There’s always something interesting to discover at the Historic Home Show, an annual event in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, dedicated to the restoration, renovation, and furnishing of traditional and historic houses. For me, this year’s find was D.R. Dimes & Company, an exhibitor from Northwood, New Hampshire, that specializes in crafting museum quality reproduction American and, more recently, English furniture in cherry, oak, and tiger maple. Founded in 1964 by Douglas Richard Dimes, and now run by his son, Douglas P. Dimes, the company also makes custom kitchens and built-in cabinetry, crafted to the same high standards as their reproduction furniture. Here are some examples of their splendid work.
The settee, which evolved in the 18th century, is an expanded version of the classic Windsor chair. D.R. Dimes produces several historically informed versions of these two- or three-person seats, but one that particularly appeals to me is their Philadelphia low-back settee, which is copied from an original in Independence Hall. (As a noted authority on Windsor chairs, Douglas R. Dimes had unusually free access to the very finest examples in museums and historical institutions.) Made of cherry, and available in several attractive finishes, the settee’s plain-spoken elegance, beautiful proportions, and compact form make it suitable for today’s residential interiors, even space-challenged ones like my Manhattan apartment.
D.R. Dimes also produces a collection of English-style furniture such as a handsome William & Mary period cabinet that’s been adapted for use as an entertainment center. Available in cherry, oak, or tiger maple, it’s more of a free reinterpretation of the late-17th-century style than an accurate reproduction of a specific historical piece. The cabinet, which has bi-fold doors with raised panels, is mounted on an open stand with carved barely-twist legs—a very characteristic detail of the period—and a pot-board shelf, which could be used for decorative objects or a pair of speakers. With an opening almost four feet wide, the cabinet is large enough for a generous-size HDTV.
In 2005, about the time Douglas P. Dimes took over from his father as president and chief designer, the company expanded its services into the design and construction of custom kitchens and built-in cabinetry. The company has really mastered the art of adapting authentic early American furniture styles for use in modern kitchens. One of their most popular styles is the Lane kitchen, a combination of stained-cherry and white-painted cabinetry that the company first developed on a custom installation. The homeowner, after whom the style is named, worked very closely with the company on the design, which features such distinctive touches as a six-piece corner cupboard and an island that incorporates a turned-leg tavern table.