It would be difficult not to see the changing trends in decorating; and as usual, those changing trends will not appeal to everyone. I wonder how many country dwellers can embrace the swing to the mid-century movement. It is certainly a style change and seems to be on the opposite side of the style chart from country.
As a mid-century child, I was exposed to plenty of “clean lines” and “sleek, modern styles” along with bright color combinations. Like most, I only knew what I was exposed to in my small environment, and I found the style functional, but not especially to my taste; who knew a child had such particular taste? As I grew and was exposed to more choices, I found more comfort in older more traditional styles, much to my parents’ surprise. (See: “The Many Lives of the Simple Hoosier Cabinet”; in the January 30, 2009, edition of the Country Journal.) I found so much to appreciate in the craftsmanship of Early American styles, and old European carvings, and I could see why styles change. You can easily see the changes from the very baroque Louis XIV, to fewer frills Louis XV to the simpler Louis XVI; mind you these changes took place over generations, but change they did.
Now I appreciate the mid-century modern styles of my parents’ taste, and I understand why they gravitated toward that style. After all, they lived with the heavy, dark and carved mahogany styles with which they grew up. As our parents’ possessions became ours and we were faced with what to do with them, magically styles took another turn and older styles became popular again. I am very glad we did not arbitrarily dispose of many fine pieces from our childhood, and we can see them employed today in new settings with new upholstery.
The old hi-fi cabinet of fine walnut and handsome styling is now a lovely credenza in my daughter’s private practice; she receives many comments from interested visitors. The stylish chair that the kids used to call the “Jetson’s Chair” will soon be recovered in a modern classic Greek Key design and once again become a classic iconic piece to be used and admired in the same office.
Not all the styles of the mid-century will work in all settings, but many can be carefully repurposed and used with other styles of your choosing. If you are a shopper on E-bay, you will see the prices of these pieces skyrocking, while the more country pieces are taking a bit more of a back seat.
One thing you can count on throughout history is that styles will change, but good craftsmanship is perennial. Yes, there are many knock-offs of lesser quality, but you will find high quality in all styles and can appreciate a well-built piece, even if it does not suit your particular style.
I am finding row after row of “vintage shops” sporting the styles of my youth, and I am appreciating them with more mature eyes; it is a lesson in how time changes all things. It may be that there are so many fond memories attached to these pieces that their particular style becomes secondary.
Before you are too quick to dispose of the past, take a careful look at some of the furniture of your past and you might be surprised how they may fit into your current lifestyle.