Is this a classic piece, or just something I dig?
November 25, 2012 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I bought a timber couch to restore. Is it a designer piece, and if so, does anyone recognise the designer?

The person I bought this old couch frame from said this piece was made in the Fifties, and it's familiar to me. It resembles Shaker furniture, I think, but I have a very dim memory of seeing this in furniture design books. Perhaps I'm just remembering the Wegner harp chair, and have it all wrong. If it's not designer, I'm happy to own it now anyway, but the fact that it's very, very familiar to me is kind of driving me a little crazy. Can you identify it?
posted by lottie to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
The style looks like rustic Windsor. Do a Google image search on "continuous arm Windsor bench" or settee. Could very well have been done by a local craftsman. Any markings or tags underneath?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:26 PM on November 25, 2012

It's beautiful, but I don't think it's Danish.
posted by mumimor at 3:30 PM on November 25, 2012

I have bought it from a friend who lives some distance away, and haven't seen it yet. I will check for markings once I do. I thought that the Continuous arm Windsor was a possibility once I Googled it (thanks Marie Mon Dieu), but the piece is simpler and less ornate - see the legs for example.

It's good to be able to ostensibly rule out the Danish too.

I'll re-upholster this once I'm done. Do you think the back should be without cushions and left bare? See, that's the kind of thing seeing an original could help with. A bit of context to help in the restoration.
posted by lottie at 3:45 PM on November 25, 2012

I would definitely say that the back is meant to NOT be upholstered.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 3:59 PM on November 25, 2012

Oh, cushions, okay. Yeah, I would still say it's meant to be without cushions on the back.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:00 PM on November 25, 2012

So just cushions on the seat. Got it. I've very grateful for all this help.
posted by lottie at 4:08 PM on November 25, 2012

The piece may have been made in the fifties, but the design is much older. :)
posted by rhizome at 4:30 PM on November 25, 2012

While it shares some similarities with, for example, this (allegedly) Ercol design from the middle of the last century, I can't find anything that exactly matches it.

Of course, furniture was just made better back in those days so good craftsmanship didn't always have a big name behind it.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 4:39 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, there was a time when it was fairly normal for a guy to just make furniture. Almost all of the furniture my grandmother, aunt, and mom got between 1950 and 1983 was entirely hand-made by my grandfather, who also designed and built two child-size rockers and a lovely wooden bench for me when I was a very tiny kid (shortly before his death.) All of that stuff is highly functional, and in daily use except for the kid stuff (the existence and non-use of that furniture is actually on the list of reasons my mother wants me to have children already.)

As far as I know, he (and the family) didn't consider this level of skill to be unusual, and he routinely eyeballed a magazine photo and made his own thing just like it (grandma did the exact same thing with clothes from catalogs.)
posted by SMPA at 5:44 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah, and nthing no upholstery: cushions only, and only on the bottom, and have someone with good skills help you fix the seat if any part of it weakens. A lot of people don't care well enough for pieces like this, and those bottoms always seem to be the thing that gives out first.
posted by SMPA at 5:47 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking that this is a handmade piece in style of Ercol/classic Windsor type pieces. I'm sure it's mid-Century because of the simplicity of the legs - nothing turned or scrolled like Windsor.

Thanks folks. I love this bench, whatever its parentage.
posted by lottie at 6:03 PM on November 25, 2012

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