Tag Archives: expert craftsmanship

Distressed Furniture

If you are looking for distressed furniture styles, then obviously our antique French furniture is naturally distressed from at least once century of being loved and used!  Sometimes though, our customers want new pieces that just look old… they want antique-inspired furniture that is newly crafted but with an aged and distressed look.  We have plenty of options for new furniture and home decor on our website so we are happy to help out!  Today I’m going to tell you how some of our furniture makers work their magic to achieve their distressed furniture finishes.

Jonathan Charles Distressed Desk Some of the best antique-inspired furniture is crafted using the same techniques that were used for the original antiques. Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture is a good example – their reproductions include hand-cut marquetry and intricate carved details. Then their pieces are aged to look like an antique.  This Jonathan Charles distressed bureau in the Queen Anne style gives you a taste of their skills!

Jonathan Sowter, founder of the company and a cabinet maker since he was 12 years old, says: “If you take a piece of furniture and finish it fantastically, people could imagine it’s an antique. It’s all in the finish.”

Jonathan Charles distressed desk

That requires special knowledge to get the distressed furniture look. Sowter says that his craftsmen understand where a piece of furniture would have bangs and knocks and scrapes after years of use, and where it wouldn’t.

“Even shading around the handle,” Sowter says, “because when you clean antiques for hundreds of years you don’t always clean in and around the handle!”

This close-up of a section of the oak bureau shows what he means. The bureau is a replica of Queen Anne desk designs dating to 1710, more than 300 years ago. The desk looks incredibly authentic, you could certainly believe that it’s been used for three centuries.

Scarborough House Distressed CabinetAnother way that distressed furniture gets its aged look is through hand-planing. The furniture makers at Scarborough House are brilliant at this.

This heavily distressed Scarborough House chest cabinet is one of their many hand-planed pieces. Combining a rustic look with beautiful parquetry for visual and textural interest, the sturdy and heavily distressed cabinet is cleverly planed by hand to give that genuinely old look. It’s the kind of technique that takes years to perfect!

Another way that distressed furniture gets its antiqued look is through hand-rubbed finishes. This Ambella Home Bonita king bed has a hand-rubbed antique ebony finish that makes it look far more interesting than if the black finish looked too perfectly “new.”

Ambella Home Bonita Bed Hand Rubbed KingWoodbridge Side Table Distressed

Woodbridge Furniture Company makers are also masters at distressed furniture, with their hand-rubbed and waxed finishes.

This lovely little Woodbridge side table with a dovetail construction drawer is crafted in solid wood and finished with a hand-rubbed distressed cherry veneer. It is not only a very practical side table (I can imagine it as a bedside table too!) but it looks great because the gently aged appeal is very charming.

Whenever you buy distressed furniture, you don’t want the distressing to be too obvious otherwise everyone can spot that bad distressing a mile away and they know it’s a new piece. The best distressed furniture keeps everyone guessing!

Here are more examples of beautifully distressed furniture on our website. Prepare yourself to be seduced!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Home Decor Trends: Nailhead Trim

Nailhead trim is yet another traditional design detail that is getting a lot of attention in this year’s lists of decor trends! A Better Homes and Gardens magazine article called What We Want in Our Homes: 2014 highlighted nailhead trim. They said: “It’s an ideal trend to embrace for larger investment pieces, such as upholstered chairs and sofas, because it’s timeless.”

Even though nailhead trim is especially fashionable now it is never really out of fashion, so you don’t have to worry about it looking dated in a few years. Nailhead trim is a classic detail that goes back 400 years.Antique French Hunting chairs

Nailheads were a practical way for European craftsmen to attach fabric or leather to the wooden furniture frame. For example, we’ve got this very rare set of antique French Hunting chairs from 1880 in the gallery. We have never seen embossed leather on a set of Hunting chairs before. But you can see that the beautifully embossed leather panels on the seat and back are attached to the ornately carved oak chair frames by attractive nailheads.

Let’s have a look at some of the other nailhead trim furniture in our gallery, whether traditional or more contemporary or transitional in design!

Nailhead trim on leather sofaThis new Chesterfield leather daybed is hand-made to order in the USA by an American company we work with. As you can see, the top grain leather upholstery is accented by a beautiful nailhead trim that gives it a traditional feel. Each brass nail is hand-driven on this nicely crafted piece. Like all the other custom-made in the USA leather sofas from that company, the daybed is available in many leather colors.

Red Leather dining chair nailhead trimThe decorative nails on these newly crafted Cloister style leather dining chairs are also applied by hand. The nailhead trim serves to accent the sleek lines of the wine red leather panels. These Cloister style chairs remind me of medieval castles and churches!

It’s a specialist craft to apply the nails because they have to be perfectly spaced and you have to get it right first time to avoid damaging the upholstery. The small, family-owned company that makes these chairs employs craftsmen who know how to drive the nails by hand, of course.

Leather stool with nailhead trimBut if you are are trying to do a DIY project and you don’t have the carpentry or upholstery skills, then I know that you can buy faux nailhead trim by the yard. I would not recommend doing that to antique or high-quality furniture! Also, the faux nailhead doesn’t look as good as the real thing because you can see the strips joining the mock nails. But it might be a fun way to freshen up a cheaper piece of furniture.

This new leather stool certainly does NOT rely on faux nailhead by the yard! It is hand-crafted by Woodbridge Furniture Company and I wanted to show it to you because the nailhead trim is so integral to the design. The bold nails outline the sculptural oval back, almost acting as jewelry for the furniture.

Nailhead trim on Ambella Home SideboardIf you need any more convincing that nailhead trim works across many styles of furniture, this fabulous Ambella Home sideboard from the Manhattan collection should do the trick. The angular demi-lune shaped sideboard boasts white leather-look upholstery on the doors, studded with nickel nailheads. Polished nickel ring door handles match the nailheads. The result is classic, high-end, and sophisticated, but with a little edge! The Ambella Home Manhattan collection also includes beds, dining chairs, and other furniture with this design, so ask us about it if you love the look as much as we do!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Jonathan Charles Furniture: Hand-Crafted in Traditional Style

EuroLuxAntiques.com started selling Jonathan Charles furniture last year as the craftsmanship and traditional designs meet our high standards. Each piece is skillfully hand-crafted using the same techniques as original antique English and French furniture.  We are very impressed with the high-quality construction and beautiful finishes that make even antique dealers take a second look to see if it is new or antique.

This video shows the attention to detail and traditional craftsmanship involved. No wonder our customers love their Jonathan Charles pieces!

The video is narrated by Jonathan Sowter, founder of Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture. He explains that most of the company’s furniture designs are based on famous antiques and the furniture found in stately homes of Europe.

Sideboard by Jonathan Charles FurnitureFrom intricate carvings to hand-painted details to genuine hand-cut marquetry, Sowter says that his highly skilled craftsmen (and women!) use the same techniques that were used back in the day. “That way it’s easier to look like the original antiques,” says Sowter. “We’re lucky enough to have the skills to do that.”

You can see the result in this gorgeous Jonathan Charles sideboard from the Buckingham collection, crafted in English Regency style. The figured fine crotch mahogany veneers and crossbanding are nicely paired with the patinated brass rail

Buckingham Bed by Jonathan Charles Furniture With the amount of work involved in each piece, requiring skills that have largely died out these days, there truly is a “wow!” factor.

For example, this regal and romantic four-poster Jonathan Charles king-sized bed is based on designs by the 18th century English furniture master Thomas Chippendale. The mahogany flame veneer detail is wonderful. We would all sleep like kings and queens in that beauty!

Trying to find exactly the right authentic hardware is difficult, so Jonathan Charles Furniture has its own foundry to make every unique handle or pin.

Jonathan Charles Furniture DeskSowter describes furniture hardware as: “Jewelry, the finishing touch that just makes a great piece of furniture fantastic.” Yep, we see it in the stunning and intricate antique-inspired handles and hinges on this Jonathan Charles Furniture secretaire or secretary desk.

Behind the doors of the William and Mary style walnut cabinet you’ll find églomisé detail in the fully fitted interior. There are plenty of drawers and pigeonholes for all your treasures too!

Oh, I wanted to tell you about the fantastic Jonathan Charles tables, chairs, mirrors, and other kinds of home accents. But that will have to wait for another day. Meanwhile, you can browse all the Jonathan Charles in our inventory and see for yourself why we are proud to carry heirloom-quality Jonathan Charles furniture.

Don’t forget that because we’re on the South Carolina Antique Trail, we’re offering 10% off everything (and our always-free shipping) when you enter the coupon code at checkout: AntiqueTrail  through March 31, 2014.

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

 

5 Winter Care Tips for Antique Furniture

With winter putting the shivers on everyone, I thought I’d take a moment to give you some tips on how to care for and protect your antique furniture from the vagaries of humidity fluctuation. First, a bit of background.

As most of us don’t live in museums, with humidity-controlled environments, it’s important for you to be mindful of how rising and falling humidity levels can affect your antique and reproduction furniture. Did you know relative indoor humidity levels can fall as low as 30% when the furnace cranks up and can rise to 80% indoors during the summer? The wood in your furniture will naturally expand and contract with these fluctuations. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. In fact, you should see natural wood shrinkage at the joints of antique furniture. If you don’t, you’re probably looking at a reproduction!

Still, all that expansion and contraction of the wood in antique and reproduction furniture can have negative consequences, such as split panels and crackled finishes. Here are five tips to help your furniture survive normal indoor humidity fluctuations.

1. Buy high-quality, expertly made furniture. Some people believe any antique piece is “high quality,” but that is not necessarily the case. When you buy fine antique furniture on the internet or in a gallery, always closely inspect the construction of the piece and ask the seller to show you what makes it a quality item. The same goes for reproduction furniture. Expert woodworkers understand wood shrinks in the direction of the grain, so pieces should be cut and fitted in order to allow the wood to expand and contract at the joints. If the panels cannot move naturally at the joints, they may crack in half.

In this video, I talk a little bit about how to evaluate an antique French Hunting buffet for its quality of construction.

2. Keep your fine furniture out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Never place a piece of antique or high-quality reproduction furniture next to or on top of a heat register. This will cause the wood to dry out even more than it usually would. Exposing furniture to sunlight can cause the finish to deteriorate rapidly, which can allow still more moisture exchange between the environment and the wood.

3. Stabilize the finish with paste wax. As furniture ages, its finish naturally becomes brittle and microscopically pitted. You can help your furniture age gracefully by cleaning it with a gentle soap (like Murphy’s Oil Soap; allow the piece to dry thoroughly after this step), abrading it with 4x 0000 steel wool if the finish has become dull and hazy, and applying a good paste wax (we like TLC wax) using 0000 steel wool. Allow it to dry, then buff it. You’ll get a good arm workout! Or you can use a buffer attachment for your power drill. You only need to wax your furniture every one to three years, depending on its condition and the humidity levels in your home or region.

4. Use a humidifier. If you live in a very dry climate, you can try to lessen relative humidity fluctuations indoors with a humidifier. However, don’t place any piece of fine antique or reproduction furniture too close to a humidifier. This can cause the wood to absorb too much moisture.

5. Avoid common spray products for “dusting and polishing.” You know the ones we’re talking about! These popular products will only serve to cause buildup on your furniture’s finish, and they actually attract dust! Not what you want, right? Instead, just dust your fine antique furniture with a very slightly damp cloth or feather duster.

I hope you find these tips helpful for preserving your antique and high-quality reproduction furniture so you can pass it down through generations to come!

 

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

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