Solid Wood Furniture Company Takes Fresh Approach to Arts and Crafts with Sunset Hills Collection
Stylistically speaking, Amish furniture design has long been characterized by straight lines, sharp angles and traditional styles, and so it was at Nappanee, IN-based Borkholder Furniture. Yet, fueled by a desire to play in the big leagues, Borkholder began expanding beyond its traditional roots last fall with the introduction of softer, more transitional designs, and this Market, the company is demonstrating its talents with the curve.
Witness the Sunset Hills Dining Collection, a fresh approach to classic Arts and Crafts design, and the style influence of early 20th century architects Greene and Greene, famed for their distinctive California bungalows. Ideal for relaxed, transitional, urban craftsman, and, of course, bungalow homes, Sunset Hills reinterprets the recognizable forms and geometry of the era in a look that is equally at home in a downtown loft or condo today.
Crafted in solid cherry with a Seely finish that allows the beauty of the wood grain to show through, the Sunset Hills boat-shaped table top sits atop a substantial trestle with gently curved supports finished in ebony. The table, which seats six, can be expanded as needed for entertaining, seating as many as 18. Inside the showroom here, the table is shown with ebony finished dining chairs with comfortable, upholstered seats.
“Consumers are taking a much eclectic approach to decorating today, and the use of more than one finish makes for a more contemporized presentation,” says Tom Halvorsen, vice president. His point is driven home by the fresh showroom display created by High Point-based Carol Jollay Design, featuring exposed brick treatments and more contemporary lighting and accessorization than ever before.
“The idea is to show dealers how versatile these new, more transitional designs really are, and to provide them with inspiration and exciting visual merchandising ideas they can apply to their stores.” Case in point: Jollay’s circular chair tower, which maximizes square footage while allowing consumers to easily view dining chair designs from any angle.
In lieu of a traditional china cabinet, the Sunset Hills table is shown with a pair of display cabinets finished in ebony. “The beauty of the Sunset Hills cabinets is that they don’t ‘read’ dining,” Halvorsen says. “We’ve engaged well-known, high-caliber furniture designers to focus on creating furnishings that truly work for consumers’ needs today. For example, more people exiting the suburbs for downtown digs—whether they are Millennials or aging Boomers—means that we are seeing increased needs for smaller-scale furnishings. At the same time, consumers want multifunctional pieces that can be moved from room to room, and expand or contract in size as their needs change. The Sunset Hills display cabinets can be bunched to form a wall unit, and work equally well as stand-alone storage pieces in a home office, family room or library setting.”
Another standout in the Sunset Hills Collection is the round pedestal dining table with curved legs. “Asian influences were evident throughout the Arts and Crafts movement,” Halvorsen relates, “and our round pedestal table is almost sculptural in its execution. By stylizing the forms, a simpler composition is achieved and the result is fresher, younger, lighter and more versatile for today’s lifestyles.”
Borkholder also expands on its popular Arroyo Seco dining collection this spring with the introduction of Arroyo Seco bedroom. Inspired by Pasadena, CA’s Colorado Street Bridge, the solid wood bed features a raised panel headboard and footboard. Rendered in solid quartersawn oak in a Borkholder brown finish, the bed is set apart with beautifully curved spans accented by powder-coated steel spandrels. The collection includes two options in nightstands (one includes a pull-out shelf for a laptop), a seven-drawer, two-door dresser and a chest of drawers, all with hammered metal hardware.
“Notable for its distinctive Beaux Arts arches, the Colorado Street Bridge was designed and built in 1913 by the firm of Waddell & Harrington, based in Kansas City, MO,” Halvorsen says. “Featuring 11 arches, the concrete bridge spans the Arroyo Seco, a deeply cut canyon linking the San Gabriel Mountains to the Los Angeles River, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to an ancient Roman aqueduct. On the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge has been designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. You see its influence in the graceful span of the Arroyo Seco headboard, as well as at the bases of the nine-drawer dresser and chest, and in the dining table trestle.”