Defining furniture periods
Kristie Thompson has a special relationship with her early 1900s Mission-style oak rocking chair. "The chair belonged to my great aunt, whom I'm named after," says the St. Louis Park member.
"It sat, unfinished, in my mother's basement for many years. It was given to me and I tried to refinish it, but never completed the project. As a birthday present to myself, I had the chair refinished. Now it sits in my office and looks out the window. It's where I go to just relax."
Antique furniture is as vibrant and varied as the era it represents. A look at some of today's sought-after styles:
Early American - Made in the last half of the 17th century by American colonists, many of these wood and pine pieces are based on still earlier styles from England. Ornamentation is more primitive than English predecessors, consisting of carved flower motifs, scrolls and leaves.
Victorian- Named after Queen Victoria and known for its ornate design, Victorian furniture is defined more by a period - reigning supreme from the late 1830s to 1901 - than a particular style. The Gothic and English Rococo revival styles were most common during this time, although designers used and modified Tudor, Elizabethan and Neoclassical styles as well.
Arts & Crafts - The works of Gustav Stickley embody this era, which reached its height between 1880 and 1910 and challenged the tastes of the Victorian period. The furniture is elegant in its simplicity and crafstmanship, usually constructed of red or white quarter-sawn oak and built to last.
20th Century Modern - This streamlined and pared-down furniture spans the era between roughly 1925 and 1975. New materials such as chrome, PVC and plastic as well as new technology that allowed for laminating and steam-bending timber, revolutionized furniture making during this period. Charles and Ray Eames were pioneers, along with Mies Van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Breuer and Saarinen.