A hint of nostalgia for furniture designs – not just from the U.S. past but for Europe’s previous centuries – and an appreciation for a modern, casual lifestyle predominate furniture makers' showrooms at the Spring 2013 High Point Market.
The massive, heavy pieces of past “Mediterranean” styling have given way to lighter-feeling, smaller but still gracefully carved “southern European”-inspired pieces. Innovative finishes and use of contrasting materials and colors have taken “country or “rustic”into new, softer territory.
Bernhardt Furniture Co. and Hickory Chair have come up with European-inspired poster beds that have the multiple turnings but lack the heavy canopies of poster beds of yore.
Bernhardt’s Spanish-themed poster bed, with a curving, upholstered and nail-head-studded headboard, is part of its Vestige collection. A premarket introduction through social media brought 6,000 responses, says a company spokesperson.
Hickory Chair’s Mautene Poster Bed, with a plain, upholstered headboard contrasting with elaborately carved 8-foot American Walnut posts, echoes Italian styling.
A Guest Room Bed in the Paula Deen Home River House Collection by Universal Furniture owes more to the U.S. past than Europe. Its bobbin spindles are metal with a gunmetal finish. Its Paula’s Best Dishes Pantry could hold everything from Grandmother’s favorite pitcher to a selection of wines.
Updating the Classics
Bob Timberlake’s Vintner’s Club by Century Furniture gives a softer feel to the traditional, semi-rustic shapes the designer is known for. “We wanted to create a collection that would work for homes around the country, not just at the beach or in the mountains,” he says.
His fondness for mixing metal and wood is still there, shown in the metal stretchers supporting carved wood legs of one dining table, and Century’s inventory of 115 finishes gave him plenty of leeway to come up with contrasting looks. Natural-wood base and top on one credenza, for instance, are separated by doors in a slate finish, creating what the company calls a “coastal” look. A waxy finish gives a soft sheen.
Timberlake has designed four painted chests reminiscent of his rural-themed paintings, showing everything from bees buzzing around a honeycomb to a bright splash of blue hydrangeas against a dark background.
At Kincaid Furniture Co.¸ the classic solid-wood look the company is known for is evident in the new, “whole home” Vintage Cherry collection, but with convenient, modern touches. The antique keyhole locks work, but they’re accompanied by door catches that are magnetized and hidden with doweling. Drawers have cedar bottoms.
At Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co., the new Hanover bedroom collection has the look of reclaimed wood, a look that’s making inroads at the mid-price point, says President Doug Bassett. A Timber Bed sells retail for $599 and a Broom Handle Bed for $499. They are pine solids with oak, pine and charcoal finishes. The pine solids and the oak veneers, says Bassett, “mix beautifully.”
Though this market’s designs are less flamboyant than some in the past, they’re not without their edginess and glitter. It’s achieved in small doses, however, through individual pieces that can be mixed and matched, like the Barnsley Dining Table in Bernhardt’s Interiors Collection.
A design of inlaid bone tile is surrounded by black resin, echoing the black and white theme of much of the collection.
Another Bernhardt table, the Haven Round Dining Table, seems to sum up the feel of this April’s market: Homage to the past, but with forward-looking touches.
Part of the English-inspired Haven collection, it has a classic round Sheraton top in figured walnut. But look underneath, and you see the traditional four-legged pedestal base has been fashioned from softly gleaming stainless steel in an aged nickel finish.