Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't Settle For Less

As you all know, my style is characterized by white linen upholstered pieces, swedish greys and pale hue french furnishings. Still, every once in a while, a piece that is totally not in line with my usual style, catches my eye. These pieces, to which I refer as "outside my comfort zone", are beautiful in their own right regardless of your style because of their history, their craftsmanship, and the amazing quality of the original wood (with or without all of its imperfections) or carvings or finish.

Such is the case of an English Settle that I came across recently. For those of you (like me) who are unfamiliar with what a "settle" is, a settle is an English piece. Wikipedia defines one as follows:

Resembling an un-upholstered sofa, a settle is a bench on which around three to four persons can be comfortably seated. This furniture item is usually made of wood and is built for strength and durability. With a high back and armrests at the ends, this seating accessory places high importance on comfort. This piece of furniture has been in use since medieval times and was usually placed near the fireplace in elaborately-decorated living rooms. Made of oak and other types of high-quality wood, the settle has been part of the interior décor of many households. The legs, armrests and the back of the settle usually sported intricate wood carvings and filigree work, rendering it with an air of sophistication. The settle was one furniture item that was equally at home in all the rooms of the house and judiciously fitted into the overall ambience of the room. The settle, being a Victorian-era furniture item, has now become a collector’s item. The carving as well as the overall design of the settle is not seen in many furniture items of today — this being one of the reasons for the public interest in this seat today. Settles come in varied shapes and sizes. The polish of the wood is done with attention to detail, ensuring that the settle is a furniture item that can be treasured.

Here are examples of antique "settles":

Love the British pillows on this one!

So having become familiar with the beauty and usefulness of the English "settles," imagine my surprise and delight when I ran across one that was a combination settle, biblioteque, and dining nook all in the same. This gorgeous settle, c. 1820, is carved of oak and is a semi-fixture, designed to fit into the inglenook of a large farmhouse or country house or beach house, with the panelled end facing into the room and the panelled back forming a wall alongside the doorway.

Look at the ingenuity of this settle.

At an impressive size of 7 ft. 4 in. long and 80 in. tall, this settle could make a stunning addition to a large kitchen or family room.

The bench seat lifts to reveal storage for blankets or pillows or kitchen linens.

The paneling on the inside panels are all hand carved out of the wood.

Biblioteques or bookshelves on either side would be great for cookbooks.

These carvings could have been a family crest.

But this is the part that surprised me the most:

A small table folds down from the back panel to create a cozy breakfast, lunch or dinner or even a conversation over wine nook. Is this clever or what?

And to finish it off, the back is as beautiful as the front...

This is a gorgeous antique home that I could see in a lovely home. Because of its magnificent size and presence, it is a piece that would stand alone in a room with little around it.

For additional information on this English Antique piece or to purchase, please contact me at


  1. Dear Karina,as a dealer in antiques and decorative art for 50 years and having seen many settles, this is the most wonderfull piece.

    I am sure it will be snapped up by someone who sees its potential Beverley.

  2. Dear Beverley, thanks so much for your comment. How are you? Are things settling down a bit in the aftermath of Yasi?

  3. Leave it to you to find the uniquely beautiful and rarest of antiquities. This is something that I have never seen before! I loved reading the story behind these can only imagine its origins and the stories it holds!!

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  5. absolutely gorgeous. You are so right about finding a piece "outside your comfort zone" Not too long ago I did the same thing with a coffee / end table set. You can read about my find at the link below and I invite to to follow my blog as well.

    Kind Regards,

    Jennifer in Vancouver


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