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Antique armoire must-have for Baton Rouge home

Louis Phillipe style armoire; first use of mirrors on furniture. (photo: google image)
Louis Phillipe style armoire; first use of mirrors on furniture. (photo: google image)

Let's continue our examination of the styles of antique French armoires as we search local sources for the once piece every Baton Rouge home must possess. While shopping the antiques stores of the Baton Rouge area, look for design elements that complement furnishings you currently own or that you plan to acquire.

Notable because it marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the start of furniture being made in sets, the Louis Philippe era (1830-1848) provided furnishings to many wealthy American homes. Bedroom sets containing armoires do exist and if you find a set, grab it, using the armoire in a different room if needed due to its size. You're looking for rounded shoulders, curved corners and, most notably, the advent of mirrors on armoire doors.

The Second Empire occurred during the rule of Louis Napoleon, Napoleon's nephew (1848-1870), and continues the movement of furniture production away from craftsmen and toward machines. Well-made furniture was becoming even more affordable at this time and Americans continued to purchase. Style notes were imported from other European countries and furniture became more eclectic in general, encompassing elements from the past several hundred years into its design.

Another compilation of styles, the French Belle Epoch (1870-1900) gives us Art Nouveau and other highly decorative, fanciful furniture. Wood species became more varied and less predictable at this time due to political unrest, leading to pieces of mixed wood and some of exotic, lesser-known species.

Make sure you enlist the assistance of the store owner or shop assistant as you browse. These are knowledgeable individuals, usually with a lifetime love of fine furnishings to offer and they are a great resource for historical information and design advice as well.

And, as always, my advice for your new acquisition remains the same: bring it home and use it; don't let it sit untouched. A fine armoire was built to last several lifetimes, add yours to the history of the essential piece for the modern Creole home.