I’ll save you a lot of time: the thing I thought I didn’t want turned out to be the best thing for the space.
What I realized is that the Warming Hut is neither upscale nor over-elaborate; its appeal (aside from location) stems from simplicity and functionality. In the end, I liked the way that the bar stools integrated with the bar, and there was just no good reason to make them anything other than simply utilitarian. Which turned out to be matte aluminum.
Not that I didn’t try. Many things, colors, textures, trims. Thank you all for your suggestions!
For comfort I added a low cushion covered in soft black leather to the seats.
And then, apparently because I had not endured enough challenge and tedium gluing the feet on, I added black furniture glides, to protect the floors and make moving the chairs quieter. That’s 48 more (two per leg) wee punched dots wrangled into place, and touched up with a black Sharpie where the aluminum paint and/or glue extended over the edges.
I turn next to filling the shelves with maps, charts, books, art and maybe even some driftwood sculpture. And maybe I’ll even finish painting the final window, and get that installed.