for sponsoring this post and thanks for supporting the brands that keep Pencil Shavings going. 

with love,

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