Furniture Classics

Period-appropriate furniture for every style.

Iconic pieces emerge in every age, then cycle through periods of revival. Choose a classic, of any period, as the anchor—or a departure. More come to mind: the stenciled Hitchcock chair, the Boston rocker, sleigh beds and brass beds, the Duncan Phyfe pedestal dining table, the Victorian walnut étagère.

Bow Arm Morris Chair.

Adapted from a vernacular type by a designer for Morris & Co. in the 19th century, the Morris chair was the first recliner. The sturdy American version peaked during the Arts & Crafts period. This is the Stickley Bow Arm Morris Chair (#89-406) in leather with a loose cushion. Stickley, (315) 682-5500,

Canopy bed.

Turned-post beds are attributed to Sheraton and Hepplewhite, English furniture makers who published pattern books in the second half of the 18th century. Eldred Wheeler’s ‘Sheraton Field Bed’ is a design, ca. 1780–1820, for a “portable” bed. Posts are hand-turned; a bow canopy arches over the Connecticut River Valley headboard. Models/wood species vary. Eldred Wheeler, (800) 779-5310,

Saarinen Pedestal Table.

Designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll in 1956, seen in many movies and an eclectic range of interiors ever since. Round top 35”–60” dia. in white laminate, polished marble, or veneer. From Design Within Reach, (800) 944-2233, 

The Piecrust Table.

The frill-edged piecrust table is the standout among 18th-century occa-sional tables. The ‘Eyre Family Tea Table’ is modeled on a Chippendale-style original made in Philadelphia ca. 1760–80. With a tripod pedestal and a one-piece top shaped from a solid mahogany board, it measures 35” in dia. Andersen & Stauffer, (717) 626-6776,

Klismos Chair.

With a curved backrest and tapering, out-curved legs, the klismos chair is based on an ancient Greek design. Stable and lightweight, the type was revived during the neoclassicism of the 1780s and has been re-interpreted ever since: decoratively painted, upholstered, and adapted for Modernism. This reserved example would work in almost any interior. Ethan Allen Inc., (888) 324-3571,

The Noguchi Table.

Sculptor turned environmental designer Isamu Noguchi began working with furniture company Herman Miller in 1942; the iconic low sofa table dates to 1948. A thick slab of glass sits on two smooth pieces of solid wood that interlock to form a tripod. Base available in four options. Herman Miller, (888) 798-0202,

Eames Molded Chairs.

A large range of molded chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames in the late 1940s and early 1950s for the Michigan company Herman Miller is still in production. Deep seat pocket and waterfall edge provide comfort, colorful polypropylene provides fun. By Herman Miller through Design Within Reach, (800) 944-2233,

Shaker side table.

The Shakers’ early-19th-century furniture startles us with its spare elegance, perfect proportion, and modern look. The classic candle stand with spider legs is based on one made at New Lebanon, N.Y., ca. 1835. Shaker Workshops, (800) 840-9121,

The Wing Chair.

Adapted from the tall-back chairs that kept drafts at bay in colonial times, the wing chair was lush and skirted during the 1930s–50s. Reproductions in every style are available, but this one has a 20th-century look. ‘Fully Upholstered Chair’ and others at Hickory White; call a dealer for a quote:

Windsor chair.

Indicative of centuries of sturdy, inventive design, the many forms of Windsor chairs reflect regional styles and various uses. The bow back is perhaps the most familiar. Shown here is the bow-back Windsor side chair from New Hampshire furniture maker D.R. Dimes. (603) 942-8050,

The Highboy chest.

The high chest of drawers on legs is a classic piece from the golden age of furniture. This Chippendale example is based on those made by John Townsend of Newport, Rhode Island, in the 18th century. Shown in walnut with hand-cut dovetail joinery and a hand-carved shell in the apron. Doucette & Wolfe Furniture Makers, (603) 730-7745,

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