Tag Archives: expert craftsmanship

Princess Diana Family Home Althorp Furniture

Althorp House furniture inspirationThe Althorp Living History collection of furniture is based on the antique furniture from Princess Diana’s ancestral home in England. We are delighted that we are now supplying this elegant collection to our customers. Each piece is beautifully hand-crafted by Theodore Alexander furniture makers.

This is Althorp, the childhood home and final resting place of the late Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. Her brother Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, still lives there and he has allowed Theodore Alexander access to make the Althorp furniture collection.

Althorp Furniture: Marlborough Room

The house was built in 1508 by the Spencer family, set in 550 acres of parkland near Northampton, 70 miles north of London. Althorp has 90 rooms that are all beautifully decorated with antiques added to the house by generations of Princess Diana’s ancestors over five centuries. This is the Marlborough Room. The Victorian rosewood dining table pulls extends to seat up to 42 guests!

Theodore Alexander Althorp BedEvery piece in the Theodore Alexander Althorp furniture collection is either an exact reproduction of furniture in the Althorp estate, or is inspired by it. What an amazing and exciting challenge that must have been for the master craftsmen at Theodore Alexander!

These pieces, like all Theodore Alexander furniture, are hand-crafted with superb finishes.

For example, this four-poster Althorp bed in the style of George III is crafted in handsome mahogany with a gorgeous flame mahogany veneer design and brass accents. The acanthus leaf motif, carved columns and spiral pine cone finials create a very luxurious impression.

Theodore Alexander Althorp DeskThis Althorp Living History desk is an absolutely darling piece of furniture. Imagine sitting down before the Louis XV Rococo style desk to write your journal or your correspondence!

This fine Althorp desk is crafted in mahogany and rosewood with cast brass accents on the cabriole legs. The serpentine top adds to the seductive appeal!

Theodore Alexander Althorp Sofa SetteeYou will have a great conversational starter when you welcome your guests to take a seat in this Theodore Alexander Althorp settee! Your friends will love to hear the story of its origins. The mahogany settee with leather upholstery is crafted in the Georgian style with shapely cabriole legs and a waisted back. It’s a charming settee and a real steal on the price for a settee with such a fine heritage. At time of writing it is $1759 with our always free shipping.

It’s an honor to supply this regal line of Theodore Alexander Althorp Living History furniture and home accessories to our customers. We hope you will browse our Althorp furniture here and let your imagination take flight!

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.

 

Monkey Rug and Monkey Decor

Gwendi contacted me about the colorful monkey rug in our store. She explained that she actually has two furry children that happen to be monkeys and they really needed this rug for their room. Of course, I agreed that the monkeys definitely needed a monkey rug for their room! This monkey rug is especially nice because it is hand-hooked in 100% pure wool. It’s 48 inches wide and the colors and details are spectacular. Judge for yourself from the photo, and then I’ll show you a photo of Gwendi and a real live monkey!

Monkey Rug Hand Hooked WoolBuddyMonkeyGwendi lives in Texas and explained that she has two monkeys, Buddy, who is a Java macaque, and Gizmo, who is a marmoset. As I’ve never met a monkey personally before, I asked Gwendi to describe their personalities.

“Buddy is my lovebug. He hugs and kisses me. He sleeps with me every night. He is a big snuggler. And of course he loves to groom me. He is the sweetest thing – he is my furry kid, no doubt!” This is Buddy, snuggling up with Gwendi in the photograph!

Scarborough House Monkey Soap DishYou don’t have to have your own monkey at home to enjoy monkey decor! So if you like the monkey rug and you are a fan of monkeys, then maybe you like these other monkey decor pieces.

This is a charming new Scarborough House monkey soap dish featuring a cheerful and very smartly dressed monkey offering soap on a banana leaf. Crafted in brass with a brown patina and a verdigris brass patina, the monkey is more than 10 inches high and he stands on a sturdy and sleek black stone base. The monkey statue would be an elegant addition to a guest bathroom especially,  as he politely offers soap to your guests.  The details on the brass monkey are superb, right down to the details in the clothing and the expression on his face.

Standing Monkey CandleholderWe also love this noble OK Casting standing monkey candleholder. The classic style will look great in a traditional living room, dining room, hallway or bedroom.

The monkey candleholder is crafted by OK Casting in cast resin, and it is hand-cast and hand-painted with stunning details.  Every piece made by OK Casting is hand-crafted to order, and the custom-made candlestick is a generous 17.5 inches high.

Holding two candles aloft, the monkey is sure to make a bold impression.

I’ve never written a blog post about interior design for a monkey room before… it’s bananas! But I hope you’ve enjoyed a little monkey business and you can check out all our monkey decor in our online store.

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.

Eglomise Glass Furniture and Home Decor

Antiqued Mirror Gold EglomiseWe have added more églomisé glass furniture and decor to our online EuroLuxHome.com gallery recently. This is a very special technique that takes a lot of expertise for craftsmen and women to achieve. The results are breathtakingly beautiful!

The verre églomisé technique sometimes gives an aged or antiqued look to glass or a mirror, and sometimes it gives a very pretty and decorative effect.

Verre églomisé is a French phrase, and the term means that the glass (verre in French) has a design or gilding applied on the rear of the glass to create a mirror finish.

This antiqued gilt and eglomise wall mirror in our store is a good example.

You can see how the églomisé effect applied to the back of the glass makes the wall mirror look naturally aged.

Another way of applying the églomisé technique is in a very decorative piece, like this superb new John-Richard églomisé credenza.

Eglomise CredenzaThe John-Richard credenza is extraordinary with its antiqued gold and abstract pattern. We reckon that this piece would work in so many interior design styles. It is perfect for a glamorous Art Deco interior, and it will also pack a punch in a Mid-Century Modern, Modern or Contemporary home. The artisans at John-Richard have really outdone themselves.

Eglomise screenThis is also a John-Richard piece. The John-Richard églomisé floor screen is less overtly ornate in the design of the glass than the credenza above, but it shows how an églomisé finish can turn a simple piece of glass into a fairyland! It also turns it semi-opaque, which is very useful if you are the person getting dressed behind the screen!

Scarborough House Eglomise Center TableThe gold leaf églomisé table top on this incredible Scarborough House center table almost plays second fiddle to the ornately hand-carved base. But not quite!

The beautiful gold leaf églomisé top is the perfect complement to the hand-carved wood. A plain glass top here might look as if something was a little out of balance… the heavily carved table needs a top that can stand up to it! The decorative reverse painted gold leaf glass top does exactly that.  If you want to create a handsome focal point for your foyer, living room or great room, this table has you covered!

There is something quite magical about églomisé glass furniture and decor that simply takes my breath away. It has a delicate and slightly mysterious quality. I hope that you feel the same way after our little tour! To see all the églomisé glass furniture and decor on our website, just click the link and extend your tour of wonderland.

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.

Verdigris and Rusted Metal Decor

Aged metal including verdigris and rusted metal decor brings a very unique look to a home. Obviously if you leave a piece of metal or glass outside for long enough it will start looked naturally aged, rusted and weathered. But most of us don’t have the patience for that, and also we don’t want to leave a beautiful chandelier or mirror out in the elements! Fortunately, there are lots of options to buy new metal decor and lighting that is already aged for you!

Oxidized iron chandelierThis impressive new 8-arm chandelier made by China WInd is a great example of how convincing rusted metal can look. First, the turned wood center column of the chandelier is hand-painted with rustic gold tones and distressed to create the illusion of age. Then the iron arms holding the electric candles are given an oxidized finish which gives the chandelier a ton of character. The rusted look is very authentic, making this a perfect choice for shabby romantic decor, or a nautical style room.

Chelsea House Erusticated Metal SconceThis erusticated sconce by Chelsea House has a completely different look to the chandelier, but the erusticated metal finish on the acanthus leaf sconce again makes it look as if you found it in a vintage store. In fact, it’s newly crafted by Chelsea House but cleverly weathered. The places where it is worn are exactly the places that would grow worn and erusticated over time.

Scarborough House Frog StatueVerdigris is the term used to describe the bluish-green patina that naturally forms on copper or brass when it has been exposed to the air and moisture over many decades.

Verdigris is a lovely effect that works in all traditional decor styles and it has a charming and homely look to it.

This new Scarborough House frog statue shows just how attractive a verdigris finish can be. The brass statue boasts a verdigris finish on the frog, replicating the green skin of real frogs. The frog is rowing a shoe, of course! This statue is perfect for people who like a little whimsy. The brass shoe doesn’t have a verdigris finish and the contrast with Mr Frog is delightful.
Wildwood Gold Leaf Table LampThis wonderful new Wildwood Lamps table lamp also has a lovely aged metal finish. This is created by aged gold leaf on the lamp base, which is designed as a stylized pineapple. The pineapple was a popular motif in antique French and European furniture, symbolizing wealth and abundance. The aged gold leaf makes the lamp look like an antique even though it is new, and visually it also softens the gold leaf. If the gold were left unaged, then it could look a bit too bright and blingy, couldn’t it? The aged gold leaf gives a very tasteful effect.

Antiqued Sconce Mirror

Finally, I just want to mention antiqued glass in mirrors. When a furniture maker ages the glass in a mirror, it creates a much softer effect, just like the aged gold leaf lamp above.

For example, this new China Wind Antiqued mirror sconce shows just what a little clever aging on the mirror can do! The antiqued mirror is a better match for the distressed gold and blue mirror frame and electric candle holders. It could ruin the overall distressed look if the mirror were too shiny!

But also the antiqued mirror creates a softness that will give a more gentle reflection of the sconce light. The mood is immediately nostalgic and romantic. It’s a perfect piece for a boudoir or a Victorian or Boho hallway.

If you enjoyed this post, then take a look at my other posts in this series on techniques used to create distressed furniture and how furniture makers create weathered furniture to give effects including driftwood, bleached, and weathered paint.

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.

Weathered Furniture for Casual Decor Appeal

Weathered furniture looks wonderfully authentic in any beach style decor or coastal cottage. But the relaxed look of weathered furniture can work with any home decor style. It always adds a lived-in charm that looks comfortable, casual, and welcoming. You can hunt around to find vintage furniture that is naturally weathered by the years, but you can also find lots of new weathered furniture in many styles. Kick back and enjoy some inspiration for new weathered furniture crafted with different techniques. These pieces are so convincing, you will believe that they have been naturally aged by the elements!

Painted Weathered Furniture

Rubbed Paint Sideboard BlueThe skillful rubbed finish on this teal blue painted sideboard by Furniture Classics  shows how effective a weathered painted finish can be! The sideboard would look wonderful in a rustic kitchen or dining room, whether it is decorated in a coastal style or with a romantic Boho look, or perhaps in a Mediterranean style. Either way, the sideboard adds a splash of color and tons of character.

Distressed gray carved sconceThe weathered hand-painted finish on this carved wood sconce looks incredible. You could easily believe that the sconce was found in an abandoned castle in the countryside somewhere in Europe.

The carved and hand-painted China Wind sconce is crafted with decadent style, in a charcoal gray finish that will work beautifully in many color schemes.

It is nicely sized at 20 inches high and the hand-painted weathered finish on the carved wood is enhanced by the rusted metal arms.  It’s perfect for a nautical interior design scheme!

Weathered Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed Elm Furniture Classics CabinetReclaimed wood is a great choice to give a weathered look as the wood is already naturally weathered and aged.

This Furniture Classics reclaimed elm cabinet  is a perfect example. The reclaimed elm wood looks beautifully aged and weathered as though it has been a family favorite for many years.

The cabinet would look happily at home in any rustic style decor, including Farmhouse style. The metal hardware adds to the sense of substance.

The reclaimed wood with its textured grain would also look great in a Scandinavian style room. It is packed with Hygge appeal – the Danish style that symbolizes homestyle comfort and cosiness. There is no pretentiousness here, just a sturdy cabinet that is easy to live with.

 

Driftwood finish pine coffee tableAlso crafted in reclaimed wood, this time pine, this new Furniture Classics coffee table            has a driftwood finish that makes it especially great for a coastal cottage or condo. The stripped finish is brushed and then allowed to age in a natural state to get a driftwood effect. Chunky baluster style legs are the perfect complement to the planked table. This reclaimed pine table invites everyone to gather round and relax!

Weathered Bleached and Driftwood Furniture

Weathered Scarborough House Side TableIf you like the driftwood look, then in addition to the reclaimed wood table above, you will admire the weathered driftwood finish on this new Scarborough House pedestal side table. The weathered parchment finish gives a driftwood effect.

The pale distressed patina is so versatile, this side table would work as well in a contemporary room as it would in a more rustic or Farmhouse setting.

I can picture it being a terrific match for your Scandinavian style decor too!

 

Scarborough House Weathered wood side tableWe also love this other new Scarborough House weathered side table that has a completely different look.

It is crafted with a bleached wood top and lower shelf, creating the weathered effect. It looks like the table has been left out in the sun to naturally age! The rust finish on the metal legs adds to the natural maritime appeal. It’s a lovely table for your rustic cabin or beach house, and we think it would be a nice fit for a conservatory or covered patio area too.

Writing this post makes me look forward to summer even more than I was already! But for any time of year, weathered furniture creates character in a casual home decor scheme. It immediately sends the message: “We care more about living well and enjoying our home, than making sure everything is perfectly pristine!”

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.

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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