And for the longest time, it remained incredibly plain:
I couldn't make up my mind if I wanted it white or stained. My kitchen cabinets are oak and I didn't want to over-do the timber look, nor did I want the starkness of pure white. So in the end I compromised and did both!
I used some leftover antique white paint from my trims, and rubbed in some walnut stain. Then to age it up a bit, I sanded back all the edges and rubbed a little stain into the bare wood.
Now it has that lovely French-farmhouse feel to it, and I love how a simple update has made a feature out of something formerly so utilitarian.
I have another one of these stools downstairs in my library. It too, is still plain, as I'm not sure how I want that one to look yet. Do you have one of these stools lurking in your home? I'd love to see what you do with it.