This is a pair of custom bed end x base Spanish benches we just finished. They were custom ordered in a different size but with the same finish as the X Base oak bench we offer in our ERA Interiors store. Bed end benches are functional, popular and a way to add a design element to a bed without purchasing a new headboard. One of the most popular bed end benches is the Contemporary storage bench.
This is a mid 18th century Georgian mahogany mirror with a central rectangular beveled plate, shaped corners and mahogany borders. Some variations have gold or brass ornamentation around the edges.
A client brought this mirror in disrepair and we recarved and fixed the shape of the edges. Often with pieces that are old and made out of wood, the edges will chip and soften usually need to be replaced or recarved in order to restore the integrity of the shape of the design.
From earliest civilizations hand carved motifs have been prevalent in the decorative arts and have been inspired by sources as diverse as plant forms (acanthus), human and animal figures (cherubs) and geometrical patterns (Greek Key). Pictured is a French Neoclassical side chair shown in a natural solid wood but could be painted, waxed or gilded for the finish. This handcrafted side chair features hand carved twisted fluting legs.
Pieces of furniture that have been in the family for generations can sometimes be more difficult to incorporate into new spaces. Often it is a single piece of furniture that does not complement the rest of the interior or is an antique without a matching set. At ERA Interiors we have created custom tables to complement a set of chairs, or a set of chairs to complement an existing table. We can create or replicate custom furniture from any time period and in any style. All of our furniture is hand made and can pass the highest level of scrutiny for dealers, designers and auctions around the world. This Wainscot chair to the left is an antique and had an old, leather worn cushion. We created a custom stool which complemented the chair and matched the design style of the original. The possibilities are limitless, dusting off that table or chair in storage where you are not sure if it can fit in your home suddenly can define an interior, and give it new life.
If you have been an interior designer or architect for any length of time you’ve seen the entire process of deconstructing, reconstructing, designing and then redesigning a space. Often there are many items left in the wake of this process, most of which will be sold or discarded, and those precious few treasures which must remain and be built around. These treasures are almost always the work of a specific craftsman, not a mass produced machine made element. Perhaps it’s those delicate stairway railings that were hand carved 150 years in a Brooklyn brownstone, or the etched moldings lining the ceiling of a pre-war Upper West Side townhouse, or the wood carved gargoyles above the mantle. These are the intangibles which preserve the history and originality of a space, and increase it’s value. Furniture is the same way- the reason why the re-sale value on machine made furniture from stores like West Elm or Design Within Reach is so low is that we as humans don’t have any connection to furniture which exists in so many other spaces. It doesn’t feel unique, but is still on the expensive side considering the quality. It’s the disappointment one has when they see the same credenza they paid $4500 for sitting in the atrium of a Marriot hotel while on vacation. The flip side is that certain custom furniture and antiques retain their value and often increase over time, because it’s often the case that a particular piece of furniture does not exist anywhere else in the world or if it does, is very rare. So when you are assessing the cost of a seemingly pricey piece of furniture in a chain store, ask yourself if it’s something you feel really strongly about, does it feel original and unique and would you pass it down to future generations in addition to being absolutely perfect (size, wood, finish, etc) for the space? If you are unsure it’s worth considering a custom option, one that you can tailor to your needs and will become an heirloom.
Master furniture craftsman vs. master cabinet makers were not distinguished years ago by their respective specialties and there was a crossover. Master furniture makers are now known for their extraordinary ability to translate clients’ designs into furniture with a high level of detail and carving. Master cabinet makers are used to working with larger pieces of furniture and bigger chunks of wood, specializing in storage type pieces. Today, as machines have entered the forefront and the proliferation of stores selling every imaginable price point of furniture, it has become increasingly difficult to tell how the price correlates to the quality. West Elm is selling machine made credenzas for $2500 but then you have 60 year old “antique” credenzas selling for $15000 and up. In between these price points there is a huge gap, with cabinet makers crossing over into furniture making, and while the furniture is often hand made, it is certainly not at a master furniture craftsman’s level. So if you are a designer and you are seeking out a furniture maker to translate your custom design into reality, how can you tell the difference? One of the first, most telling examples that you are actually hiring a cabinet maker in the guise of a furniture maker is the type of furniture he or she has created or sells. Is it dominated by cabinet- type furniture? Dressers, armoires, credenzas, etc. Or by simple dining, coffee or side tables? This is often the most telling sign because most often cabinet makers cannot carve or create intricate detail the way a master craftsman furniture can, so chances are you won’t see any custom antique chair interpretations, or a headboard with an elaborate carving along the top edge for example. Another telling example the types of wood used, furniture master craftsman generally have experience working with a wider range of wood types than cabinet makers simply because many rarer types of wood are not available in large quantities. Black ebony for example, is extremely expensive and only used on higher end smaller sized furniture.The chair to the right is the perfect example of the type of furniture you would never see in a cabinet makers studio.