YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO VINTAGE HENREDON FURNITURE
Understated and elegant, vintage Henredon furniture is a forever classic—seriously, nestle in vintage Henredon furniture right between the LBD and the gin martini and you’ll hear no complaints from us!
Founded in 1945, the name “Henredon” was derived from piecing together swatches from each of its four co-founders’ names. Committed to creating quality furniture, the foursome set up shop in Morganton, North Carolina, just miles from the now-famous furniture capital of Hickory. The first collection of vintage Henredon furniture was admittedly…sparse. It featured only three case pieces. However, the company was quick to fire up its collaborative efforts, forging partnerships with design heavyweights like Dorothy Draper and Frank Lloyd Wright as early as the 1950s.
While it’s true that vintage Henredon furniture isn’t the most avant-garde you’ll find on the market, the company’s eye for trends has been fine-tuned since the beginning, and among used Henredon furniture, it’s common to find high-end details like shimmery brass hardware, Parsons silhouettes, and buttercream-colored burl wood used on repeat. If that sounds like a grab bag of styles, that’s because, well, it is. Far from a one trick pony, vintage Henredon furniture isn’t linked by a singular style, but an inherent sense of elegance.
If you’re looking to identify your piece as Henredon—lucky for you—pieces are generally well-marked. One thing to be aware of, though? In the 1970s, Henredon maintained a cross-licensing agreement with Heritage furniture, leading to many used Henredon pieces from this era being labeled Henredon-Heritage. Likewise, in the early 2000s, Henredon was officially absorbed as part of the Heritage Home portfolio, joining design royalty like Maitland-Smith and Lane Furniture.
While it’s true that any piece of used Henredon furniture is bound to feel supremely special, some earn extra points thanks to the brilliant designers who collaborated on them. Below, learn about some of our favorite Henredon-designer collaborations.
For anyone with an affinity for Hollywood Regency design, they know that the movement can be single-handedly summed up by one piece: Dorothy Draper’s España bunching chest. A nine-drawer chest featuring a tic-tac-toe grid of drawers, this piece of vintage Henredon furniture is defined by its dramatic black lacquer finish and wavy gold drawer insets. What most Regency fanatics don’t know, is that this iconic 1950s chest was originally produced by Henredon. While knock-offs are now a dime a dozen, an original Henredon can be confirmed by the following: a finished back, beveled edges, a Henredon-Heritage stamp in the drawer, and numbered drawer slots. In addition to the España chest, Henredon also produced Dorothy Draper’s Viennese Collection, which featured chests with bold, geometrically incised fronts and ornate, bombe-base hutches. In case you couldn’t tell, these used Henredon pieces were built for those who aspired to the silver screen life.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
When you consider the thoughtfulness of Frank Lloyd Wright design, it’s no surprise that the modernist master partnered with Henredon for his renowned Taliesin Ensemble. Famed for his pioneer homes in areas like Chicago and his near endless collection of one-off design projects around the U.S., Wright’s Taliesin collection was intended to bring his Arts and Crafts aesthetic to those who did not live in one of his homes. The 1955 Taliesin collection was dispersed over numerous companies who produced specialized aspects—Karastan produced the rugs, Martin-Senour Company provided a collection 36 paint colors—while Henredon handled the 63-piece furniture collection. The majority of the used Henredon pieces from this line adhered to Wright’s clean-lined, Arts and Crafts-inspired aesthetic, with intersecting planes taking center stage, but some featured a added detail of a blocky, carved “Greek Key” pattern at the edges. It’s just the kind of didn’t-have-to-but-did detail that makes used Henredon furniture so covetable.
Having joined forces with both Baker and McGuire at different points of her career, California interior designer Barbara Barry was no stranger to collaboration before joining forces with Henredon for her award-winning Realized collection. Built on the laid-back principles of California elegance, Barbara Barry’s vintage Henredon furniture collection is composed of classic silhouettes that hark back to the refinedness of Deco. The result could be stuffy, but thanks to breezy, coastal-inspired fabrics, these pieces still feel perfectly accessible. But the real beauty of Barbara Barry’s vintage Henredon pieces is that they can be flawlessly mixed with other used Henredon pieces. Pair them with one of the line’s vintage Chippendale hutches or campaign chests made of olive burl wood and you have the beginnings of enviably eclectic design.
With Palm Beach as her muse, current interior design darling Celerie Kemble has created a collection of vintage Henredon furniture that’s as playful as it is sophisticated. The collection, like most used Henredon furniture, features simple and elegant forms, but puts a polished Palm Beach spin on them courtesy of jewelry-like details—think bamboo shapes, gold leafing, rosewood, and Celerie’s admitted favorite—Burned Sugar leather. True to Henredon form, the collection doesn’t tie its wings to any one style, instead dabbling in trends as varied as Neoclassical and 1970s glam. What pulls the collection towards a collective center is Celerie’s eye for pairing luxury and subtle whimsicality—and yes, a little bit of Henredon alum Dorothy Draper’s glitz.