The pandemic lockdown has taught us how important home is to our sense of well-being, our comfort and our whole outlook on life. For many people, these last months have been an enforced opportunity to take a prolonged look at the place called “home.” We’ve experienced changes in work, school and family needs. We’re ready to move on to newer or older, smaller or larger, simpler or more sophisticated surroundings.
Now is the ideal time for redecorating, repurposing, remodeling and building anew. With these changes comes the need for different furniture. But where to begin? There are so many possibilities, so many choices.
A great place to start is with fine American furniture, with its 400-year tradition of excellence. As Karen Keane, Skinner’s CEO, observes only half-jokingly, “It doesn’t rust, and they aren’t making any more of it.” This furniture is well-made, often of materials such as old-growth wood that are no longer available. It’s forthright in design. It’s time-tested, practical and beautiful — and right now it’s a buyer’s market.
Intriguing pieces are increasingly available as homeowners downsize, right-size and simplify. Important collections are being dispersed and offered at auction. There’s a great deal to choose from and no limit to the imaginative ways that treasures from the past can serve the needs of the present and the future.
Not so long ago, prevailing decorating wisdom favored a painstaking, time-coordinated look. Like the period rooms in museums or historic houses, private houses were often close approximations in every possible detail of the styles of a short time span — furniture, color scheme, wall and floor coverings, window treatments. (Luckily, historical authenticity wasn’t usually allowed to go too far. Central heating and electric lighting were permitted.)
Times change and tastes have become more venturesome. We’re a lot more relaxed about our surroundings today. Eclectic comfort has replaced academic correctness. Like fusion cuisine, fusion décor has come into its own.
Among its elements — timeless American studio furniture. Its artisans were also artists, and many of their pieces are sculptures as well as chairs, tables and storage pieces. One-of-a-kind or limited production pieces by George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, Judy McKie and their contemporaries are increasingly found in museums, but they’re most at home when they’re at home — in homes of any and every design.
Regardless of the style or “look” selected, opportunities abound in antique and vintage furniture. From time-tested colonial and Federal design to mid-century modern to 1980s and ’90s studio furniture, Skinner auctions offer a great selection of pieces that will refresh and enhance a home of any, or no particular, period.
For more, contact Katie at email@example.com or 212-787-1114.