If you’ve only been looking at furniture for the past few years, you might think that midcentury modern and Danish-driven design represent the only ways to go. This could be especially true given the imitation and replication from places like West Elm, CB2, Room and Board, Design Within Reach and many others. However, these same stores are starting to move on – or at least expand – their repertoire. But if you really want to see the possibilities, your best bet will be the DC area’s vintage stores.
The increasing use of glass, polished brass, and elevated levels of ornateness by national retailers are evidence of a new direction and expanding popular appeal. Among our favorite alternative styles are art deco, streamlined moderne and art moderne. Read on for a bit more about these styles and where to look for great deco furniture in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington. We’ll share a few examples as seen on ATTIC, including both well preserved original pieces along with others that have been given nice contemporary updates.
Art deco was first introduced by the French after World War I and rose in popularity through the 1920s and 1930s. It also saw a revival in the 1960s. Deco furniture is characterized by the use of strong geometric patterns (e.g., the chevron), interesting veneer grain patterns and the classic waterfall edge. The streamline moderne and art moderne movements are generally described as American and German reactions to the movement and tended to simplify the style, but it’s common to see them combined in execution.
Images from the decadent Great Gatsby might come to mind. In the real world, New York’s Chrysler Building and Los Angeles’ Union Station are wonderful examples of deco in architecture and design.
More locally, check out the main building of the General Accounting Office (GAO) near Gallery Place / China Town, the Hecht Warehouse on New York Avenue or perhaps some of DC’s deco apartment and condominium buildings particularly along 16th Street to the north and south of the U Street Corridor.
Compared to midcentury modern furniture, art deco furniture can be a bit more difficult to locate. We’re not aware of any stores that specialize in the style in the DMV. Fortunately, several of the stores on ATTIC do carry deco pieces from time to time, so you’re not completely out of luck. Below are some of the art deco items recently spotted on ATTIC. They come from stores such as Miss Pixies (Logan Circle / 14th St DC), Off the Beaten Track Warehouse (NE DC), Mom N Pop Antiques (Petworth DC), Mara Home (14th St / U St Cooridor) Martha Leone Design (Reston Virginia) and Off Main (Catonsville / Baltimore Maryland).
Because deco furniture pieces can be a bit older — especially those from the original movement — and also make use of delicate veneers, it’s even more rare to find a piece in its original condition. As a result, several local stores have taken to doing some really nice contemporary enhancements often painting the pieces. Some of the nicest build off of the geometric character of the style with patterned paint designs.
If you like art deco, you may also like a few other styles that are bit more elaborate than modern design. For example, you may also like hollywood regency or art nouveau. Use our furniture style filter to see what’s available in those styles as well.
ATTIC provides the latest selection of art deco, art nouveau, art moderne and hollywood regency furniture from DC, Maryland and Virginia’s best vintage furniture stores. Thanks for reading and please let us know if you’ve spotted any other emerging trends or great spots in the area to get these types of pieces.