DIY Barstools (And by DIY, I mean, outsource)

These two barstools are my favorite pieces of furniture, and they probably cost a grand total of about a hundred bucks. 

Like any good hunting girl, I believe in the tradition of sporting art. From Stubbs to Eldridge Hardie, I love transportive art, the kind that can catch the movement and muscle of animals.

(Side note: I also love Andre Pater, who I once met at the Masters of Fox Hounds Hunt Ball in New York. He stood on a chair to hug me and gave me his champagne. He is fabulous, and not in the least the somber, dignified personage I had imagined him to be. You know, the kind of guy people call a "personage.")

As in most arenas of my life, my taste far exceeds my budget, so when styling my own apartment, I had to take the DIY approach to sporting art. I also have limited space, so I had to find a way to incorporate hounds into my decor in a way that was functional as well as attractive. Another roadblock: I can't paint, draw or sculpt. 

Fortunately, I think painted furniture is gorgeous, I have a mother who likes to craft and I fox hunt with a truly wonderful local artist named Don Davis.

The man, the myth, the legend. Thanksgiving Hunt 2013. 

Don is hard-riding, incorrigible and one of my favorite people to share a flask with. He never judges when I'm on a fractious horse that's misbehaving himself in the field (which is often), and he once painted a hunting scene on my mother's back to show off under a backless dress at the Deep Run Hunt Ball. 

Don knows how to capture expression beautifully, and I asked him if he would paint a couple of barstools that I picked up at the unfinished wood shop. He gave me a fantastic rate, and then I outsourced the finishing to my crafty mother. 

Pretty gorgeous, right? They're the kind of thing that would make a great wedding gift for a sporting couple. 

(Hmm. Maybe I should take my own advice for the wedding of my favorite bird hunter this summer...)