Next week is the High Point Furniture Market in North Carolina.
For a change, we are driving instead of flying. It is a trip of a thousand miles that will take us several days instead of several hours. Then, I noticed that we are going through Memphis, that’s right, Memphis, Tennessee. Just like Johnny Cash, Memphis, Tennessee. Why, in 1954, Johnny Cash moved to Memphis, where he sold appliances, while studying to be a radio announcer. And yes, was discovered at Sun Records, and where he recorded, Going to Memphis.
Not his most memorable song, but a good one.
If you want to stay in Memphis, then you need go no further than your living room.
That is, if you have the new Memphis sofa by Stickley. Did you see that coming?
It makes a dramatic statement. Rich, distressed leather, specially made in Savoy leather in Royal or Tobacco. A broad six-inch track arm and block feet give it modern lines and a commanding presence, while deep, ultra-plush seat cushions invite you to sink in and stay home.
A mutual acquaintance introduced them, saying you will like him. Athletic, handsome but graying, not pretentious, a good listener is he. The conversation began some minutes before either one spoke, for both Jan and Kirsten looked all around the room, at its simplicity and its emptiness, and in both of their minds their attention kept returning to each other, until sitting side by side they seemed to be one.
The world did not exist outside of this room.
Kirsten spoke first:
“What a perfect night!”
Foolish she thought, regretting her start, but Jan agreed.
Amid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like TRADITIONS HOME
Home Sweet Home
The cold weather, gray and gloomy, still and quiet, got me thinking about staying home, about touching songs and poems about homes.
Home on the Range is popular in Kansas, but it is about being away from home, out on the range, under the stars. Gee Ma, I Wanna Go Home — Kids sang it at summer camp and Dolly Parton gave us a funny version. Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver and Our House by Crosby, Stills, and Nash — both warm the heart. Grandmother’s House, we all sang in unison at Christmas time.
Home Sweet Home is the one we love best, the one that makes us cry.
And here are a few more poems.
Far from the city’s dust and heat, I get but sounds and odours sweet. Who can wonder I love to stay, Week after week, here hidden away, In this sly nook that I love the best– This little brown house like a ground-bird’s nest?
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A perfect home is heaven’s door, It’s built of loving deeds, No angry frown nor biting word Will sow discordant seeds.
No selfish wish nor cruel act, Will in this home be found. No thought of self will have a place, For each to each is bound By ties of love so pure indeed, So helpful, so serene; That door seems portal of high heav’n, Rich treasures there are seen…
Ardelia Cotton Barton
…Restore to me that little spot, With grey walls compassed round, Where knotted grass neglected lies, And weeds usurp the ground.
Though all around this mansion high Invites the foot to roam, And though its halls are fair within — Oh, give me back my HOME!
There’s no place like home, said three times with feeling.
Maybe, it is not so much where you live but how you live.
Eat well, exercise, read books, stay grounded and you are on course for a life that is both satisfying and happy. A glass of wine at the end of the day helps. Then come home to a beautiful home, one designed and furnished by Traditions Home with locations in Wichita and Overland Park.
Isn’t this what you have been looking for?
The Mod Squad at Work
Life has no limitations, except the ones you make. So why go to an ordinary store where you can buy a sofa that comes in a box, twelve deep. For 35 years Traditions Home has been known for three things: having the best brands in house, providing our customers with the capability to custom design their furniture, and friendly expert service.
You don’t get that from a telephone or with a computer click.
Our name says Traditions, but we have kept up with the times. The Mod Squad, Modern Traditions, Eclectic Traditions, or New Traditions might be a better name, but we haven’t changed our name, just our look, Modular sectionals, like the one shown above, provide space planning that previously wasn’t possible. Choose from the best manufacturers, choose the best in soft luxurious fabrics and leathers, then accessorize your home with Art and Decor that we select from around the world.
Experience Traditions Home. In Wichita at Douglas and Hillside. And in Downtown Overland Park in the historic Strang Carbarn.
I confess that I am always curious about the origin of the things.
Yes, I have gotten past the chicken or the egg question (It’s the egg, of course), but other questions go unanswered. Why is the sky blue, the grass green? Why is sand on the beach so small? Why are all babies cute? Why does it rain on weekends?
I can’t answer those questions, but I can tackle the mystery of the Greek Key sofa.
A close cousin and derivative of the Rolled Arm sofa. Blockier, yes, more Geometric, a shape that gives pause. Euclid would have this sofa in his home, but he would call it a couch.
Modern design theory points us to Art Deco, an architectural and decortative arts style that appeared in France before World War I. Art Deco was in turn influenced by Cubism Movement in Art. Painters like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque broke their subjects up into compartments and reassembled them into a unified whole. Indeed, in the Key Arm sofa, the back, the seat, the arms, and the legs are visually separated, but the sofa exists as a complete unit.
But the Greek Key is an ancient pattern.
It is a pattern that when repeated mimics the wandering (one should insert “meandering”) Maeander River of Asia Minor that flows into the Aegean Sea with its many twists and turns. (This raises the question of why rivers meander, but that question is better answered elsewhere.) The essence of the Greek key design is an interlocking rectangular pattern constructed from one continuous line. The ancient Greeks of Achilles day and on often featured it in architectural friezes and pottery vases. The Romans copied the Greek design, and by the 18th century, all of Europe adopted it into their design vocabulary. The individual “key” adds an aura of mystery, the key being associated with a lock, and a lock with a puzzle. Thus, the key opens up a lock, revealing an answer to a puzzle.
One of the benefits of Greek Key is that it adds architectural interest to a room. A room is for the most part consists of lines and right angles. Floors and ceilings, windows and doors, are rectangles. The Greek Key sofa throws a twist into this regularity, offering a puzzle that even Euclid might ponder. The nail head trim featured on the Sherrill 2126 sofa accents this twist.
A look that is sophisticated and modern, if not intriguing.
Okay, from where I am sitting, it is gray and rainy, the weather is cool, the skies are cloudy. It has been that way for a week here in Kansas and will likely remain so for another week.
For Kansas, this is other worldly, Irish maybe, Seattle like, certainly more akin to the rainy, foggy Northwest, maybe Scandinavian gloom, where summer hath too short a stay.
No Camelot, Kansas is known as hot, dry, windy, and droughty, a word we don’t hear too much today.
Ah, but the rain has colored the Flint Hills an emerald green, the prairie flowers of May are in bloom, the Indigo and phlox purple, the tiny thin Spiderwort blue, the Wild Prairie Rose pink, the Mallow, yellow, white, and pink, the Iris, appears yellow along the river banks, and purple in my yard.
Ah, but the loveliest flower of all is the Peony, dressed in pretty pink as if for a party.
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The Grand Rapids Historical Commission claims that in the early 1900s, F. Stuart Foote, president of The Imperial Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan gave it the name. His wife was having a party and needed a place for drinks. Being a good sport, he went to work. “He trimmed the legs of a dining table and named it the ‘coffee table’.”
If true, Stuart was surely not the first one to shorten the legs on a table.
The Chinese and Japanese, for thousands of years, served wine and tea at tables where guests sat on the floor. Indeed, in China and Japan, a house or a room was set aside for tea with nothing else but a mat. That and a low lying table on which to put the teapot. Likewise, for hundreds of years across the Middle East, sultans, like Suleiman the Magnificent, brewed and served Kashmiri tea in polished Samovars set on low slung tables.
Believe It or Not
Believe it or not, tea was not first. The Ottomans also had coffee beans they got from Arabia. The Ottomans roasted the beans over a fire, then finely ground them and gently boiled them in water. They called the drink “kahve”.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. About this time, the president of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, A Conger Goodyear, asked the famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi to design a table for coffee for his Long Island weekender. The base was solid walnut, the top was glass. Again, being honest, it was called Modernist and the Naguchi table, and didn’t go into production until 1947.
Coffee comes to England
Let’s back up.
Great Britain was introduced to coffee in 1637. That is when an unnamed Ottoman Turk brought the drink to Oxford’s colleges. It quickly became popular among students and teachers who established the “Oxford Coffee Club”. It wasn’t too long til it made it to London and the coffee shop.
Tea followed coffee and found its way into England’s coffee shops as a novelty. And because the East India Company was importing it, it became all the rage.
Why not a tea table?
Tea was served in the Queen’s Palace, she was after all, the Empress of India. It was served in high society where tall tables were rolled into a room and set next to a chair. But the ceremony began with the British working man. Beginning in the mid 1700s as an afternoon meal served between 3 and 4 o’clock, taken standing or sitting on tall stools, thus ‘high‘.
Meanwhile in England’s coffee shops, the ones where William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, for the price of a penny, gathered to talk, stools became chairs. So too, in the posh Gentlemens’ clubs of London, they sat on Chesterfield sofas, and that is where I’d put my money on the naming of the table as the “coffee table.”
Visit Traditions Home in Wichita and Overland Park to find the perfect coffee table for you.
We’ve covered a lot, which only leaves the question of what did they call the coffee table before it became the coffee table?
It seems that after dinner when men and women had dined, it was time for the men to talk business, to drink port or brandy, and smoke. Women politely withdrew, and they did to the parlor or living room for coffee and cake.
And coffee was served on a table called the “Withdraw table.” I think.