Monday, June 27, 2011

It's about time, we all got wired!!!!!!

   French Garden furniture of today, draws from a rich and diverse history, that resulted in many different styles. From 1715 onward, as the Formal French Garden began to yield, to the free design of landscaped gardens, people began to enjoy ,new forms of social leisure and  more intimate and beautifully organized outdoor social functions. It the beginning, furniture and carpets from the house, was carried out into the garden. This required servants and much time. If a sudden rain would appear, every one had to run and the furniture was often ruined. So the need for out door furniture had appeared. The first of this furniture was heavy was not easy to move, nor was it comfortable. It also required a lot of work to maintain it. The "Rococo" period arrived and the out door became very Romantic.  A lot of smaller garden, within a larger garden, made it possible ,to feel like it, was a more personal space. This was the first concept of the," outdoor room", that most people think, is a 21st century ideal. HDTV-this is not a new concept, nor did you all invent it. What goes around comes around. Even the out door kitchen, that is so popular today, is a Victorian concept. The summer kitchen, as it was called, was an out door room for cooking. This kept the heat out of the house and saved a lot of houses from burning down.

My Southern Magnolias have been blooming and blooming for weeks. My nieces gave,My Old Historic House,
2 of them for the houses 2 birthday. They were 6 foot tall then and now they are 12. I worried about them last winter when we had 20 inches of snow. But as you can see they are doing just fine. The Southern Magnolia is my favorite of all trees. 
    The more people wanted to be outside , the more there was a need for furniture that could be used outside, and it needed to be  moved about easy.. Garden furniture created wholly out of wire was light weight, durable, easy to move, and fairly cheap in price. This became the rage of all those outdoor souls during the middle to late 1800's. The French were the first to come up with the wire furniture designs. We owe a lot to the French, like folding tables and chairs. These were invented and used not only in the private gardens, but, also in out door dining and social functions. Thus the ,"Bistro tables and chairs."
   French Wire garden furniture is made by hand. To this day, no one has invented a machine to do this work. Some of the crimping designs and twist and so on, are done by machine. It is a simple process, where a frame is made from a heavy rod, like wire, and smaller wire is applied to that frame. Almost  ever piece made, was outfitted with wheels. This made it even easier to move. Soon, Flower shops were using these wire pieces for display and offered them for sale. Catalog companies carried various styles, pieces and patterns. In the high Victorian  days, almost every fine home had a garden room, green house or sun room. This wire furniture was soon making it's grand appearances in all those homes. Especially the Plant Stand, which could hold many pots of rare plants and make a great display as well. These plant stands are the most found,in todays markets, and the pieces we think of most, when talking of French Wire. Chairs, tables and love seats are not as common, so therefore the price is much higher on these items.
   I have an addiction  to this stuff.. Some people do drugs, I do French Wire. I buy it to sale, and it usually never does, so home it goes. When I do sale a piece, I am kinda sad, but, it gives me a reason to buy another. I have a plant stand on every porch and a couple in the yard. My patio has 2 love seats and 2 chairs. I long for a table, but, they are so hard to come by. My friend, and antique dealer, Blossom, got me started with this habit. She has owned and sold more wonderful wire than I have time to list. We are always sending each other to a shop to see one that we spotted. One of us, usually ends up with it. I remember a pair of the most wonderful chairs we found on a trip to Ill. Blossom bought them and latter sold them. When ever we mention French Wire, those chairs come up in the conversation. I guess one can have too much French Wire, but I can not imagine that ever happening to me.

    Today we have plastic furniture for the garden. I saw at the Home Dept the other day, plastic wicker furniture. I guess that is where we are. The sad  thing is, the price of the plastic, is much more than a real old wonderful piece. I hope I  never get to the day, when I have plastic garden furniture. I would rather have an old rusty piece of iron or wire, even if it is not antique. If you have plastic, I am sorry, if I stepped on your toes, and I will forgive you. Just kidding. What ever furniture you have in your garden, all I ask is, to ENJOY IT!!!!!!
   Come by, My Old Historic House ,soon and see all the French wire. After all, "I think it is time, we all get wired"! All kidding aside, I will leave the lights on and Sissy dog will meet you with a jump and a kiss. I hope you enjoy your garden this summer. Mine has been so alive this year. With all the rain, everything as been over the top. And that includes the WEEDS!Better get this posted and get out there a pull, pull, pull!

This is my new Banana Tree, a friend gave it to me, it was  a stick with roots. I will keep you posted on it's progress this summer. Makes me feel like I am in New Orleans or the South. 
The Southern Magnolia  stays green all winter, loses it's old leaves in the spring when new ones appear. It is a favorite of mine to use for Christmas decorations. After the blooms the seed pots have bright red seeds and look good on mantles and in vases for the holidays.


Crystal said...

I love the wire!!! It adds a bit of something to the garden doesn't it? Furniture, shelves, anything wire is wonderful!

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

I LOVE this post AND will have to leave it open so I can go back a few more times and study it! I have ALWAYS LOVED wire, iron, metals, etc, etc of any kind and form. I have them follow me home all the time, THEREFORE I will NEVER EVER own a car. I need ROOM TO TRANSPORT! My family calls it my metal menagerie! I call it my lace window... Wire, etc in the gardens does NOT overpower, it enhances with it's SEE THROUGH abilities... I LOVE IT! and I LOVE this post of yours. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm on my way back to savor every word and picture!!! AHHH!!!
Have a wonderful week,

Bohemian said...

Oh Richard you are such a sweetheart, thank you for sending me that elusive mag... it is so very kind of you! I'm LOVING the idea of displaying large shells in a wire Garden Display vignette... I MUST get wired now! *winks* I have a vast amount of large Conch (and other) shells and need to find a better way of displaying them than I presently am... this Post has definitely inspired me. I've saved the tiered planter shell vignette to my favs as inspiration for that project.

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Barbara F. said...

Your garden is so lovely Richard. I love all your "wire" furniture. The shells look perfect in that spot. And of course, I almost could smell that magnolia blossom from here. xo,

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

What a wonderful collection you have! I am lucky to have one piece that is like the one you have the sea shells in. I picked up on Cherokee St. in St Louis at a great price. Now they are almost out of my price range!

I have wire envy!!

Anonymous said...

This is a gorgeous post Richard!!

Pearl said...

So wonderful Richard, all this French wire, and your schell collection is beautiful. I will never look at wire quite the same again. I love to learn so thanks for the education. Did you mow your lawn yet? :)

xinex said...

I love your wire garden furniture, Richard. Sooooo pretty!..Christine

Sissysmom said...

Beautiful wire!

lvroftiques said...

Richard that's my kind of wired!! Actually I can think of few things I'd like more than to get "wired" on a delicious cup of coffee on your old french wire furniture with you and that sweet Sissy girl!
I also want to thank you for always leaving me intelligent comments over at my place. I always look forward to receiving a comment from you *winks* You must know your fabrics my friend. That curtain IS from a well known design house...I think it was either Schumacher or Osborne?? One of the better known ones anyway. I only WISH it was scalamandre!

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Richard

Thank you for this. The circular plant stand is the piece I most covert: it is a stunner.

On the other hand, the thought of plastic furniture makes me shudder!
Thank you so much for your visit. I might do a piece on those doors.


mississippi artist said...

I always learn something every time you post. I love all your wire furniture. You are so right most everything new is just an improvement-or not- over something that has already been done!

Susan said...

Hello Richard....Loved your photos of the French wired pieces. So glad there is finally a reason to get "wired." hee hee Great photos! Susan

It's Just Dottie said...

Oh! The seashells are beautiful!!! Be still my heart!

Kate said...

What a gorgeous collection of wire furniture! Being able to spend time outdoors is such a pleasure!

very merry vintage style said...

Beautiful furniture--love it all--what a wonderful place to relax. Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday; hope you'll be back again this week!

outjunking said...

I really like anything wire and add a little rust and I'm there. I just became follower 146. Stop by and visit sometime.

victorian parlor II said...


Your wire furniture is lovely! I enjoy seeing all of the wonderful treasures in your beautiful home:). Thanks for sharing!



Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

Hi Richard...thanks for visiting. I am so glad you will be visiting again. I love your wire furniture. I didn't know it was called that. I like study outdoor furniture because the sun in AZ eats wood, is awful.
Your blog is beautiful.

Bohemian said...

Dear Richard, it arrived today, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I'm still swooning over the Photos, your collections and Styling are superb! And Sissy looks so cute in her modeling debut with Victorian Home. *winks* Thank you so much for your generosity, I will cherish this issue!

Hugs... Dawn... The Bohemian

Heirlooms by Ashton House said...

What an informative and lovely post! I always learn something on my visits to your blog. Thanks for sharing this enchanting ensemble of wire garden furniture. You are so fortunate to have such a beautiful collection of it.

Rose ~Victorian Rose ~ said...

What a treasuretrove of info you are.
But I have to say as functional as some of that wire furniture is for holding plants and your lovely collection of shells.....the seats do look a bit uncomfortable however.
But yes, you are right... so are the wrought iron ones...I have some in my yard. Don't ever sit on them... unless I HAVE to tho.

P.S. I have a note for you on my blog about your children's shoes...come on over when you have a mintue.

Divine Theatre said...

I could live in that garden, my friend. Some day I will actually slow down long enough to sit in a chair! LOL!

Love you and Sissy!


lvroftiques said...

Richard thanks so much for the heads up on my inkwell. I just fell in love with her but knew nothing. So did I get a good price? It was originally marked $95 but I got them to come down the standard 10%. I thought it was a little expensive but too cute to pass up! *winks*
I gave you a little shout out over at my place. Thanks again! Vanna

Shelia said...

Hi Richard! Oh, how I love your pretty wired patio furniture and thank you for all of the information too! You have some lovely pieces.
Thanks so much for popping in to see me.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Richard, Your French wire pieces are fabulous. You also have a wonderful collection of seashells. I hope you have a great Fourth of July!

for the love of a house said...

wow Richard- that is a crazy fabulous collection of antique wire pieces! I am so impressed, and your posts are always so informative. I adore the settee in the second photo!

happy weekend!

Mrs. D said...

Richard, you've done it again! Makes me want to go shopping (treasure hunting) for French Wire. I love your collections so much.

I'd enjoy reading a book written by you, illustrated with photos from your home. That would be awesome. I'd put that book (your autographed book of course) front and center in 1893 Queen Anne parlor.

Speaking of that Richard, is there any way I can buy a personally autographed copy of your June magazine article?

Your friend and fan,
Mrs. D

Curtains In My Tree said...

Hi Richard & Sissy

I will be in the back also at the Artichoke Annies flea market this Saturday July 2nd

Tell your friend to look for me I will have a small chalk board up with Curtains In my Tree wrote on it

I have to load up tonight and be out there about 5:30 am July 2nd

I hope we have lots of visitors come on out .

I was planning on visiting you this month, now what days are you open at the shop?


Ann from On Sutton Place said...

Love the shells and totally love the daisies! Enjoyed the post as always...hope you have a great July 4th!

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...


I LOVE LOVE LOVE Victorian wire furniture! Especially planters! They look so summery. I wish the antique ones were more affordable. As always, you have the quintessential collection! :-)


Anonymous said...

Once again, you've brought something new to my attention. I had never heard of French wire furniture before, although I'm sure I saw it in old southern yards when I was growing up. It has a lightness to it that's so different from the wrought-iron (or imitations) that I'm used to. Since reading your post, I've encountered one piece of it in an antiques store. Now I know what I'm looking at.

Thanks for the information. I'm learning so much about antiques from your posts.

xinex said...

Seeing your patriotic decor again makes me feel so proud to be an American, Richard...Christine