Timeless styles right at home
No other material has the beauty, character and timelessness of leather.
Traditional leather furniture is finding a new market among those looking for quality and classic design.
Nick Marangelis, manager of Bay Leather Republic’s Osborne Park showroom, said younger buyers in particular were helping to drive a new interest in the genre.
“There has always been a steady interest in traditional leather furniture but over the past few years we have seen a significant growing demand from a younger market (26-32), that are starting to find this style more appealing, ” he said.
Mr Marangelis put it down to two factors. “Firstly, customers are looking for more timeless designs that won’t date and leather is classic and ages beautifully, ” he said. “Also, there is a better understanding of leather care and quality, and with this we’ve seen a growing appreciation for investing in furniture that will serve customers for many years.”
People were also starting to realise that buying a classic piece of furniture needn’t limit your decor to that style.
“We’ve seen a rising trend in people mixing and matching traditional and contemporary pieces, to accommodate for different personalities and tastes living under the one roof, ” he said. “Also, we’ve seen many customers turn to traditional-style furniture to soften the look and add warmth to their living spaces.”
There had also been a large shift towards full-grain leather, which was made from only the most premium hides and treated more naturally to celebrate the organic characteristics.
“The leather will soften and burnish with use, developing an aged and bespoke look, ” Mr Marangelis said.
Not all leather products are the same so it is vital to know what type of hide you are buying, according to Cheryl Cace of Leather House + Home in Claremont.
“Aniline, semi-aniline and corrected are the types of leather you should be using on furniture and not reconstituted, bi-cast or split leather, ” she said. “Reconstituted and split leathers are all the leftover leathers put together with glue and resin and pressed into leather.
As a guide, Ms Cace said you should expect to pay between $7000-$8500 for a 2.5-seater and 3-seater setting, depending on the type of leather used and suite style.
‘We have seen a significant growing demand from a younger market.’
These classics convey a relaxed warmth that continues to capture fans.
While it’s come to prominence as a decorating trend in recent years, Di Russell, owner of Nedlands showroom Russell Furnishings, said French provincial-style furniture was classically appealing, creating an overall impression of “understated class and timeless beauty”.
“I feel there is a move away from the minimalist contemporary look towards a more layered organic interior, a home which is warm and inviting, ” she said.
Often interspersed with the French provincial theme, Hamptons-style furniture offers the same relaxed yet elegant effect, according to Sandy Harvey, of Veranda in Claremont.
“The demand for Hamptons style along with French provincial style never dates and continues to grow, ” she said. “The Hamptons style suits our WA lifestyle and French provincial is always popular as it is warm, relaxed and inviting. Both these looks are timeless.”
Ms Russell agreed there was an overlap with both styles and that they shared similar traits which appealed to those seeking to add warmth and interest to an interior.
“Both styles reflect a soft colour palette consisting of neutral tones of grey, white and taupe mixed with oak timber, ” she said.
From original designer pieces to retro gems by unknown craftsmen, seeking out vintage furniture guarantees a rare, beautifully made treasure.
Appreciating a beautiful piece of furniture is one thing, but one that was made decades earlier yet whose design and quality still hold up in today’s market — and today’s modern interiors — is quite another.
The lasting appeal of vintage furniture lies not only in its great design but in its uniqueness, according to Catherine Hill, owner of Osborne Park vintage showroom Revival Hill.
“I think, more than ever, folk are looking to express their own individuality in the way they present their homes and vintage pieces offer a unique edge that is hard to achieve with new furniture — without a big budget that is, ” she said.
“And when you consider that these pieces have already lasted 40 years or more you know the quality is good.”
Ms Hill said the demand for vintage furniture was continuously growing, which was not surprising considering the clean lines and simplicity of pieces meant they could complement any style of decor.
“The most impressive attribute of mid-century vintage furniture is that it is still fresh, ” she said.
“In fact my favourite way to see vintage pieces used in interiors is to mix them in with new furniture and sometimes even with antiques.”
Ian Webber, of Hunters Collectors in Mosman Park, agreed that mid-century aesthetics were enjoying a resurgence unlike never before in architecture, furniture and design.
“New architecture is no longer dominated by Victorian and Tuscan aesthetics, ” he said.
As a result, mid-century furniture had followed suit.
“Furniture that was modern 60 years ago is still modern today, ” Mr Webber said.
“Adaptable and easily placed in contemporary interiors, the design era that inspired a generation has found a strong place in this one.”
When buying vintage furniture, Ms Hill said it was important to ensure a piece was well-made and comfortable.
“Of course you will look for a piece that is beautiful and appeals to your aesthetic but with vintage furniture there is no reason it can’t be practical too, ” she said.
“Also, it’s easy to get caught up in who designed what but you can get a great piece by an unknown designer for a fraction of the price of a designer piece.”
‘The lasting appeal of vintage furniture lies not only in its great design but in its uniqueness.’
© The West Australian
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