Each season, furniture companies introduce new collections at market. This year, one company reinterpreted the “new” part by introducing a collection of 40 vintage furniture pieces from the 1950s and 60s, authentically restored to their original condition.
For sixteen months, Stanley Furniture scoured eBay, Etsy and Craigslist, newspapers, antique stores and junk shops for authentic mid-century Stanley-brand originals.
"Mix and Match Armchair" before (left) and after (right)
VP of creative and brand development Randy Wells headed up the Heritage Collection project along with marketing projects manager Cameron Lindsay.
“I purchased a couple of pieces [in March 2012] as part of the research process for developing our brand's design language,” said Wells. “After living with those pieces in the office, they grew on us so much that [we] started digging around for more, and the more we looked, the more great pieces we found. What that said to me is that our furniture was still around not only because it looked great, but also because it was very well built.”
Window-Pane Arm Loveseat before (left) and after (right)
With the help of the vintage furniture community nationwide, the team unearthed just over 40 products in varying condition—some with damage from floods or cigarette smoke—and only one piece wasn't restorable due to water damage.
Each piece underwent a painstaking restoration process that included dismantling, reassembling and refinishing with period-appropriate colors. All of the hardware is original, however new cushions and Schumacher fabrics were added to ensure the items would stand up to daily use.
Why the mid-century period? “We chose the period of the 1950's and 1960's because it was a really exciting period in the history of Stanley Furniture. The company was founded in 1924 and so by the 1950's we were really hitting our stride and assuming a position of thought and design leadership. It was a terrific era for design in general,” said Wells.
Mix and Match Armchair during the restoration process
The Stanley team believes that the style is more than a passing trend, but a reflection of a lifestyle for people in urban environments and want a clean, simple aesthetic. “There's an audience out there that doesn't necessarily believe that more is better—instead they believe that the things they bring into their life should be inherently beautiful in their simplicity and should reflect the value they place on authenticity and quality.”
Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity and a “dossier” that includes scans from the original catalog featuring the furniture as well as photos chronicling its restoration.
Photo of the original catalog featuring the Theme Hall II Credenza
Theme Hall II Credenza before (left) and after (right)
The line made its debut at the Fall 2013 High Point Market, and due to the positive response—the team went back to work, and 25 "new" pieces will be released in January at the Las Vegas Market.
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