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Historic Design

Take a stroll through design history with these historic homes and products


Historic Design

The Cherry Hill Historic House & Farm.

Photo courtesy of Friends of Cherry Hill Foundation, Inc.

If you’re a history buff like me, you know the best way to understand anything modern is to look to the past and see what inspired it. Here you’ll find a quick reference to link you to the growing list of stories on the Home Furnishings site that either speak specifically to the history of design or are literal pieces of it, from historic homes to furniture crafted from an iconic bridge and more. Dig a little deeper, there is some truly amazing design to be found.


Art in the Design: Swatch Art Peace Hotel

A longtime partner of the art world, Swatch Group took on design of a different level when it moved in to preserve a bit of Shanghai history and restore a cultural landmark to its original splendor. The resultant Swatch Art Peace Hotel is a blending of ideas, stylistic periods and design mediums that offers visitors an opportunity to dwell in both modern art and design history at once.

Historic Houses of Northern California

Northern California is a rather huge plot of land to cover as it tells the tale of so much of the history not just of California but of the United States in general. Here you’ll find the nation’s last surviving whalebone sidewalk, glimpses of life during the Gold Rush, a castle built by a man who himself was larger than life, architectural experiments by Frank Lloyd Wright, and what could be viewed as architectural mayhem from the mind of Sarah Winchester.

Historic Houses of Southern California

Southern California is known as a place of dreams. For generations, people have followed their hopes to this place in the sun and through those years, and thanks to those who migrated here, the area has taken on a rich cultural blend evident in everything from its architecture to its eateries. This directory is not the map to the stars homes you can buy on any corner in Hollywood but instead a tour through the region’s heritage and a look into the lives of the remarkable people who made Southern California the very unique place it is today.

Historic House Trust of NYC

Historic House Trust is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the architectural and cultural history of New York City. Working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the trust provides support for the historic houses within the city parks. The houses are open to the public and span 350 years of life in New York City.

Historic Houses of Washington D.C.

Certainly a place of unquestionable history, Washington D.C. seems to have a historic home around every corner. These locations, including the homes of founding fathers, former presidents, civil rights leaders, suffragettes and diplomats, together with historic houses in northern Virginia and suburban Maryland, make up The Historic House Museum Consortium of Metropolitan Washington D.C.

Historic Houses of Virginia

These locations found throughout northern Virginia, together with locations in Maryland and Washington D.C. make up The Historic House Museum Consortium of Metropolitan Washington D.C. The area is a wealth of history like no other. Step inside one of these historic places and learn how legends like George Washington and Robert E. Lee lived, witness an apothecary run by the same family for more than 100 years and see what Frank Lloyd Wright dreamed up for residents in the area.

The Historic Homes Foundation, Louisville, Kent.

Since 1957, The Historic Homes Foundation has been working to keep history alive through the purchase and preservation of historic homes in Louisville, Kent. The non-profit concerns itself with both the houses and their collections with the goal of keeping these pieces of the past thriving and open to the public.


Williamsburg Revisited: Robert Allen Textiles

The past is reborn thanks to Robert Allen and the Williamsburg Classics line of textiles. The company expands on its first collection of designs created with an eye to the design themes prevalent in colonial Williamsburg, a place in time that has fascinated the nation for generations. The designs for the Williamsburg Classics II group, featured here, dive deeper into what the company calls “the most graceful classic looks of the 18th century.”

Classic Style Lives on in Cecil Beaton Textiles

Sir Cecil Beaton was one of those design luminaries whose reach seemed to know no limits. During his 60 years in the industry he worked as a costume designer, fashion photographer, stage and film designer and diarist. Cecil Beaton Textiles can be found exclusively in the U.S. through Suzan Fellman.

Old Bridge, New Life: Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Company

Since its opening day, the Golden Gate Bridge has stood as an iconic symbol of San Francisco and of the U.S. in general. When a portion was set to actually be removed, one wise entrepreneur stepped in and used that original piece as the basis for an entirely new company: the Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Company.

Art & Enterprise: Handmade Tile from B.A. Schmidt

The term handmade takes on very particular meaning at B.A. Schmidt Arts & Enterprises where every tile is completely handcrafted by artist and company president Barbara Schmidt. Tiles here take their inspiration from historic places as varied as the Golden Age of Fairy Tales, classic literature and the cultural origins of yoga, to name just a few.

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