Monday, November 23, 2009

We Have Moved...

We have moved to a new site! Visit us at Made by Hickory Chair for new stories. You may also find us on Hickory Chair's web site by clicking on BLOG. Just click on the link and add us to your favorites!

Friday, November 6, 2009

What is the 1930's chair?

I must say that mentioning a chair that we had made continuously since before 1930 sparked some interest! This is the cover of the oldest Hickory Chair catalog. It is ledger size made with loose pages and brass brads. It is all black and white with a duotone cover, but even so, you can see the meticulous carving and beautiful crotch mahogany veneers on the wood pieces. You can see the clarity of the finishes and crisp tailoring of the pieces. This foundation has proven to be very solid in the almost 80 years since this catalog was published!

The 2418-00 Occasional Chair is the piece with the greatest longevity in our line. Made continuously since before 1930 it has endured the test of time. A part of the James River Collection today, it actually predated the collection and was made a part of it in the 1940's. Small scaled, it has been perfect for a bedroom chair, vanity or living room. It has beautifully carved legs and arm stumps. Meticulous hand nailed nail trim accentuates the curves of the back, arms and seat. There is not a single straight line anywhere on this chair!

Today the 2418-00 Occasional Chair is still made here in Hickory, North Carolina by talented craftsmen who carve, sand, assemble, cut the cover, sew, upholster and hand nail each chair to order. As we look forward to our 100th anniversary in 2011, it is very special to realize that we have the talent and timeless forms such as this little occasional chair that we can make to order for you.

Made By Hickory Chair Has Moved!

Made By Hickory Chair officially has a new home at WWW.MADEBYHICKORYCHAIR.COM.

We'll leave this blog up for a while, but please make sure to change your bookmarks, alter your feed to the new url, and of course, visit us at the new site. You won't even notice the difference.

It looks exactly the same, but works better.

So come see us at the new site,

If you are on our RSS, please click here and add us to your RSS reader!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Very Own Hickory Chair Story - Part 2

After sharing Lauren's story yesterday, I started thinking more about that 1857-55 Chippendale Wing Chair. I investigated to see how long Hickory Chair had been making this wing chair. Since November 2, 1982 this wing chair has been made to order for clients. Twenty-seven years seems like a very long time until you consider that we have been making furniture since 1911! We actually have a chair that is pictured in our 1930 catalog! As this is the oldest catalog in existence, we really do not know when we began making that chair!

I thought more about how many other ways that I have seen the 1857-55 Chippendale Wing Chair upholstered over the years. I found a few pictures that helped me realize how a timeless form may be personalized for the home it is being made for. For example, the picture of the pair of chairs at the upper left were in a nice white sateen with a red and white braided welt cord. I can see this pair of chairs in a beautiful, traditional living room.

In the next picture, shown right, is an example where the designer sent COL hair-on-hide to Hickory Chair to upholster on the chair. They chose a contrasting solid leather for the seat cushion. I can almost see the snow falling outside the big picture windows at the mountain home where this chair might be located or perhaps this chair found a home on a ranch where the family spends their weekends and holidays!

In this example, the designer asked that we make the chair with a tight seat and eliminate the loose seat cushion entirely. They chose a reproduction French flour sack type fabric and used nail head trim to punctuate the fine lines of the shapes of the chair. These chairs could have shipped anywhere!
At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide what your style is and ask for it. It is not necessary to settle for off the shelf items when you have a workroom in Hickory, North Carolina eager to make your vision a reality!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Very Own Hickory Chair Story

Lauren McKay, one of the talented designers at Design Lines Ltd. in Raleigh, NC, recently shared her Hickory Chair story with us. She found at an antique store a vintage Hickory Chair wing chair made in 1996. She saw past the dated blue damask fabric to see the fine proportion and scale of the chair. She knew it's quality of construction and quickly purchased it for her home. Turning over her prize possession to her local upholsterer along with her carefully chosen COM, the end result is a modern form for her home today.

The craftsman was able to strip and recover the chair because of the solid wood frame with mahogany legs and stretcher. Each solid wood frame part was made from maple, cherry or poplar kiln dried lumber and was meticulously shaped to have the same curves and form as the final upholstery as shown in the pictures. Like the vintage wing chair reproduced by Hickory Chair that Lauren found, the construction integrity that is still made in the creation of the frame, the wood gives the shape not the padding!

In the 18th Century, a craftsman would have only had horsehair, hay, grass, rags or spanish moss to use for padding - the wooden frame had to have the final shape and the padding was only for comfort. This time proven method is still in use today at Hickory Chair. Most companies today use CAD cutting machine to cut out plywood frames that are not intended for re-upholstery some day. We take the time to make a heirloom quality solid wood frame that will allow you to re-upholster the piece for your home and pass it down to future generations. The custom engineered 8-way hand tied springs with underlying steel bands were intact and did not need repair or replacement. The spring-down seat cushion was still resilient due to the quality of the coil springs, high density foam and down-proof ticking with channels of down, small duck feathers and ultracell fiber mix. The triple doweled frame with its corner glue blocks held with glue and 4 screws each held each joint strong as the day it was made. This hand made solid wood frame deserves to be re-covered again and again in the future!

Why fill up the landfills with furniture when you can re-purpose these classic pieces for modern homes? By the way, if Lauren wishes she had a pair of these beautiful wing chairs she is lucky because this classic wing chair, the 1857-55 Chippendale Wing Chair, is still hand made to order at Hickory Chair!

Share your Hickory Chair story with us at!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Great Bones

Twice per year furniture companies introduce new pieces for their collections. In a way it is like spring with the new growth emerging from the winter. This fall Hickory Chair and Alexa Hampton emerged with dynamic new pieces for the very popular Alexa Hampton Collection.

Alexa (shown left) traveled to High Point to share with the press and visitors to the Hickory Chair Showroom the thought process behind each piece as well as historical pedigree of each piece. Unlike many furniture companies, we begin with a classic form that is now timeless. Reproducing the fine lines and proportion allows the new piece to have 'great bones'. This is true for all things such as the little black dress or a navy blazer. They are those pieces in your closet that can be dressed up for a formal affair or be dressed down for a casual affair.

The new upholstery pieces by Alexa Hampton have the pedigree of classic, timeless forms but are made fresh by the manner in which they were dressed - rich brown finishes and neutral linen fabrics allowing for a quiet luxury. These pieces like the Curtis Sofa, Chair, Ottoman and Chaise have the great bones of Danish 1940's modern furniture but have had their lines made crisp and modern. Their hand made wooden frames outine the piece while comfortable upholstery is executed without welts except for where the fabric meets the frame.
These new Curtis pieces are only a portion of the new pieces available from the Alexa Hampton Collection. They will be in stores beginning in mid to late November! Why settle for ordinary when you can have great bones?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Eton Is Now Available Without Nails!

We love making wishes come true at Hickory Chair. We have had many designers wish that the Eton series was available without nail head trim. We shared this request with the craftsmen at Hickory Chair and they worked together to design a new upholstery technique that would allow the series to be upholstered so that the nail head trim was not necessary.

This wish has come true at this October Market! Now the entire Eton series is available with or without nail head trim. The Eton is available in one inch increments from 33 to 120 inches in length! In addition, we now make the Eton as a standard chair and with a swivel base! These Eton pieces are available now and can ship in just a few weeks from order!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Innovation Allows New Levels of Personalization Introduced at Market

Gustav is an exciting new series of dining tables by Alexa Hampton. These Gustav dining tables were inspired by an antique Scandanavian table. The craftsmen at Hickory Chair and Alexa brainstormed ideas of how these Gustav dining tables could be designed to allow designers to create one of a kind tables for their clients. Their ideas lead to innovation never attempted before not only at Hickory Chair but by furniture manufactuers. The innovative ideas engineered into the product are more typical of a woodright making a custom piece in his workroom.

The Gustav is made both as a Round Dining Table and as a Rectangular Dining Table. In addition to finish flexibility with over 60 optional finishes, Gustav also has three optional apron friezes. You may select from a figure-eight, a reeded and a cathedral cut apron. These distinctive apron friezes will allow you to personalize the table for your room.

The rectangular version of the Gustav dining table is urban scaled. It extends for 60 inches to 104 inches with the addition of two 24 inch leaves. A square tapered leg with Antique Nickel ferrules and decorative corner caps is available in place of the round fluted tapered leg. This simple tapered square leg allows the Gustav to have a less formal feel.

The round Gustav dining table has a 60 inch diameter and extends to 84 inches with its single 24 inch leaf. It has a beautiful hand carved mahogany base standard. The Kimball pedestal base is also available with this top for a different look. There are several optional dining table tops that are available for use with the Gustav pedestal base.
The craftsman and artisans at Hickory Chair can further personalize these pieces for you with the palette of over 68 finishes, finish techniques, combination finishes and striping. Why settle for an off the shelf piece when we can make a one-of-a-kind table for you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Alexa Hampton New Collection Launched!

Today is the unofficial opening day of the International Home Furnishings Market held in High Point, North Carolina. We have enjoyed a great day of buyers, designers, press and film crews visiting Hickory Chair. We are thankful that so many individuals have chosen to begin their market experience at Hickory Chair!

Alexa Hampton has a new collection this season! Celebrating her 3rd collection for Hickory Chair, she brought to us forms that have very different originis - Scandanavian, English Regency and American Modern. They work beautifully together because of their timeless proportion, scale and style. She worked alongside the craftsmen in Hickory, North Carolina to select the wood species, hardware and hone the fine details of each piece to create new pieces that blend beautifully with the existing pieces not only in her collection but in the diverse offering from Hickory Chair.

The Kingsley Bed is one of the new pieces for the collection. Adapted from an Anglo-Indian Settee, Alexa felt the form lent itself to become a bed relevant for today's homes. Alexa felt that a cane headboard and footboard was needed in the marketplace because they are really hard to find for clients.
Together we brainstormed why not also make it available with upholstered and also with wood options. Available in a twin, queen, king and california king size and in any of Hickory Chair's extensive palette of over 60 finishes. Not stopping there, the bed is available as a twin size daybed. Lastly, it is available with a low profile footrail instead of the taller foot rail. Truly, it is a hand made piece just for you.
The upholstered version shown left is upholstered in a printed linen fabric designed by Alexa Hampton for Kravet fabrics for a launch in the fall of 2010. A series of these fresh linen prints are available exclusively through Hickory Chair!
These exciting new introductions by Alexa Hampton and Hickory Chair will be in stores beginning in late November!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It Was Custom Made...

One of the pieces we at Hickory Chair have made since the 1940's from our James River Collection, the 2131-30 Sideboard, was recently ordered by a customer with a special construction request. They loved the piece but wished that it was shorter. (I can imagine it sitting underneath a large flat screen TV with the equipment either hidden behind the doors or sitting on top!) The customer asked if we could shorten the legs and use a specific ferrule from another piece in our line. The request went out to our craftsmen in their morning meeting and a quick yes came back to the customer service representative along with the custom up-charge. A few days later we received the customer's order!

When reviewing the expansive selection of pieces we make, it is amazing to realize that the original form of the piece is merely a starting place. If it does not suit the room or the aesthetic you are striving for, allow us the opportunity to change the finish, the hardware or even the physical form. While we perhaps can not say yes to every request, we will do our best to try to make a piece just the way you would like it to be!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why Wait When You Can Have It Now?

As we prepare for our big trade show, the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, North Carolina, it always lights a fire of enthusiasm for what our collaboration can achieve. The show is the largest home furnishings show in the world and attracts designers, furniture stores, department stores, boutique stores and to the trade showroom professionals to see the latest fabrics, finishes, leather and furniture pieces. These buyers must be overwhelmed with the thousands of new things being introduced during the show.

While the show is open only to the industry and not to the public, it is the result of a successful market experience that will be seen in the coming weeks and months after market. These professional buyers select carefully the pieces from their favorite manufacturers that are appropriate for their area. Most manufactuers require 4-5 months to produce the pieces and ship them out to the stores. Our employees knew this was frustrating for buyers who wished they could immediately enjoy these fresh fabrics, leather and furniture pieces. They wanted to update their displays now.

Our employees examined the process and have created a process where we can ship new upholstered pieces in just 2 weeks from market. We can ship new wood introductions in just 4 weeks from market. By Thanksgiving, most of the new pieces from market have been received by these buyers allowing them to update their displays for the holiday season and not have to wait until Spring!

Plan to visit your local Hickory Chair dealer later this fall and see the amazing new pieces by Alexa Hampton hand made by the craftsmen in Hickory, North Carolina. Let us make a one-of-a-kind piece for you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dining Chairs Trimmed With Tape

Recently I have noticed dining chairs coming through our workroom with decorative tape trims. In each of the cases featured today, the designer contacted Hickory Chair with a drawing of how they would like these uphostered dining chairs made custom for their clients. Each of these chairs are distinctive and are hand made for the designer and their client. Our skilled employees enjoy the creativity of how pieces have been ordered and look foward to making one of a kind pieces like these! Don't be afraid to ask for something special. It is what we do best at Hickory Chair!

Suzanne Kasler's Amsterdam Side Chair is shown in Antique Ivory with natural linen with a pink groisgrain ribbon with NP-08 petite nail trim spaced every third nail in lieu of welt trim.

Albert Sack's Cabriole Side Chair is shown in Cappiccino finish with COM fabric and trim spaced approximately 12 inches apart across the seat, inside and outside back.

The Marlboro Side Chair from the Winterthur Country Estate Collection is shown in English Antique finish with red COM fabric and trim centered down the seat, inback and outback and then nailed in NS-05 natural nails.

What can we make for you today?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mariette Himes Gomez

Mariette Himes Gomez is one of the industry's most respected designers. We at Hickory Chair have had the great honor of working with her since the launch of her colleciton in 2002. The Mariette Himes Gomez Collection is a wonderful assemblage of pieces inspired by her travels and antique shopping all over the world. A large introduction was launched at the Spring 2009 market and the pieces are in stores now.
She will be the speaker at the International Home Furnishings Center on Sunday, October 18th at noon. She will be speaking on Design Today outlining the foundation of her great design - the influence of architectural character of a space along with scale and proportion. The presentation will be held at the IHFC, 11th Floor, Green Wing in Ballroom B. For more information contact Holly Allred
To see her collection in person, visit the Hickory Chair Showroom at IHFC, Space CG800.

Book Signing! Re-De-Sign by Cathy Whitlock

October is here and for those of us in the home furnishings industry that can only mean one thiing... the International Home Furnishings Market is coming quickly! We have many exciting events planned. For example, we have posted just within the past week three events. First a CEU Credit course being taught at the Hickory Chair Showroom on Saturday, October 17th at 8:30 am. On Sunday, October 18th from 3-6 pm we will hold a book signing by Suzanne Kasler for her first book, Inspired Interiors.
On Tuesday, October 20th from 3-6 pm we will be holding a book signing for Cathy Whitlock (pictured above) and her new book re-de-sign - New Directions for your Interior Design Career. Cathy's new book chronicles the many directions an interior designer can take in their career from a residential designer to a commercial designer; from an educator to a furniture designer; to store display designer to a designer with a TV show; and more! In her book Alexa Hampton is interviewed about her journey into interior design. Jay Reardon, president of Hickory Chair is interviewed as well as Cathy Mitchell Parker, Vice President of Product Merchandising and her journey from graduating with an interior design degree to where she is today.
For more information about these events, contact!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Suzanne Kasler Featured by All The Best by Ronda Carman

What a wonderful surprise it was when I visited All The Best by Ronda Carman this morning! She published a beautiful post today about the amazing designer and now author, Suzanne Kasler!

In Ronda's blog today she reviews Suzanne's new book Inspired Interiors by Rizzoli Publishers. She states that "I adore the way Suzanne layers color and texture into rooms, while keeping neutral backgrounds. The resultis a fresh mix of continental flavor, classic style and comfortable sophistication. Suzanne has a special way of combining art, antiques, contemporary pieces and custom-designed furniture , all adding to the feel of timeless interiors."

Hickory Chair is proud to be hosting a book signing during the upcoming International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, North Carolina on Sunday, October 18th from 3-6 p.m. If you attend the show do not miss this opportunity to purchase this beautiful new book from Suzanne. Not coming to market? Contact Suzanne's office at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CEU Course Available At High Point Market!

Hickory Chair became an ASID Industry Partner in 2009. Across the country different members of our team have become involved in local chapter meetings and events. Recently Hickory Chair submitted a program for review for CEU credit. We are proud to announce that our new course "Tomorrow's Heirlooms: The Construction, Craftsmanship and Customization of High-End Furniture" is now available. It is approved by both ASID and IDCEC! The course is an indepth presentation that details quality furniture's process focused upon the differences between high, medium and lower quality and price points. The course carries a CEU 0.1 value.
Hickory Chair will offer this course on Saturday, October 17th at 8:30 am. It will be held in the Hickory Chair Showroom in High Point, North Carolina. The course is free of charge. NCIDQ requires a $12 registration fee. To register email

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

J Covington Design Published in ACCENT Magazine!

J. Covington Designs is a design firm with a boutique store located in New Hampshire. Most of the members of their team have come to HCC University to meet our talented employees. They have a great web site and blog. I just discovered that they had been published in the September issue of Accent Magazine! Their client's home is located in Lake Winnipesaukee, New York. The home was built in 1820 and the home owner reached out to J. Covington to help them take this wonderful historic property and create an enviroment for their needs and desires.

As I read their blog post about the published article in Accents Magazine, I began to discover the many pieces of Hickory Chair furniture that J. Covington's designers selected for this family. The Center Hall Table by Mariette Himes Gomez was finished in a soft painted finish and is positioned in the foyer of the home.

Then in the Living Room I noticed the Spool Chair by Mark Hampton and the Badlam Table from the Albert Sack Collection. Made by the craftsmen in the custom workroom in Hickory, North Carolina, they were able to select from one of the 68 finishes to find the right color for the room. A Hickory Chair fabric that is reproduction of a French flour sack was selected for the chair.

The Gothick Bench, a reproduction from the Winterthur Country Estate Collection, was placed in the open gallery that leads from the kitchen. With its distinctive form finished in Weathered Black paint, it is dramatic and inviting.

We congratulate our friends at J. Covington Designs. Our talented craftsmen in Hickory, North Carolina appreciate the many pieces of Hickory Chair furniture that were selected for the beautiful home.
Have you been published? We would love to share your Hickory Chair story too!