When Furnishing a home it is not easy to decide on any specific decorative theme. Sure, some like to have an ‘oriental room’ or an ‘Egyptian room’ or something similar, but many people just want to have a room that looks different. They don’t want to conform to the usual Egyptian, Wild West or Roman theme, or whatever other decorative fad is popular at the time.
Many people believe rooms themed in such a fashion to look a bit cheap, because the artifacts are obviously not real, and many of the designs have never been seen during the period they are supposed to represent. Historical accuracy is very important when furnishing a home to any specific period, even though it is only one room.
Antiques and American Colonial Furniture
Many people like collecting antiques, such as figurines, items of furniture or even just snuff boxes and other items that are genuine relics of a bygone age. Others like to collect paintings or tapestries originating from a certain period, such as the Georgian period of English history, the Louis periods of French history (usually Louis XIV-XVI) or even the French Imperial era of Napoleon and later.
Many look to the Colonial era of American History, particularly the New England period when those who were to become the first true Americans made their own artifacts, including their own furniture. Furnishing a home, or at least a single room, in the style of one of these periods is not unusual in the USA, and furniture manufacturers have recognize this in some of the products they are offering.
Much of the furniture manufacture in America during the colonial an evolutionary periods were copies of French and English pieces.
Southwood Furniture Reproductions
This is not intended as a Southwood furniture review, but since that is the one American company that has realized its ambition of becoming one of America’s top manufacturers of reproduction furniture, then it is difficult to look elsewhere for a better example. In fact, Southwood is the only American furniture firm allowed access to the Historic New England archives to research the genuine furniture designs used during the Colonial period.
So, using Southwood as an example, here are some of the items of furniture that are available to you should you wish to furnish a room in your home in one of these interesting periods. Or perhaps you simply want to supplement your collection of antique accent items with some pieces of furniture that genuinely represent the same periods faithfully and accurately.
For example, if you have an old French grandfather clock in your hall, why not complement it with a beautiful reproduction Louis XV 5-legged corner chair, with graceful gilded cyma legs? That’s a fabulous way to use up an otherwise empty corner. You could supplement that with a lovely consol table set against the wall. Some suitable wall covering and French period prints would complete the effect.
American Reproduction Furniture
Maybe you prefer to decorate and furnish your lounge in a French style, but one originally manufactured in America. Much of the early American colonial and revolutionary furniture manufactured in America was copied from English and French designs brought to the colonies by merchants and seafarers.
The Southwood reproduction of the Otis Empire chair, the original of which can be seen in the Otis House Museum in Boston, is completely true to the original, just as all Southwood reproductions reproduce the original piece as much as possible using modern materials.
This is a genuine Napoleonic Empire period reproduction, the original copy of which is believed to have been made by American craftsman Duncan Phyfe. The carved Ionic leaves beneath the arms represent Napoleon’s victories in Egypt, and this chair is a beautiful reproduction of an American chair made during the French Empire period.
Early American Furniture
Furnishing a home with reproduction furniture generally refers to solid wood and upholstered furniture from the 17th century onward. Many Americans like to furnish at least one room in the style of the early revolutionaries such as can be seen in Paul Revere’s house in Boston, or in any of the mansions maintained by the Historic New England Museum.
Most of these are 16th an 18th century, the earliest being the Jackson house in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the Gedney house in Salem, Massachusetts built in 1664 an 1665 respectively. It is from the 18th century houses that most of the furniture used for reproductions originated. The bulk of this was collected by sea captains and merchants during their travels, a large proportion being of French and English origin.
If you intend furnishing a home with reproduction furniture, or even a single room, you will find a good selection online to choose from. Southwood Furniture in particular was created in order to become one of America’s best reproduction furniture manufacturers, and while not the only one, it can certainly be recommended.