Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Reader Question for the Community: Reproductions?

Dear Muffy, 
My husband and I have basically the same tastes in interiors, but he is much more satisfied to include reproductions than I am.  I would rather wait for the real thing.  In the long run, I think the knock-offs, especially from the 1940s, drive people towards today's trendy soulless beige aesthetics, or whatever will come next.  What do other people think?


  1. Originals are the way to go — if you can afford them. But to fill those empty places in the house before originals are affordable, I see no problem with furniture reproductions.

    However, display art — paintings, engravings, etchings, etc. — would go better as originals, however obscure the originator. If you like it, hang it and live with it. (After all, every etching and engraving is a reproduction anyway — unless you have the actual copper or steel plate!)

  2. I think it depends on what is being reproduced. A cheap, faux Hans Wegner wishbone chair bought somewhere like Amazon or Overstock would not be a good purchase. But something like a Shaker candle stand made by a modern craftsperson, or an early twentieth century English or American gateleg table, would be worth buying in my book.

  3. Three very active children and two dogs make reproductions essential. Quality second hand reproductions can be found at reasonable prices. If you look carefully furniture from makers such as Biggs, Henkel Harris, Kittinger, Stickley ...etc. are readily available. Well constructed, solid wood, made in America. Having reproductions is less stressful than living with period pieces.


  4. Will second the above opinion. We were lucky enough to inherit Biggs & Kittinger furniture and bought Henkel Harris. Most of it is over 60-70 years old, has worn well and has drawers which actually slide back and forth which is useful. Our few antiques have been in the family for close to 200 years and have some sentimental value - but they aren't particularly functional.

  5. I believe that reproductions of colonial period furniture first appeared around the time of the centennial, which means that some of them are antiques in their own right. If not, they're at least getting on in years.