Mission Furniture

Mission Furniture History

Mission Furniture Style, also sometimes referred to as “Arts & Crafts” or “American Mission” style is a revolutionary furniture & design movement that was created as a response to the industrial revolution and the way it devalued the individual furniture maker. This style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts “became affordable to middle class homes built in the United States during the Arts and Crafts period between 1900 and 1930.”

The Significance of Mission Furniture

Many of the major players of the Mission Style movement including William Morris, John Ruskin, Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright, believed that the Craftsman was being lost to the mass produced, “soulless” furniture of the Victorian Era. Mission furniture was a complete departure from the over embellished and “glamorous” furniture that the Victorian Period was known for. In the Victorian Era, “A bare room was considered to be in poor taste, so every surface was filled with objects that reflected the owner’s interests and aspirations.” Reflecting a time in society when domesticity meant absolute privacy, and when the Bourgeois existence manifested into the interior space.  The home was used as a curtained off retreat, wary of intrusion, and “opened only by invitation for viewing only on occasions such as parties or teas.”  Basically, the Victorian Home was a manifestation of upper-class values (while still using overly adorned, low quality decor and furniture). 

Mission Furniture
“The Victorian Bedroom at Dalgarven” by Roger Griffith – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This is what The Mission Furniture Movement rebelled against, the highly “glamorous” ideals of the Victorian Era that weren’t inclusive of the real middle class. It represented an entire shift in cultural attitudes and values. Mission furniture aimed to represent the true American worker.

Mission Furniture Features

Mission furniture

Mission furniture is bold yet simplistic, reminiscent of a traditional Rustic Farmhouse. It’s heavy in appearance and build, with emphasis on using clean lines and natural materials. Mission style typically incorporated locally handcrafted wood, glass, and metal work–bringing the artisan back into the picture and straying away from a mass produced look. Mission furniture is very sturdy, and found some inspiration from Shaker furniture with it’s aim to be usable as well as stylish. Mission style is a design that “emphasizes simple (horizontal and vertical) lines and flat panels that accentuate the grain of the wood.”  This style intends to reveal the craft of woodworking and the skill & labor of the individual craftsman. It’s unpainted and unadorned, making it fitting furniture for practically any style of home!

Our Reflection

Mission Furniture is important to us because it represents exactly why we are here, to promote the craft of fine artisan woodworking. Our culture has seen a revival of cheap, mass-produced furniture available online and in big box stores– and our furniture crafters are creating expert furniture designs with the same passion and integrity that sparked the Mission Style movement over a hundred years ago. If you’d like to see more of our collections of Mission furniture, please browse hundreds of our locally crafted and sourced pieces!

What do you think of Mission Furniture? Let us know in the comments or send us a Tweet.

Sources: (1) & (2)

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

2013, our first year at Stonehurst gave us another reason to study and analyze what our customers’ favorite American made furniture styles are.  With limited space in our showroom, we wanted to display the very best selection of Vermont furniture, as defined by customer purchases.  After looking through the sales statistics, we found these Top 3 American Furniture styles, which we’ll be featuring often at Stonehurst:

Shaker Furniture was the top selling style in 2013

Shaker Style Furniture

This Vermont Shaker bed, nightstand and chest are pretty accurate reproductions of the original Shaker style furniture crafted by communities of the United Society of Believers starting in the late 1700’s.  Born here in the Northeast, this American furniture style is a simple, utilitarian design characterized by straight tapered legs and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs.  Vermont furniture makers have become today’s authority on Shaker furniture and customers seeking a simple elegant, solid wood design have grown to love their work.  It’s our top seller and customers are customizing it in their choice of cherry, walnut, maple and oak woods (preference is in that order).  Sometimes customers will choose two contrasting wood colors like cherry and walnut or maple and walnut to trick it out– if there is such a thing for “Shaker furniture”.

Craftsman style furniture, handmade in Vermont | Stonehurst Fine Furniture Gallery

Craftsman Style Furniture

This Contemporary Craftsman Bedroom Furniture collection is a modern rendition of the American craftsman and “arts and crafts” furniture that became popular in the late 19th century and remained prevalent through the 1930s.  It’s handmade of real solid cherry wood with contrasting drawer pulls in solid walnut wood and reflects the true craftsmanship of this period.  The finish on this collection is a traditional hand-rubbed oil and wax.  If you like this contemporary craftsman style furniture, learn more about the details and craftsmanship here.

Mission Style Furniture | American Made in Vermont | Real Solid Wood | Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Maple

Mission Style Furniture

This mission sofa table and mission dining chair have the rectilinear design and heavy proportion characteristic of Mission style furniture which became popular in the late 19 century. At Vermont Woods Studios we have a traditional American Mission Furniture collection and a Modern Mission Furniture collection, both constructed of real solid woods in your choice of traditional oak or cherry, walnut or maple woods.

Stop by our new fine furniture showroom at Stonehurst anytime to see what we’ve got on hand in our customers’ favorite furniture styles: Shaker, Craftsman and Mission furniture.

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Wood Furniture | Top Style Trends | American Made in Vermont | Cherry, Maple, Walnut, Oak
Some examples of hardwood furniture style trends in 2013:  from left, a Shaker Library Desk handcrafted of solid walnut hardwood, the Contemporary Cable Bedroom Collection crafted with solid cherry hardwood and stainless steel cable accents, the Vermont Shaker Custom Oval Dining Table in black cherry wood and the Cherry Moon Large TV and Media Console in black cherry with walnut accents.

Hardwood furniture is experiencing a renaissance this year. It’s always been a classic, but over the years modern materials (metal, plastics, glass, wicker, rattan, bamboo, concrete) have become popular furniture components.  Looking at today’s online home decor authorities such as Houzz and Apartment Therapy however, it seems real solid hardwood furniture is making a comeback!  Here’s a run-down of the Top 5 Hardwood Furniture Style Trends we’ve seen at Vermont Woods Studios this year:

Mission Furniture

Mission Style Sofa Table | Hardwood Furniture Made in America
This Mission Style Sofa Table that Douglas uses to display hardware is one of our top sellers this year.  Straight, simple lines and solid hardwood construction characterize Mission style furniture.  Similarly styled mission dining room and bedroom furniture, built by the same furniture maker has also experienced renewed popularity.  Instead of the traditional oak wood, many customers are customizing their mission furniture in cherry and even walnut wood.

Shaker Furniture

Shaker Furniture Trends in Home Decor
This Classic Shaker Huntboard is another customer favorite at Stonehurst.  Cherry is the wood of choice for  Shaker style furniture in 2013.

 

Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Furniture

Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Style Furniture
This Cherry Moon 7 Drawer Dresser shows off it’s Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Style roots in our showroom at Stonehurst.  Made in a small workshop just north of Montpelier, the Cherry Moon collection is so popular this year that the craftsman now has a lead time of 4 months!

Modern Hardwood Furniture

Modern Hardwood Furniture by Copeland
Copeland’s new Kyoto Dining Collection is a modern version of 20th century, mid-century modern MCM design.  It’s minimalist, uncluttered look with clean, straight lines is highly sought after by our interior design friends in Boston and New York.

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out additional hardwood furniture style trends on House Beautiful and Houzz.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Mission and Craftsman Style Furniture: Making a Come Back!
Vermont is home to some of the best mission and craftsman style furniture the world has to offer.  Check out this Contemporary Craftsman Furniture set.   We’re happy to report that it’s making a comeback in the world of fine furniture fashion. 

Did you know that furniture goes in and out of fashion, just like clothing?  Weird, huh?  You can find out what the latest furniture styles are at any one of a plethora of fine furniture fairs in New York, Paris, Milan, High Point (North Carolina), Las Vegas and lots of other-worldly places.  There’s a whole industry of consultants that (secretly) meet to decide what the next season’s styles and colors will be.  Their “recommendations” are followed by all the big furniture companies and that’s why you see so much similarity in offerings from year to year.

Recently, the new furniture styles have had an ultra modern theme, with bright neon colors, lots of glass, plastic & aluminum construction and the occasional fake fur accent.  So we’re pleasantly surprised to see the re-emergence of Mission and Craftsman Style Furniture in the fashion lineup.  Maybe people have had enough of those interesting conversation pieces and are longing for something beautiful, comfortable and functional for their homes.

Cherry Wood Mission and Craftsman Style Furniture
 Our Cherry Moon Mission and Craftsman Style Bedroom Furniture is handmade of solid cherry wood with solid walnut accents.  It’s popularity endures — independent of the latest trends defined by international furniture-style specialists.

For generations Vermont has been the premiere point of origin for some of the best mission and craftsman style furniture the world has to offer.  Check out the Contemporary Craftsman Furniture set shown above.  The emphasis for this craftsman is simple elegance– using honest handcrafted, wooden furniture to transform a home into an authentic, relaxed, uncluttered haven for all those who enter.

In Vermont we don’t pay all that much attention to the latest high fashion trends in furniture styles.  What we do focus on though, is genuine high quality, handcrafted, solid wood furniture that’s 100% USA made and guaranteed for a lifetime of enjoyment in your home.  Find more mission and craftsman style furniture sets on our website, Facebook and Pinterest boards.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

American Made Mission and Craftsman Style Furniture | Handmade in Vermont
Vermont has long been known for it’s authentic, handmade Mission and Craftsman style furniture. Today’s artisans are adapting traditional designs to modern lifestyles while retaining our high standards for quality and sustainability.

What do you like most about Mission and Craftsman style furniture?  Customers shopping for this type of wooden furniture often tell us they’re looking for simple, natural designs and honest craftsmanship. Their search leads them to Vermont.  With it’s 200 year tradition of authentic, high quality woodworking, the Green Mountain State has earned a reputation of being the Fine Furniture Capital of America.

Mission and craftsman style furniture is being handmade in every corner of our state.  This weekend our artisans are opening their doors to visitors who want to see their craftsmanship in action.  You probably know this already but before you come, I should be clear.  In Vermont you’re not going to find much in the way of fancy Victorian carving or ornamental scrolling (we leave that to global conglomerates that use lots of CNC machinery and exploited labor to produce high volumes of low quality furniture).

Instead, in the Green Mountain State you’ll see the real thing: a tradition of simple (but precise) elegance in furniture making.  Fine quality construction, high value raw materials, local skilled labor, fair wages, human rights and environmental responsibility are hallmarks of Vermont’s fine furniture industry. The Mission and Craftsman style furniture that comes out of Vermont has a certain charm, grace, delicacy and simplicity reflecting those values and it just cannot be duplicated by mass production.

If you’re out and about leaf peeping this beautiful Autumn weekend, stop by some of our state’s premiere furniture studios and check out some real mission and craftsman style furniture and the artisans who create it.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.