We love the relaxed look of wicker or rattan furniture mixed with more traditional wood pieces as seen in this month’s issue of Traditional Home magazine. Since spring is finally here, it seems like these wonderful pieces are being featured in catalogs and magazines everywhere, and it just helps to reinforce our love for this indoor and outdoor material. Have you ever wondered about the beginnings of rattan furniture? Some of the earliest pieces were manufactured as far back as the 1880’s by Cyrus Wakefield, who was one in a long line of Heywood family brothers and assorted brothers-in-law who had begun producing wood chairs in 1826 in a barn on their property in Gardner, Massachusetts. Thanks to the innovations of Cyrus, who was the first to import rattan from China, and, more importantly, first to develop the machines that could split and bend cane mechanically, rattan became a material widely used to make everything from baby carriages to the chairs, sofas and tables found on porches and in sun rooms across America. See below, photos from a book about Heywood-Wakefield Furniture by Steven and Roger Rouland, part of our favorite Schroeder Publishing’s Collector Book series:
You only need to add one piece of rattan or wicker furniture to your home, and immediately change the mood of any room from ordinary to interesting. Try any one of these pieces and you’ll see what we mean:
1.Thos.Baker: Round Porch Dining Table features fade resistant N-dura all-weather wicker woven over powder coated aluminum frame (table includes tempered glass top). Made to last a lifetime, $1,199 now $999 (save $200 each) 2. Ballard Designs: Key West Wicker chairs come in a variety of colors–a great value at 2 for $349.00, 3. Crate & Barrel: Summerlin Arm Chair. We love the weather-resistant resin finished in a tonal kubu colors that captures the true nature and patina of weathered wicker. This piece can take any weather, rain or shine, $329.00, 4. Crate&Barrel: Ventura Bunching Table. A pair of these or a bunch of these can create plenty of useful surfaces in any room indoor or out, $199. each. An optional 1/4″-thick tempered glass top is also available, 5. Pottery Barn: Palmetto All-Weather Wicker Bar Console. The honey color of this piece appeals to us for versatility. It’s a perfect summer bar, but why not use it in a small dining room? It’s got a deep well on top to secure bottles, and an open shelf below to store glasses sand plates, $299.00 (37″ wide x 17″ deep x 34.5″ high).