Blending the old with the new
When you have an item of antique furniture that you have treasured for years, it becomes part of the family. But when faced with needing new fitted bedroom furniture and wanting that furniture to match the antique pieces, it could present something of a dilemma.
Not so for a recent valued customer of Strachan. They wanted to improve their home with the addition of luxury fitted wardrobes that would blend effortlessly with their exquisite burr walnut antique furniture. We knew that our time-honoured craftsmen would relish such an opportunity and the journey to creating a co-ordinated and bespoke room began.
Burr walnut furniture has been cherished for centuries by furniture makers, wood turners and connoisseurs alike. Its desirability comes from the rich, intricately figured burr pattern created by irregular growths on the trunk or branches that are filled with small knots from dormant buds and smaller branches. This growth forms only a small part of the tree therefore only a specific part of the tree can be used. This, of course, ensures that each burr veneer is highly valuable and absolutely unique.
Because of the limited size of each burr, the real skill is in matching or blending individual pieces together to make larger pieces suitable for furniture. This naturally creates an aura of exclusivity and an appreciation for such craftsmanship that is still around today. Interestingly, the Antiques Trade Gazette reported in 2010 that a burr walnut writing desk was sold at auction, commanding a final, incredible bid of £80,000 – a record for the day.
As you would expect, nothing less than a perfect match between the old antique pieces and Strachan’s new built in bedroom furniture would be acceptable, for us and for the customer. Our customer service team spent a great deal of time with the customer, presenting a range of samples to view alongside the original antiques and in the room in which the bespoke wardrobes would be fitted, in order to achieve the perfect colour.
Strachan’s master craftsmen commenced with the skilled process of pressing the specially selected burr veneers to the raised and fielded solid oak centre panels which would then be incorporated into the new fitted wardrobe doors, and after the careful process of installation, the customer’s dream room was realised. The result was a resounding success. Each piece of furniture, old and new, co-ordinated perfectly, the customer was surrounded by their beloved antiques and had the benefit of new spacious built in wardrobes in a style that complemented their home and their taste.
Whilst burr woods have always been popular, the style enjoyed something of a renaissance in the glory days of the Art Deco period. From the 1930s to the 1950s, famous furniture makers, Harry and Lou Epstein experimented with burr maple, sycamore and walnut to create their signature custom-made pieces of furniture, desired by collectors the world over. It is satisfying to note that a beautifully finished piece of burr veneer is as contemporary now as it was then.
Knowing that it is perfectly possible to commission new pieces of fitted furniture to complement the finish achieved by these old masters, the elegance of burr woods will live on.