Every design choice used in the construction of home furnishings reflects our cultural values. To see the expensive pieces available through antique dealers, one would think that the people of 200 years ago all bought furniture built to last forever. That isn’t entirely true. Only some of them did, and everybody else’s stuff fell apart. The most valuable antiques were of unusually high quality, even in their day, and there simply aren’t many of them left. That they continue to last, with full working utility, is a testament to the possibilities of craftsmanship and the true value of great materials.
But why pay for the exorbitant cost of fine antique furniture when you can have newly constructed pieces, of similar quality, at less cost? Westerners have little difficulty investing in expensive homegoods. However, statistically speaking, these expenditures tend to be focused on technologies that will quickly grow obsolete. In many homes like this, the most valuable unit in any given room is the one that will depreciate most, while the household sits, sleeps, and reclines on furnishings that could stand the test of time, but don’t, because of inferior materials or construction.
Home furnishings, constructed in the highest quality wood, have the potential to last for several lifetimes. Because of the timeless appearance of these natural materials, a well-designed chair or couch will never go out of style. A simple stain or reupholstering job will be all it takes to transform a classic design into the style of any modern taste. Many hard and softwoods have been used for centuries, and continue to be the materials of choice of the world’s best woodworkers. An investment in well-buitl, hardwood furniture is a purchase that needs to be made only once. The structure and style won’t become irrelevant. Pieces like these can be cherished for years to come and passed on to new generations.