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Though we often think of sleek lines and minimalist design as something popular in the Mid-Century or 1950s era, there were a number of design styles that came before that time that were stylish and simple.
A furniture maker and architect, Stickley’s designs are distinct, and more than just surface looks.
Mission Style furniture was distinct, with strong characteristics, but also allowed for plenty of unique variation. Stickley was born in Osceola, Wisconsin in 1858, but not much is known of Stickley’s early life. His philosophies about home design were smart, and had a lot of influence on his furniture designs—as well as future designers, like famed Frank Lloyd Wright.
Among the characteristics was that it had to be handmade, simple and functional, crafted from tiger oak, exposed joinery (and without nails), use natural upholstery like canvas or leather, and be made of varnished (never painted) wood.


We know that he first founded an important publication for the Art and Crafts movement in 1901 called The Craftsman, which first reported on the philosophies of the English Arts & Crafts movement. Also known as the Arts and Crafts movement (as well as number of other names), this favorite American movement helped define our nation's design tastes for a short time and continues to influence design. Some of Stickley’s ideas were that a house should be made in harmony with its landscape and with local materials, floor plans should be open, built-in furniture should be included when necessary and artificial light be kept to minimum. One of the most tell-tell sign of a Mission Style piece of furniture is a number of thin, vertical wooden slats on the back or sides of a chair, bed, sofa or other piece. Though some of these ideas first started in Europe, it was picked up by American designers feeling it would be a good match for American tastes. All these ideas led to the creation of  a new type of furniture style between 1900 -1916, called Mission Oak Style, also known as just Mission Style.


Along with a lot of home and furniture designs, Stickley really affected American design for a little while. Though this style of furniture wasn’t hugely popular for a long period of time, many people still enjoy the simple, natural designs of Mission Furniture in their homes today.



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