By Cathy Hobbs / Tribune News Service
WHETHER your interior is modern or more traditional, one way to glam it up is to infuse a natural element such as wood. For decades, wood was the standard for quality and craftsmanship. For example, most furniture pieces in the 1950s and 1960s were made of solid hardwood construction, as opposed to veneers. Then, as we moved into the 1970s and 1980s, we began to see furniture made of materials such as lucite, plastic laminate, lacquer and glass. Fast forward to today, and there is a movement back toward craftsmanship and artisan-made industrial pieces that can blend seamlessly into various styles of décor.
Reclaimed wood is very popular right now and a favorite of designers. Salvaged wood, when refinished by a woodworker or craftsman, often reveals interesting nuances, such as tones and color variations, in wood that can be quite attractive for a finished piece of furniture. The cost, however, may not necessarily be a budget item, as the craftsman may account for the work needed to clean and prep the wood in his or her pricing structure.
WOOD FURNITURE PIECES
While a dining table or cased good, such as a dresser or sideboard, may be the first thought that comes to mind for an ideal wood piece, these days you can think outside of the box, as chairs, sofas and other home décor elements, such as mirrors and sculptural items, are now common in decorative boutiques and retail stores.
TIPS FOR PURCHASING WOOD FURNISHINGS
When it comes to purchasing a wooden piece of furniture, be sure to ask the following questions:
- What type of wood is the piece of furniture made of?
- Is the wood water-protected?
- How should you care for the type of wood?
- What is the best way to repair the piece of furniture if damaged?
- How should the wooden piece be packed or moved?
WHERE TO FIND IT: GOOD SOURCES
Oftentimes, the best places to look for fantastic furniture pieces involve unlikely sources. Instead of going to large retail stores, think local. In most cases, these pieces will not only involve exceptional craftsmanship, but will also likely be one of a kind or part of limited editions.
There are also local or regional juried craft shows that are nearly always a source for fabulous finds. Juried shows are those in which an artisan or craftsman must be approved by a formal jury in order to be able to showcase their wares at a booth.
As a result, these types of showcases involve artisans of a high-end caliber. Another source can be flea markets. You never know what you may stumble upon at a flea market and, oftentimes, fine woodworkers will showcase their latest designs at a flea market, as opposed to a larger venue in which they must incur a large entry fee.
Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home-staging expert.