Saturday, February 7, 2009

When I read that it is the eighth anniversary of the partnership between Martha Stewart and Bernhardt furniture this month, I really understood the fleetingness of time. I couldn't believe it had been that long since the debut of the Lily Pond Lane and Skylands collections, which were in stores by the summer of 2001. Five more collections have followed since: Turkey Hill, Opal Point, Katonah, North River and the newest addition, Rosebridge, which will be in stores this spring. Also being introduced this spring will be the eighth furniture collection, whose title has yet to be announced.

I thought I'd post a link to the original article from the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. It's a fine recollection and dissemination of the Martha Stewart Signature Furniture line with Bernhardt, which is one of the most successful furniture collections in the country, even at a time of economic uncertainty, which stands as a tribute to its long-lasting quality and appeal. Please take a moment to read it.

Below are some of my favourite pieces from the various collections. I think each collection is worthy of study, but my favourite is Opal Point with its breezy, West Coast feel. I think it is the most modern of the collections and also the most fresh and versatile.

My favourite piece from any of the Martha Stewart Signature furniture collections is the Whitney Serpentine Sideboard from the Opal Point Collection. Its Sable wood front follows the form of rolling waves, accentuated with simple drop pulls. Inside, the case is beautifully outfitted with removable bottle partitions, a silverware drawer, tray drawers, and shelves that hold everything from wine to soup tureens to tablecloths; all of the components needed to set an elegant table can be housed in this gorgeous piece.

My second favourite piece is also from the Opal Point collection: The Huntington Bibliotheque. (Bibliotheque is French for library, by the way.) It is finished in maple veneers with black finish. The center frieze area and the bottom four doors have silver-leaf glass with a frosted, etched design. The top section has four wood-framed doors with beveled glass, eglomise-mirrored back, beveled glass curio ends, nine adjustable and removable wood-framed shelves with plate grooves, one fixed wood shelf and three halogen lights with a touch dimmer switch. The hardware is made of polished nickel.

From the Katonah collection I adore the Byram Chinoiserie Sideboard. (I've got a thing for sideboards, apparently!) It is designed in a typical Federal style with tall spade legs and block front, copied from a piece that Martha has in her dining room at Cantitoe Corners. Beneath the raven exterior, with its hand-painted gold ruling and plated 22-karat gold acorn knobs, is a spacious cabinet ready to house treasured serving pieces, new and old.
I love the cohesive look of this North River furniture tableau: subtle, muted neutrals in a light-filled room with dark, bold accents and the faux-bois rug, which is also a Martha Stewart creation, available through Safavieh. I like that Martha's furniture lines can be mixed and matched, since they are so classically designed.

Gorgeous chinoiserie details on this Tides Turn side table from the Lily Pond collection make it wholly unique.Some of Martha's guest rooms at Lily Pond Lane feature antique furniture made of bamboo. This bamboo Tides Turn bed is nearly an exact replica of one of the styles at her home.The dark and rustic elegance of Skylands, Martha's home in Maine, is beautifully mirrored in this tableau above featuring various pieces from the Skylands collection. My favourite piece here is the Collector's Cabinet, shown partially at right, which features 20 individual drawers for storing various items. Each drawer is fitted with a gold-plated label well for easy identification.

When I first saw the Irvington Nickel-Plated Bed from the Turkey Hill collection, I knew I was in love. Each of Martha's furniture lines is showcased in a beautiful, glossy catalog. You can order them by clicking here. Each catalog is printed on sturdy cardstock paper in full colour. The catalogs themselves make nice additions to any Martha Stewart collection.

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