Antique Reproduction Furniture – A Cost Effective Option

Antique furniture has a certain style, class and beauty that it brings to a room. Most of us adore and desire this classic and timeless look, and would love our homes or offices to have the same feel and look but only very few can afford it. What a lot of people now know is that they can get a furniture crafts man to build the exact replica of that antique piece that they would have spent a fortune on. This type of furniture is called reproduction furniture. There are a lot of reproduction furniture manufacturers out there now as this type of furniture is gaining popularity. Not only is reproduction furniture affordable, it comes fully fitted and can be customized as much as the buyer desires.

As we all know antique furniture is cut throat expensive and not easy to find. A lot of antique furniture lovers are starting to look at antique reproduction furniture as a less expensive alternative that will give their space the same feel and look as original antique furniture. Most of the people now going for antique furniture believe flat pack modern furniture is starting to lose style, class and any form of uniqueness or individuality. When choosing the right reproduction furniture maker to build that antique piece you have been dreaming of furnishing your space with, there are certain factors that you might want to consider.

Firstly check if you have any reproduction furniture makers local to you, as reproduction furniture is usually shipped assembled. The closer the manufacturer the more assured you are that your furniture will get to you in good condition. Also check out the quality of the furniture the manufacturer had built for other customers and find out what type of wood and materials they use and where they get their materials from especially if you are going to be ordering more than just one table and chair. If you end up going for a manufacturer that is not local, make sure you find out how they plan to ship the finished product to you; if they will be shipping directly or through a third-party. Also if the manufacturer you go for is local to you it will be easier to send it back if there are any problems with it or you need something changed.

Furnishing a Home With Reproduction Furniture

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.

Reproduction Furniture or the Real Thing: Antique Furniture or Copies?

Should you purchase reproduction furniture or the real thing? Is it better to buy antique furniture for your home or copies? The word ‘copy’ might be unfair to cabinetmakers skilled in hand-crafting reproductions since many are better made than the originals, but that is fundamentally what they are.

In using the term ‘better made’ there is no intention to suggest that the reproductions are better than the originals. Certainly not in the sense that a copy of the Mona Lisa could ever be better painted than Leonardo Da Vinci’s original.

However, it is possible for a reproduction Louis XIV sofa to be stronger than the original due to advances in construction techniques. That is itself is admitting that it would not then be a perfect copy, if there ever could be such a thing.

However, this discussion is not about the relative merits of originals and reproductions or copies, but about which would be the better for your home. The original or the copy. While it would be great to be able to afford to buy the originals of such fine furniture, in many respects it would not be suitable for the modern home.

How Are Antiques Defined?

First, what is the definition of an ‘antique?’ In 1930, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act defined it as being any item produced prior to 1830. In 1966, the U.S. Customs Office changed this to be any item over 100 years old (for some reason excluding carpets and rugs!) In 1993, this was further amended to include objects that have been amended or restored with modern parts where these do not exceed 50% and where the intrinsic character of the object has not been changed.

Given this, then any item made prior to 1913 can be regarded as antique. It is not these items with which we are concerned but furniture of recognized antiquity. Examples include the French Louis and Imperial periods, the UK Georgian periods and earlier, and American colonial furniture.

Drawbacks of Original Antiques

A main drawback of original antiques is their great age and value. Would you really want a genuine piece by a great English master of the late 18th century Georgian period to be sitting in your home? A cabinet by the great Thomas Chippendale sold at Christies, London England, in 2008 for £2.4 million (around $3.8 million.)

That’s one drawback. The insurance and your reluctance to permit anybody to use it! Thomas Sheraton pieces of around the same era are built with the hallmark Sheraton slender legs that might snap in an instant if leaned upon today. In fact, that’s another major drawback of using genuine antique furniture of value in your home.

Benefits of Reproduction Furniture

One benefit of reproduction furniture is obvious. You can furnish your home with pieces that are practically exact copies of the originals at a very low price. Southwood Furniture is America’s principal and most respect manufacturer of reproduction antique furniture. This company can provide you with reproductions of pieces from the major British and European furniture eras, and also from the American Colonial era.

This company is mentioned principally because it is the only furniture manufacturer in the world that has received permission to reproduce the furniture contained in the 36 homes that comprise the Historic New England Museum. It does so beautifully, and you can have any of these pieces reproduced to display and use in your own home.

Herein lays the major benefit of reproduction furniture. You get to use these designs without the drawbacks associated with age and wear. The original upholstery is reproduced as far as it is possible to do so, and the woodworking skills are awesome. The turned legs and stretchers are as near to perfect as you will get, and the hand carving is of the highest quality.

Uses Of Reproduction Furniture When Furnishing An Office

If you are looking for retro, traditional or other types of furniture when decorating your office, reproduction furniture could be a practical alternative to buying unique items. You’ll be able to buy reproduction workplace furniture or seats without necessarily going broke.

The marketplace for reproduction furniture has grown dramatically as the costs for unique antiques in good condition have raised dramatically. This isn’t just the situation for the classic antique styles of furniture. The retro look from the 1950s and 1960s has become more fashionable and there are not enough originals available, therefore there is a market for reproduction furniture.

If you are searching for the traditional or retro office look, buying original items in good useable condition can be very expensive. Additionally, many of the products may not provide the features that modern day workplace environments need. Even purchasing items that require work can be expensive over time when the price or restoration is taken into consideration. There is also the chance that you unconsciously buy fake furniture that is of low quality.

Reproduction furniture provides significant differences to fake furniture. Fake components of furniture are created to deliberately deceive the buyer into thinking that the item is definitely an original. Reproduction furniture may carry markings of its maker and does not conceal the fact that it is a reproduction.

For a lot of products with a retro 1950s and 1960s might be made from the original moulds, yet use diverse modern components. If the original moulds aren’t available, then a new mould is made, frequently using an original item in the making of the completely new mold.

Excellent reproduction furniture will be made of high quality materials and will look like an authentic item, but method of construction may be diverse; as an example, the final finish may use modern lacquers instead of French shine.

Several manufacturers of reproduction workplace furniture will give you a complete suite of furniture from the desk to book case and filing units all with the identical style. A workplace that looks coordinated gives a better impression to visitors and good reproduction furniture will make it appear that the office is designed in a classic style.

One of the needs of a modern workplace is a table that is suitable for using a pc. Many producers will make a desk that when not being used may be like an original bit of furniture, however, if being used, a drawer front may fold down to use with some sort of pc style keyboard. In these cases, the furniture will even allow for all of the cabling to be concealed.