Plantation Homes, Houses, & Mansions
by J. Frazer Smith
Paperback: 256 pages
"Plantation Houses and Mansions of the Old South"
Plantation life symbolizes an era of gracious living, of romance, of fine ladies and softly spoken southern gentlemen. Plantation life was the epitome of the colonial era, whether in the Deep South of America, or on the tropical islands of the West Indies. Often of aristocratic lineage, the class-conscious plantation holders made their fortunes in sugar, cotton or tobacco, and knew how to enjoy life to the full.
Mansions in the Greek Revivalist style featured wide verandahs, imposing pillars, and massive entrance halls, and were surrounded by entire villages of outhouses and quarters. To match these impressive dwellings, British Colonial plantation furniture of this period evolved to suit a gracious tropical lifestyle. Inside plantation homes, bare walls, ornamented ceilings and heavy mantels characterized rooms that were sparsely but elegantly furnished, giving an impression of both space and style.
Plantation style furniture is a blend of the formal European styles of the era with the native carving and weaving skills of the tropics. Finding the traditional woods either unavailable or unable to withstand the tropical climate, Colonial furniture makers turned to heavier, denser, darker woods that were readily available, such as mahogany, teak and ebony. Although following the general styles of contemporary European furniture, such as Chippendale or Regency, colonial Plantation furniture was richly carved with native motifs, and often had wicker or cane insets.
Living areas were spacious, and were furnished with lightweight, elegant and highly polished pieces. Tall four-poster beds were popular in the bedroom, with narrow, tapering posts supporting a mosquito net rather than the more formal bed hangings. The patio was the focal point of Plantation life, and Plantation patio furniture was built for comfort. Here the native influence was most clearly seen. Woven rattan Plantation patterns patio furniture with comfortable, padded cushions in tropical colors furnished wide verandahs. Plantation patterns outdoor furniture was substantial, and included settees, deep chairs, tables and ottomans.
Plantation decor contrasts dark woods with soft, bright colors. Walls are painted in cool colors to offset the tropical heat. Shuttered windows, flowing curtains and either formal or native accessories are added to formal furnishings for unique Plantation style decor.
American Furniture Plantation style is manufactured by many high-quality furniture manufacturers of today. Habersham Plantation furniture takes its name from the county of Habersham in the Deep South, and specializes in quality handcrafted pieces. Padma Plantation furniture produces patio furniture in tropical Plantation styles.
Plantation homes capture the romance and elegance of a bygone era. This style of decoration is becoming increasingly popular with interior designers and homeowners alike. Symbolic of an era of leisure and appreciation of the finer things in life, Plantation style decor offers an escape from the stresses and toils of modern-day living. "Plantation Houses and Mansions of the Old South" is a fine exploration of the plantation style.
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