Yakima Valley Museum
Victorian Dining Room, ca.1900

Victorian taste from the 1860s through the early 1900s resulted in a style in home furnishings that was elaborate and lush.  Rooms were painted in intense colors and filled with as much dark, heavy furniture as they could hold.  All flat surfaces were covered with a variety of both useful and purely decorative objects.

The centerpiece of the room is the carved oak dining room set.  The Browns bought it in 1900 on a trip to Italy.  When it arrived at the Seattle dock, they needed a team of six draft horses to haul the massive set to their newly-built house.

The dining room in the Victorian Dining Room exhibit is based on the one used by the Amos Brown family in their West Seattle home.

Although the pieces were probably made between 1885 and 1900, the designs and figures imitate those found in French Burgundian furniture from the second half of the 16th century.  According to Brown family history, the carving was done by the Giovanni brothers, whose ancestors had carved the altar for the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, and took five years to complete.  The dark, rich finish of the wood was obtained by fuming, a process in which ammonia fumes are used to oxidize pigments in the wood.

The dining room set came to the Yakima Valley with the Brown’s daughter Anna when she married Howard B. Ames and moved to a ranch in Selah.  It was donated to the Yakima Valley Museum in 1960 by Mrs. Ames and her daughter, Patty Ames Hall, after their move to California.

Danish Modern Dining Room, ca.1960

The Danish Modern living room exhibit on the left, Felicia Holtzinger in the original 1960 living room at right.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the trend in both architecture and home furnishings was to simple, clean lines without much ornamentation.  In addition, especially in West Coast states, Asian influences began to appear.

Danish Modern furniture was popular because of its plain, slightly curvilinear style.  This teak dining room set was designed by Hans Wegner and made in Denmark.  It was purchased in 1960 from local interior decorator Carl Braune by Felicia Holtzinger, who used it in her Yakima home for many years.

The Japanese folding screen and all the items you see on the dining table were bought by her in Tokyo, where she lived from 1957 to 1960.

 

 

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