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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Campaign Trail

Spurred on by a little furniture makeover project I've been working on, I've been doing a bit of background research on campaign furniture, one of my favorite styles. I'm happy to say that unlike a lot of other design elements I love, campaign furniture hasn't suffered from terminal overexposure quite yet...let's hope it stays that way!

Campaign furniture had its origins in the British army. During the height of the British empire its soldiers were all over the world and needed to bring the luxuries of home with them!

Left: William Heath Engraving; Right: vintage campaign advertisement 
Take Up Your Bed and Walk    Maker - Richard Millard

A little more background info:

For Great Britain’s gentlemen soldiers stationed in India, Africa, the South Seas, and North America, campaign furniture brought the comfort and civility of home to “life under canvas.” Collapsible and compact, made to be carried on the march and assembled on site, these folding chairs, desks, and cots—used by armies since ancient times—reached an aesthetic apex in 18th- and 19th-century England. To convey their social status, gentleman soldiers stationed abroad ordered entire suites of the ingeniously designed, elaborately styled, fold-up furnishings, and manufacturers such as Chippendale, Sheraton, and Hepplewhite furiously competed for commissions. From British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas, 1740-1914

The Portable House Catalogue.

Looks comfortable, doesn't it? Image via Coworkout

Of course, real antique British campaign furniture will cost you an arm and a leg, but it's always fun to look. It is simply amazing how these large pieces of furniture and chairs collapse into practically nothing for easy transport. Truly a feat of engineering!

Campaign Wardrobe by Ross & Co.

Hill & Millard Campaign Douro Chair
Hill & Millard Campaign Douro Chair

Solomon Brothers Camp WashstandTeak Campaign Chest (notice how the chest doesn't actually collapse, but splits in half to make hauling it a bit easier).
Solomon Bros Camp Washstand Small Teak Campaign Chest

Campaign Secretaire- Now you see it, now you don't!

Of course, much of the colorful campaign furniture I have my eye on is not exactly from the height of the British empire. Let's just say that no one in their right mind would decided to slap some paint on a gorgeous antique worth nearly $10k. Luckily a lot of campaign repros popped up in the 60's and 70's and are perfect for makovers. Of course the quality is nothing like the original, but neither is the price! A lot of these pieces are veneer, which makes them perfect for painting over.

Hilary Thomas via Deliciously Organized

Picture1-1.png vanessa campaign image by jkomenda

To score some campaign pieces of your own, check out Ebay, or better yet, keep your eyes peeled on Craigslist and in thrift/vintage stores. I have seen campaign furniture in Goodwill before for next to nothing!

Image Hosting by Vendio

And stay tuned for the outcome of my furniture makeover, which we'll be featuring very soon. Let's just say it starts with this (mmm, 70's veneer!)

And ends with something AMAZING!!!!


goheels83 said...

Ooooh, I am intrigued!!!!!! Can't wait to see your makeover MoS Wash!!!

Pemberley said...

Love the look and will be searching craigs list soon. Thanks for all the background info too. Great post.

Lacquered Life said...

I love campaign furniture, and I love the historic photos you found. So nice to give a background of the history of these beautiful pieces. My boyfriend has beautiful campaign bedside tables in his apt in nyc, they are just so good looking!

Kelly Green said...

I too love this furniture - have got a gorgeous red piece awaiting some attention for my boys room! KG

Shelly @littlemrsdoitall said...

I did a post about Campaign furniture too! I LOVE it! I found a piece on CL for $30 and because I would have had to drive over an hour to pick up the piece I let it go. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Can't wait to see the redo on your find!

Averill said...

I love the hardware details on campaign furniture -- I can't wait to see your makeover!

Dayka (Life +Style) said...

this is a great idea for a post! i found a piece for furniture and did a bit of research and never thought to share my findings. i loved this!

found you via three men and a lady! :)

noelle regina said...

my parents have TWO henderson dressers at their house from when they were first married ... i happened to mention the lonny pic to my mom and she said "funny you mention that, i was going to just throw those to the curb!"

needless to say, i called dibs.

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