Mission-style, or Arts and Crafts, was a movement back to simplicity that began in the late 19th century. The basic foundation for mission-style is that furniture makers believed in good design and hand craftsmanship, emphasizing simple horizontal and vertical lines and flat panels that accentuate the grain of the wood.
Here are five keys to finding high quality mission-style furniture:
1. Make sure that it is solid and well constructed - Look for clear horizontal and vertical lines in the construction and prominent 90-degree angles and flat planes.
2. Look for good joinery – There are many types of joinery, such as dovetails or mortise and tenons, but they are all key to solid woodworking. Take a close look at the edges and make sure they are strong and solid.
3. Look for tool marks to see if it's handmade – Sounds simple enough, but real handmade projects will have clear tool marks on them.
4. Trust your gut – If it looks well made, it probably is. Same goes for the opposite. If you have reservations about a piece, test out its durability. If it seems rickety if you lean on it, it's not a good piece to buy.
5. Do your homework – Read and learn about the furniture you are looking for. For inspiration, look to Frank Lloyd Wright, Greene and Greene, and Stickley.
If you’d like to see a mission-style project up close, I made an Arts and Crafts-style chair for season 2 of my series. Check outof the project. Good luck, and happy picking!
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Photos by Anthony Tieuli