Luxury furniture in the Lowcountry comes in as many shapes, designs, materials, textures, colors and sizes as the diverse homes they inhabit and the homeowners’ lifestyles and personalities they reflect.
We are seeing sleek and sophisticated, steel and metal, leather and wood, retro and vintage, contemporary, traditional, eclectic, mock crocodile patterns, intense blues and purples with a wide swath of influences from historic antebellum Savannah and Charleston, the West Indies/Caribbean, Old World European, the Mediterranean, coastal and farmhouse.
There are at least three common elements found in the high-end furniture in the Hilton Head Island area: Homeowners and interior designers insist on custom quality, premium materials and meticulous craftsmanship.
Informality in upscale furniture has supplanted formality, and transitional cross-over styles often bridge the divide between traditional and contemporary. The Lowcountry lifestyle also dictates personal choices in furniture, regardless of design style. No room is cluttered or the pieces oversized to inhibit functionality and easy access from here to there. And, certainly, there is no such trapping as matching pieces from an entire collection.
The Aaron Console, a piece in the J Banks Collection by Stanford Furniture.
Consider, for a moment, some exquisite product offerings from high-end furniture retailers that are available locally:
• Bernhardt Furniture Co. (Lenoir, N.C.): This private company founded in 1889 offers a metal dining room table with a clear glass top and steel base patented brass finish.
• Brown Jordan (Simpsonville, Ky.): Enjoy the finest in casual outdoor living in a wood mocha-colored resinweave Southampton lounge chair and ottoman with loose cushions and pillow and textured strap and lace.
• Century Furniture (Hickory, N.C.): One of the world’s largest privately owned furniture manufacturers unveils a Milan six-drawer console in walnut solids and satin walnut and American veneers.
• Drexel Heritage (High Point, N.C.): Refresh in an Etchings bed from the Acclamations collection styled with flat cut maple veneers and rubberwood and marupa solids in a peppercorn finish.
• Habersham Home (Clarkesville, Ga.): A Biltmore Overlook Arch Bookcase with an open, ornate grill on the bottom doors and antique honey interior from the Chateau Reserve Collection made its debut last month at the fall High Point Market.
• Hickory Chair (Hickory, N.C.): Slink into a hand-crafted forward-motion Maud lounge chair with American walnut and simple tapered legs in standard saddle finish.
• Horchow (Dallas, Texas): Handcrafted in the United States with imported materials, check out the two-piece hardwood-frame Haute House Duncan sectional sofa with a left-arm corner chaise, right-arm sofa and six coordinating pillows.
• Lloyd Flanders (Menominee, Minn.): Enjoy sophisticated Southern luxury in the great outdoors sitting on a 53-inch wide loveseat in natural custom vinyl with antique black aluminum frame from the Low Country Collection.
• Stanford Furniture (Claremont, N.C.): Unwind in a 44-inch-high Slice wing chair with tufted back, welted boxed cushion and exposed maple wood from the J Banks Collection.
• Tomlinson Erwin-Lambeth (High Point, N.C.): Relax in a 73-inch-wide Cee loveseat with charcoal fabric, walnut finish and pewter nail trim from this 113-year-old company.
Three drawer chest. Poplar & Acacia solids and Cherry & Eucalyptus veneers with brass trim.
Regardless of the state of your furniture, the American Society of Furniture Designers has identified one trend that may look familiar from a few decades ago: the 1980s. Among the components in this throwback scenario is the kitchen table, as found today in kitchen island tables, breakfast nooks and open floor plans in which the kitchen table is just a few steps away from the kitchen itself. But the drab table and chairs of old get a fresh treatment in updated styles and vibrant colors.
Other 1980 favorites like flame stitch patterns, brass (the polished look then has been replaced by antiqued or burnished) and the Southwestern look, except this contemporary version presents a more subtle interpretation of the Spanish desert style.
At the High Point Market industry showcase in North Carolina in the spring, four interior designers discussed their latest projects convened by the American Home Furnishings Alliance. One revealed that his new line of chairs and sofas for Tomlinson was inspired by nature’s vast color palette, which he showcased in 84 different environmentally-friendly hues on exposed wood. Another said her favorite new piece designed for Hickory Chair was a wood-based console table covered in wicker. Another designed her interpretation of mid-century European and mid-century French Empire furnishings for Hickory Chair. Another designer used her extensive portfolio of collected chairs to collaborate with Century Furniture to recreate a series of century-old French, English and Italian designs.
Take comfort in knowing that upscale furniture in today’s Lowcountry home exudes comfort, style and individuality.
The Angelina is an original design built by local carpenters and can be used in an entryway, as a server or in a bedroom. The finish is called Ebony.