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Traditional Style Updated to Meet the Needs of Today’s Homeowners

Without a doubt, traditional style remains at the top of the popularity charts in America’s home decorating. Gracious and inviting, traditional design evokes images of understated elegance and the grand style of the 18th and 19th century -- and the warmth and classical comfort many of us remember from our childhood homes. But if you equate “traditional” and “grand” with “old and stodgy,” it’s time to take another look. While elegance and history still personify this style, a definite and growing movement to bring traditional design into a fresher, more relaxed realm is well underway.

A perfect example is the new approach being taken to one of the most enduring styles in American décor -- Queen Anne furniture. Queen Anne furniture, named for the English monarch of the early 1700s, was the dominant décor during America’s Colonial period and has become the most reproduced furniture style ever since. Its hallmarks are darker woods like walnut and mahogany finished to a high gloss; artful, shell-carved designs on table and chair legs; tall, broken pediment arches topping cabinets, and eye-pleasing, serpentine curves and cabriole legs that were at the time a revolutionary departure from the square furniture legs of earlier furniture styles.

Thomasville brings a breath of fresh air into this stately style -- and one of its own most popular lines -- with the new Collector’s Cherry collection of bedroom, living room, dining room and occasional furniture. Collector’s Cherry’s intriguing cathedral and quarter-sawn cherry veneers combine traditional bombé shapes and carved pediment scrolls with such updated elements as convenient storage options and simplified brass-finished hardware that complement the beauty of a rich but more contemporary low-sheen finish.

For the bedroom, Collector’s Cherry provides consumers with maximum versatility with several bed, chest and dresser options. In addition to a stately four-poster bed is a sleek sleigh bed accentuated with a high back to accommodate today’s thicker pillow-top mattresses. A signature piece is the Susannah bed, a fully upholstered winged channel-back headboard available in 1,000 fabrics and -- for a surprisingly contemporary touch -- soft and supple leather.

Dining options include an oval and a handsome rectangular double-pedestal table that can be paired with either Queen Anne or Chippendale arm and side chairs, all with graceful cabriole legs. Numerous storage and display options include three china designs: a corner and breakfront china carrying the broken pediment with flame finial motif -- which can be conveniently removed to fit the space constraints of homes with lower ceilings -- and a canted china with four beveled glass doors. In addition to the classic sideboard, the group includes a mobile server with foldout top for convenience and extra serving space.

The line is completed with an array of occasional and wall pieces in a variety of sizes to complement any setting. Standouts include a charming pie-crust top lamp table, three-drawer cocktail table and bombe-silhouetted chairside chest. Wall pieces include a freestanding entertainment cabinet that accommodates today’s larger televisions and boasts lots of storage space for consumer electronics, tapes and CDs.

The Queen Anne period brought the first-ever inclusion of upholstered furniture, introduced in the form of a padded wing chair. Collector’s Cherry includes a version scaled down in size but high in comfort for solitary reading and TV-watching, or conversations with friends. A curvaceous camelback sofa with high-kick pleat skirt and rolled arm that continues around the back is equally inviting. Both look fresh and new in clear, bright pastel and sorbet colors -- another move away from formality that meets today’s more casual lifestyles.

The new identity of traditional is sometimes different, but is still of fine woodworking, craftsmanship and graceful lines. Collector’s Cherry is just one of the many familiar styles that relax the strict tenets of traditional style. In this new, more relaxed mode of traditional decorating, fabric color and texture may seem less formal, albeit no less elegant. At the same time, wood furniture and finishes are being mixed and matched less strictly. Old and new are paired side-by-side without apology. Some tips on energizing this venerable decorating style include:

Choose Colors Wisely: Softer colors impart a more contemporary, relaxed approach to original traditional style. If you prefer a more formal traditional palette, select jewel tone colors with gold and silver accents.

Pair Old with New: Antiques and antique reproductions can be used together successfully and are key to achieving the best possible traditional look.

Mix and Match Fabrics and Textures: When selecting upholstery, accent and drapery fabrics, choose those that work well together, but do not necessarily match. Keep in mind that upholstery fabrics should be able to withstand years of wear.

Accessorize, but Avoid Clutter: Today’s most successful and elegant traditional interiors, keep accessories to a minimum.

Try an Eclectic Take on Traditional: Every piece of furniture in a room does not have to suit a classic traditional vein. It is common today to find a fantastic traditional interior where something from a different genre -- even contemporary art -- is successfully utilized.

Courtesy of ARA Content


For more information and/or additional photography, please contact: Maggie Gertz Ruder Finn, Inc. (212) 583-2710 [email protected]
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