Monday, December 16, 2013

Stickley Traditional dining in the 2014 Winter Sale

Warm up with the Stickley 2014 Winter Sale - 40% off suggested retail prices.

Hepplewhite sideboard by Stickley

In the 18th century, Europe and America fell in love with the rich, satiny look of mahogany wood from Central America. Along with cherry, mahogany became the basis of a classic style that adorned homes in England and America.

Choose the classic mahogany dining table and Chippendale chairs. Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) did not invent the style that bears his name. In 1754 he published a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director that reflected reigning fashion in England, blends of Gothic, Asian, and French Rococo designs. The designs were used cabinet makers in Boston and Philadelphia, as well as London.

The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director

Classic Mahogany dining table and chairs by Stickley

Chippendale chairs

The equally beautiful Monroe Place table and Hepplewhite chairs are always in style. George Hepplewhite (1727? –1786) was one of the "big three" English furniture makers along with Chippendale and Thomas Sheraton. No furniture made by Hepplewhite exists but he gave his name to a light, elegant style. A Hepplewhite chair typically exhibits a shield back design. In 1788, his widow Alice, who continued his business after his death, published a book of his designs, The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers Guide.

The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers Guide.

Monroe Place table and Hepplewhite chairs

See all the Stickley traditional and classic dining in pdf format.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Historic Old Salem, North Carolina

When my wife and I travel to High Point for the furniture market, we stay in Winston-Salem just a stone's throw from Old Salem. Most everyone is familiar with Salem, Massachusetts, but have you heard of Old Salem, North Carolina?

Tin Coffee Pot, Old Salem

Salem was originally settled in 1753 by members of the Moravian Church. Today, the historic district showcases the Moravian settlement in North Carolina, along with restored communal buildings, churches, houses, and shops. To the north of the city is the Moravian cemetery where the men folk and women folk are separated by gender.

 As a history buff, it was interesting to find an historical connection between Old Salem, the Moravian Church and my wife's great ancestor Valentine Van Huss (1726 - 1781, Vanhouser). Old Salem was established the same year that Valentine Vanhoeser moved to Rowan County, North Carolina. What's more is that the Moravian Church and Valentine Vanhoeser originally came from the same area of Pennsylvania.

Here's the story - In 1740, members of the Moravian Church settled in eastern Pennsylvania in the communities of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz. At the age of two, Valentine moved with his parents from New York to Tulpehocken, half way between Bethlehem and Lititz. He married there in 1746.

In 1753, the Moravian church purchased a little less than a hundred thousand acres from John Carteret, Lord Granville in Rowan County, in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The Moravian community centered around Salem. The same year Valentine moved his wife and three children to southern Rowan County along the PeeDee River and later the Yadkin River (following in the footsteps of a young Daniel Boone and his father Squire Boone).

Valentine was not a member of the Moravian Church. The Moravians were Czech in origin and followers of Jan Hus (Huss), who was burned at the stake for heresy. The first Van Huss (the name "Huss" is coincidental) in America, Jan Franz Van Husum was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. By the time that Valentine arrived in Tulpehocken, it is likely that he was a member of the Lutheran Church.

Here is my photo tour of Old Salem:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Craftsman leather by Stickley

Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.

Craftsman leather chairs

Well it is September again in Kansas and the evenings are cool. It is a great time to light up the fireplace and sit a spell in a Craftsman leather chair and ottoman. One of our friendly favorites is the Lake Placid, solidly firm and constantly comfortable.

Lake Placid chair and ottoman by Stickley
What if you live in a great apartment or loft on Kansas City's Plaza. We suggest the Sundance chair with its high style.
Sundance leather chair by Craftsman and Stickley

Shakespeare says, 'Tis one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall. Here is a chance to fall into temptation with the classic tufted sofa and chair in a setting to warm the heart and soul.

Craftsman tufted leather sofa and chair

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Goldilocks, three bears, and a Stressless recliner

Once upon a time in a fairy-tale forest, three bears lived together in a tree-house - a Wee, little bear, a Middle-sized bear, and a Large, huge bear.

For brown forest bears, the three bears were very good-natured, even the Large, huge bear; and they got along quite nicely with the other animals in the forest, even the porcupine, who at times could be quite prickly.

I know that you heard that these bears were a family - they weren't. They were just bear friends who got along together, hardly ever arguing. Still, each bear was set in their own way, preferring their food just so, their dress just one way or the other. Each bear had their own Stressless chair in just the right size - small, medium, and large. Size mattered for each bear liked to stretch out, read a favorite book, eat cookies and drink hot cocoa before taking a nap. And no chair is as comfortable as a Stressless recliner. That, they all agree on.

Stressless Voyager recliner in sizes any bear could like
The tree-house was quite a large affair. The tree itself was the largest oak tree in the forest, so large that the three bears with their arms outstretched together could not reach around the trunk.

In the middle of the trunk was a door with a window.  Inside the door, a circular stairway took one up above where long branches extended way out over the forest floor. On the largest branch was a porch, where the three bears could watch all that went on in the forest. It was on the porch that the three bears kept the Stressless recliners in sizes large, medium and small.

One day the three bears decide to take a walk in the woods while their cocoa cools. The Large bear dresses in a bowler hat and bow-tie,  the Middle-sized one takes a walking stick of burled oak, and the Wee bear wears a green and yellow scarf decorated with butterflies. The three bears set off without a care in the world.

A little girl with golden locks wanders away from home. As her home was in the valley near the forest, it was not unusual that she should stray into the forest where the birds and other animals dwelt. By chance she discovers the bears' dwelling. She looks through the window, peeps through the keyhole, and lifts the latch to the door. Finding no one home, she walks in.

The little girl with the golden locks admires the bears' tidy house immensely. Finding one of the Middle bear's walking sticks she waves it about and breaks it. She tries to drink the Large bear's cocoa, but it is too hot. She then sits in the Wee bear's Stressless recliner and exclaims, "It's just right!"

So, she drinks the the Wee bear's cocoa and eats the Wee bear's cookies and soon falls fast asleep.

Soon enough, as you might guess, the three bears came home. When the Wee bear sees the little girl in his chair with the empty cup on the floor, it lets out a low growl.  The little girl opens her eyes, sees the three bears rising menacingly on their hind feet, jumps up and off the porch, and runs away, never to be seen again.

And as for the three bears, they laugh heartily. Then, as they were weary from their walk, they each make a cup of hot cocoa and go back to their Stressless recliners and take a long nap. As the chair was so relaxing, they didn't really miss the cookies.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Green Mountain Falls Vacation

[This is summer and Traditions has invited guest writers to tell their summer stories.]

Bring Home Your Mountain Vacation

Pikes Peak Colorado

               In the heat of the summer, why not ditch the hot windy Midwest for the cool mountain air?

               Recently, I (I being Traditions' guest writer for the summer) vacationed in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. Everything about the trip was peaceful and gorgeous. We stayed in this beautiful old craftsman style house that has been in my friend's family since 1940. The craftsmanship in the home was detailed, yet natural. 

A sign directs us in life

                By definition, a vacation home should be smaller, more intimate and charming, not to mention the plain fact that there is less to clean. The essential features to a proper vacation home are a front porch, rock fireplace, a comfy couch to sit on, bedroom, kitchen and bath. The porch to sit on in the cool summer evenings, the couch and fireplace to relax on and around which to tell tall-tales, the bathroom to wash up, the kitchen to fry up the day’s catch of Rainbow trout, and the bedroom, of course, to lay your head down after the day’s work.  I call it play.

Leather is indestructible

              Green Mountain Falls, at an altitude of 7,800 feet, is located north of Pikes Peak and 10 miles west of Colorado Springs, off U.S. Highway 24. The town population has less than 700 year-round residents, as most folks now-a-days prefer to commute, or just come for the summer. 

               It is tucked in a peaceful mountain valley and its natural assets include three creeks, waterfalls, a lake, rugged cliffs, forests, wildflowers, and abundant wildlife. The nature we witnessed on our daily hikes was breath-taking. One day, we hiked to the top of a mountain and then over to the town reservoir. From there, we could see Pikes Peak covered in Aspen and pine in all of its glory; it was simply amazing. 

Aspen leaves rustle in the wind

               The trip got me thinking, though: How can I bring the relaxing, effortless feel of this vacation home with me? I think it comes down to one central idea: be natural in your design. The mountains are all about serenity where nature speaks softly. 

Shapes and patterns

To give your home the feeling of a cabin retreat, it is great to use rich colors and textures, like brown leather. It adds a woodsy, refreshing feel to your home. Adding simple but beautiful accents in different shades of green will give your home a lush, fresh feel. You can do this by adding pillows or throws. 

Pillow with fern and maple leaf

               The most important thing to remember is to live in that place of serenity that the mountains encourage. Find a few special pieces of artwork that show beautiful landscapes reminiscent of the mountains and add those to your home. A Meissenburg sign is an ideal way to give your home a cabin feel. Most have customizable words, indicated by the green arrows in the picture. 

Add your own place name

               In the end, it's all about making your home feel like an oasis from everyday. All you need is find your happy place and go from there. And if you bring back a woodsy pillow or a sign of the great times, you will always remember the great time.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Vacations

"I want to go away for the summer," my college age son said the other day. "Not to the mountains, and not to the lake, but the ocean." The ocean is his choice by thoughtful deliberation. The mountains require hiking and that is work. The lake means paddling, swimming, and skiing, and that is harder work. But the ocean is lounging on the beach and that is pure play.

My son, I will call him "Will" for everyone needs a name and "Will" suits him well, is home from his first year of college. After a couple of weeks of looking for summer work, he found not one, but two jobs. He works afternoons at The Old Mill Tasty Shop dishing out milk shakes and sodas to nostalgic visitors, casual shoppers, and businessmen, who all frequent The Old Mill for it ambiance and good food. Will, then turns around and goes to Picasso's Pizza to create dazzling pizza platters for aficionados of really "gooood" pizza. Will works hard. For the first time in his life, he earns real money, experiences what it is like to get up every day and go to work. It is an eye opener. Welcome to the real world.

I suppose that is why it is not surprising that he would say, "I want to go to the beach for the summer." We all need a break from hard work.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Secrets of Kansas City

Kansas City has its secrets. A walk in the park, a day at the zoo, an out of the way place to eat, a place far from the madding crowds where one can enjoy the moment.

Wild Blue Indigo
One of our favorites is Shawnee Mission Park with its miles of bike trails that take you along Mill Creek  through wooded hills and fields filled with wildflowers. Don't be fooled. I am not talking about the two lane road that circles the massive park and beautiful lake. This is the trail-way that is found hidden east of the lake, down the hill.

In June look for the stately Wild Blue Indigo. Biking or walking the trails is a joy for the entire family. And if you are adventuresome, go off road on the five miles of mountain bike trails, but beware, the going can get rough.

And wear your helmet!

Well now, the secret at Traditions Furniture is out. We are in SPACES Kansas City magazine for June/July 2013. Sure we are in good company. Traditions Furniture  features Stickley, the oldest name in Mission furniture. Our interior designers also work with Stressless recliners, Sherrill, Highland House, Hancock and Moore, and more, more, more.

Come to Traditions Furniture in the historic Strang Carbarn, Downtown Overland Park and discover our little secret.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Santiago de Compostela

Summertime, which means it is time to travel, get away, relax, and reflect on the good times in life. Here is a Traditions travel story from a trip taken two years ago in Spain on the Camino de Santiago.

West Face of the Cathedral of St. James

On the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, St. James Way, travelers say, "Buen camino!" I replied, "Vaya con Dios," which always got a smile.

The route from the French-Spanish border to Santiago in the province of Galicia in northwest Spain was designated the first European Cultural itinerary by the Council of Europe in 1987. This route was taken by pilgrims since the time of Charlemagne - and still is - to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

The tradition begins with the Jesus' apostle St. James, who preached the Gospel in Spain, and dates from the 7th century. St. Jerome held that apostles were buried where they preached, so it was assumed that the body of St. James was moved from Jerusalem, where according to Acts of the Apostles he was martyred on the order of Herod Agrippa. Not until the 9th century was the apostle's tomb identified as being at Compostela.

The 8th century saw the consolidation of the Christian kingdoms of Galicia and Asturias in northern Spain and St. James was adopted as the patron saint by the small Christian kingdom struggling against the mighty Moorish kingdom of Cordoba. By the 10th century, pilgrims were coming from Tours, Limoges, and Le Puy in France to Santiago to honor St. James. The present Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela was begun in 1075. It was consecrated in 1128 before King Alfonso IX of Leon.

In 1139 the first "guidebook" to the holy route was published as Book V of the Calixtine Codex, attributed to Pope Calixtus II but likely the work of the pilgrim Ayrneric Picaud, described a route from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela, listing the inns and taverns along the way. Thousands of pilgrims and tourist still walk or bike the camino each year, hoping to arrive by July 25th, the holy day for St. James.

A statue of a weary traveler greets you before you climb the stairs to the cathedral.

The heavy wooden doors guard a beautiful interior.

A seated St. James is there to welcome you when you enter.

The Gothic style nave is barrel-vaulted, consisting of eleven bays. The transept, which crosses the nave and creates the impression of a cross from above, consists of six bays.

Now imagine what you would want to do if you just completed the Camino de Santiago de Compostela - rest, pray, and relax!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Windsor Chairs

With more than 150 years of history, Nichols & Stone is the oldest furniture company in the United States. Indeed, a member of the Nichols family has been making Windsor chairs since 1762, pushing the date back over 250 years. The business passed down from father to son over the generations, and in 1894 Charles Nichols began a partnership with Reuben S. Stone. The company became Nichols & Stone.

Using hard northern birch and maple, Nichols & Stone continues to create great furniture, in styles from traditional to contemporary — including its trademark dining furniture, the beloved Windsor chair.

Nichols & Stone Windsor chairs and rectangular table

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shakespeare Garden

A Shakespeare garden cultivates plants mentioned by William Shakespeare. Certainly, we all know Juliet's line in Romeo and Shakespeare, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." The line symbolizes the thought that the experience matters more than the word. Juliet loves Romeo. Does it matter that she is a Capulet to Romeo's Montague?

But what of the other flowers mentioned by Shakespeare?

Ophelia: There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love,
remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts.
Laertes: A document in madness! Thoughts and remembrance fitted.
Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5.

Let us celebrate the symbolism of Shakespeare's word, but enjoy the comfort that a chair by Stressless can bring. Oh, what's in a name? Well, Stressless has been making the world's most comfortable recliner since 1971. That is both something to think about, and to remember.

Of the daffodil, that blooms in May, Shakespeare had this to say:
When daffodils begin to peer, With heigh! the doxy over the dale, Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year; For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.
Winter's Tale, Act 4, Scene 3.

Of the red poppy, that blooms in early summer:
Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.
Othello,  Act 3, Scene 3.

More flowers by Shakespeare.