September 30, 2015

All Lacquered Up

Highly coveted by designers and collectors, lacquered furniture is experiencing another glamorous rebirth. Originating in East Asia over two millennia ago, lacquer’s opulent roots were firmly planted into the archives of English and American design by Thomas Chippendale, Thomas Sheraton, and George Hepplewhite—the "Big Three” English furniture makers of the 18th century whose ideas embodied and refined this golden age of craftsmanship. Lacquer was brought to popularity once again by the 20th century’s doyenne of decorating, Dorothy Draper, who applied the finish to her legendary pagoda etagere and massive paneled doors. And its recently reclaimed status as a room-brightening staple has resulted in a new tide of furniture restoration businesses, such as The Resplendent Crow, and numerous DIY innovations, such as Amy Howard’s lacquer spray paint. The dead flat paint and distressed finish that characterized my dorm days is finally on its way to the curb!

Above: Chippendale chair (new), pagoda cabinet (vintage), 
and side table (new)

Total transformation: Sucheta of The Resplendent Crow recently refinished and painted my Bali Hai faux-bamboo nightstands a splendid kelly green. Painting with lacquer requires skill and Sucheta is a pro. I took note of her talent while browsing Etsy for vintage lacquered pieces and found her store. You can buy her already-glamorized vintage pieces or send her your furniture for refinishing and lacquering.