Vintage Home Boutique
Articles tagged as vintage furniture (view all)
With nationwide celebrations of our country’s 150th birthday taking place next month, we figured it’s the perfect time to shift the focus of our “Great Mid-Century Designers” series to Canada. In a short series of posts, we’ll look at the evolution of Canadian modern furniture and shine a spotlight on our most iconic mid-century designers.
Seeing a glass of wine sitting on a vintage table recently brought to mind thoughts of what those two different “vintages” have in common.
Like fine wines, quality vintage furniture is distinctive and has a unique appeal to an individual’s senses. While it challenges the sameness of today’s mass produced consumer goods, like a versatile wine, vintage furniture can be as unpretentious and as comfortable with take-out pizza as it is in a formal dining room. How else are vintage furniture and wine alike? Read on to find out.
Harmony and Balance
A wine is described as ‘elegant’ when it reaches a perfect harmony or balance of flavors and ingredients; in other words, when all things come together. The same sense of balance can describe vintage mid-century modern furniture. Often referred to as functional pieces of art, mid-century modern designs removed the complexities and weight prevalent in previous furniture.
Simple clean lines complemented by long lasting, quality construction equals timeless pieces that are as readily transported from decade to decade as they are from room to room. By incorporating vintage pieces into your home you could unconsciously be adding harmony and balance to the lives of generations of future furniture guardians.
The deep colour of wine is a sign of its character and age. Similarly, the colours in vintage furniture show the unique character of each piece while offering hints of its age. The patina that develops in various woods—and especially teak—gives each piece its own distinct look and a richness of colour that simply doesn’t exist in “younger” furniture.
Vintage furniture and wine are both experiencing a surge of popularity. The growing number of local wineries attests to Canadians’ increasing interest in wine, as does our wine consumption which has grown to around triple that of the global average.
The vintage furniture trend may not be as obvious to detect. Vintage furniture’s multi-functionality and simple design allow it to blend seamlessly into homes across the country. But the trend is growing. As our living spaces shrink, the demand for quality furniture that is more streamlined and multi-functional is rising. Vintage furniture not only finds itself at home in today’s smaller spaces, but it is equally comfortable within most budgets. Vintage furniture can cost much less than contemporary furniture of similar quality.
It is worth noting however, like a limited quality Bordeaux, limited availability will eventually be reflected in its cost. If you want a unique piece, the time for shopping is now.
For the sake of our environment and for reasons of economy, more and more attention is being paid to where products are purchased and produced, from home décor to food and wine. We can no longer ignore the environmental impact that unnecessary global sourcing and its related transportation related consequences have on our world. Supporting our fellow citizens and businesses is important, for us and for our children’s’ children.
Buying at local vintage furniture shops like Vintage Home Boutique means you are saving quality used furniture from landfill sites. This circumvents the entire sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, and landfill cycle of today’s mass produced, disposable furniture.
And shopping local is fun! It gives you the freedom to return frequently to your favourite stores to compare products and to wait for just the right piece. Shopping locally for wine can be equally rewarding, giving you the chance to visit the actual vineyard where the grapes were grown and meet the people whose expertise went into each bottle.
Making ‘Simple’ a Statement
Trying to find ‘simple’ can be hard these days. The ‘wood’ used to manufacture most contemporary furniture is closer to compressed sawdust than the natural substance that has kept trees standing for centuries. Most of today’s consumer beverages are full of ingredients no one can pronounce. This is not the case with vintage wood furniture or traditionally crafted wine.
Wine and vintage furniture are both the result of crafting that sees minimal manipulations in production. With fewer adjustments and additions, products remain closer to nature. Our senses can appreciate a product’s natural personality and life when we get closer its source.
Telling a Story
Just as each bottle of wine is a reflection of the terroir where the grapes were grown, each piece of vintage furniture tells a story of its origins, from an artisan’s workshop to a home where it was cared for and passed on to future generations.
The next time you are gathered making memories with friends or family as swirling legs of wine cascade down your glass, consider another set of legs: the ones supporting your table. What history do they hold? How long will your table be the bedrock of family tales, encouraging extended family feasts and the stories that emerge from them? If history is any indicator, when the legs are holding up a piece of vintage furniture, your family has a solid foundation to build on.
This post was written by our guest blogger and friend of VHB, Brenda Coonan. You can find out more about Brenda and her company at http://bit.ly/1mD8Rqd We hope that Brenda will be a regular contributor here at VHB.
Whether it is a lifestyle choice or for reasons of economy, making a smaller space your own doesn’t have to mean a reduction in comfort or style. Sleek, multi-tasking, mid-century modern furniture maximizes style in small spaces.
Simple Aesthetic Design
Clean lines and simple designs are hallmarks of mid-century furniture design. Stripped of ornate detail, furniture created post WWII—up to and including the mid-sixties—has a sleek aesthetic that is more suited to people living in smaller spaces.
Clare Pascoe of Britain’s Pascoe Interiors explains that “Mid century furniture was created to combine aesthetics and practicality in order to bring beautifully designed pieces to the man on the street.”
Furniture That Floats
Lifting furniture off the floor makes a room appear larger. The fine, tapered legs that complement many slimmer mid-century pieces provide the illusion of more available floor space, and suggest an airier feel.
Wall-fixing systems that actually attach furniture directly to the wall, avoiding any floor contact at all, are the ultimate examples of mid-century furniture that floats. When shelves or cabinets hover above the floor as integral pieces of the wall itself, this seeming extension of the floor area expands the illusion of space in compact areas.
When space is limited, furniture has to be flexible in both design and utility. Mid-century modern is both.
The teak wardrobe pictured below was designed to hang suits and blouses in a bedroom. It can easily be transported to an entry where it can serve double duty: hanging coats in the rear hanging area, and storing everyday necessities like keys, dog leashes, and secret decoder rings in the front drawers.
Sideboards with spacious storage solutions are perfect for the multipurpose rooms in today’s smaller condos. Their unique cubbies with removal, adjustable shelves are perfect for storing extra blankets or for hiding that script you’ve been working on. Side tables with additional storage shelving sit as comfortably beside a bed as they do beside a Bertram custom made sofa. Display cabinets with interchangeable glass or wood fronts that hide or display valuables are other examples of space expanding design flexibility.
The credenza pictured above is a testament to mid-century versatility. At home in any décor, this long, low piece features easy sliding doors, four drawers and a fully finished interior. The adjustable/removable interior shelves make this piece perfect for storing your media components or your fine dinnerware. It would be an exceptional addition to any dining room or could be put it in a living area to house a flat screen T.V. Its four solid teak legs give it the “floating” look that interior designers find so desirable. And its functionality is not the only highlight of this piece: solid teak furniture, like this credenza, is sought after for its look, style and durability.
An Investment That Grows With You
What better way for furniture to prove its versatility than to also double as an investment? Quality mid-century modern furniture pieces are investments that grow in value. Mid-century furniture stock is finite. As it becomes more limited, its value will continue to increase.
It’s important to remember that mid-century modern also has the flexibility to adjust to changes in your lifestyle. Unlike contemporary furniture, mid-century’s quality construction allows the option to refinish in an eco-friendly manner, or to redesign to best suit a décor or need. Aside from producing a truly unique and personal result, this is often the most economical use of resources.
A Piece of the Past
Like other limited-edition fine art, quality crafted mid-century modern furniture often becomes the object of conversation within a home. It is little wonder with the history that it brings with it. A reminder of simpler times is not bad to have in any space.
Let us help you find yours.
History shows that craftsmen used wood veneers for centuries to decorate, protect, and preserve quality furniture. There is even evidence that veneers were used as far back as ancient Egypt to decorate the tomb of King Tut. Today, thick wood veneers can be found on a significant percentage of the quality vintage furniture that is still in use. The fact that many pieces, made between 50 and 100 years ago, are still in pristine condition may in itself be the best testament to the significance of wood veneers.
Frequently, as an integral step in the crafting of quality vintage furniture, wood strips of varying thickness were adhered to the furniture’s solid wood construction. Unlike the paper thin veneers that cover much of today’s disposable furniture, vintage wood veneers were generally made of wood strips thick enough to provide additional protection and to allow for future repair. Wood type was specifically chosen with factors including its strengths and weaknesses being key considerations in the decision making process.
Furniture craftsmen chose to use veneers for various reasons.
- To conserve and extend rare or expensive woods by gluing them to less valuable woods.
- To create intricate designs or special effects using rare or combined pieces of wood.
- To prevent susceptible woods from warping by gluing them to boards beneath.
- To allow for unique or special design features, like the curved case of a grand piano.
- To increase the beauty, longevity, and value of a product.
Smart use of veneers by quality vintage craftsmen could mean more unique or detailed designs, less warping, and better future repair options. Solid wood veneers were an important component in the crafting of the timeless designs that still grace many contemporary homes today. In other words, they played an important role in the production of quality furniture pieces that could be passed from one generation to the next.
They don’t make’em like that anymore
New woodworking techniques allow for cutting veneers no thicker than typing paper; veneers that are impossible to repair. It’s hard to keep up appearances. Though they can look good initially, even on today’s higher end furniture, appearances can only be maintained for so long.
While the façade of modern veneers covers furniture of diminishing worth, yesterday’s vintage veneers continue to protect furniture of character that continually grow in investment value.
Checking out all the options can help to ensure that your furniture investment goes well beyond just keeping up appearances.
Be sure to check out our blog post on spring cleaning your vintage furniture for eco-friendly ways to keep your solid wood and quality veneered furniture looking spectacular.
Looking for quality and originality in furniture design? Don’t limit your search to traditional high-end home décor shops. Consider vintage, which has shed its “shabby chic” label to become the choice of savvy shoppers seeking longevity and a distinctive look in their home furnishings.
What is Vintage?
General consensus is that vintage furniture refers to items over 50 years old but less than 100. Quality vintage furniture is extremely well-made with acute attention to style and detail. It is a smart furniture alternative for those looking for the elusive combination of style and good value for the money spent: unlike most mass-produced furniture, vintage offers a unique design aesthetic and is an investment that lasts.
Timeless design and quality construction mean that a piece that is 50 years old can still look and function as if it is new. Unlike much of today’s disposable furniture, vintage holds its value and doesn’t require replacement every few years.
Vintage pieces can be sold or passed on after several years of use. Some styles can be repurposed for other areas within your home. Due to their ‘good bones,’ well-worn sofas and chairs can be reupholstered for an entirely new look…over and over again. With environmentally-friendly furniture refinishing options, even pieces that have seen more than their fair share of bumps and scratches can claim a spot of honour in your home.
An investment in quality vintage can reach well beyond its utility. Vintage furniture is in demand and stock is disappearing. Select pieces created by iconic designers like Finn Juhl are climbing into triple-digit territory, although high-quality pieces can be found in all price ranges.
Why Buy Vintage Furniture?
Quality vintage furniture offers unpretentious sophistication. It’s an investment in your future, wrapped up in the solid construction and timeless styling of an era gone by. It’s affordable luxury. For more reasons to buy vintage furniture please see our Why Buy Vintage Furniture post