Thursday, December 29, 2011

French Country Design Compared To Early American Design

Early American design and French Country share some similarities.

Early American furniture was a somewhat new design, unique to the Colonies. It was less formal than the stately Hepplewhite and Edwardian furnishings brought over by the more wealthy newcomers. French Country, also, is a less formal style. Louis IV and the Empire styles were for the city residents; Country French, as the words are often ordered, was for the less formal life in the countryside. Does this Spark an idea?


While French Country isn't connected to any particular time in history, Early American was. When people emigrated to the Colonies, they didn't bring much in the way of furniture. The poorer, country immigrants made their own simple furniture. The wealthier residents were more likely to have either brought some of their own furnishings from England, or used cabinetmakers who came from England and made variations of English styles. French Country furniture, too, copied the more formal styles, but were made from different woods and were simpler in fabric and details.


Country French furniture was typically made from oak, beech and walnut and the fruit tree woods. Early American furniture was constructed of native woods consisting of maple, cherry, oak and other native trees.


Much Country French furniture was made in imitation of popular styles from Paris and Lyon, especially during the time of of the three Louis. In the same way, Early American furnishings tended to copy the Jacobean and Carolean styles from England.


Many early American settlers tried doing some low-relief carving, using simple patterns. One of the most popular of these was the maple leaf motif. Chairs often had spindle backs and either simple, Shaker-style legs or ones with a little bit of decorative shaping. Since the fireplace was the only heating source, any type of furniture that provided a shield from drafts was popular, such as wing-backed chairs and hooded cradles. French Country is known for its ladderback chairs with rush seats, wrought iron lamps and iron day beds.


French Country fabrics are typically colorful, and often include bright blue and yellow prints. Early American furniture, while adapting its style from European models, would not have the silks and brocades of their European counterparts, but rather a simpler, more practical and available wool and later cotton.

Tags: French Country, Early American, American furniture, Country French, Early American