The first documented wicker pieces were from ancient Egypt. Those ancient Egyptians knew a thing or two about design. Wicker—generally defined as any plant material woven into a useful object—is sturdy and durable, and its homey texture and natural palette make it a wonderful choice for almost any environment. Wicker’s cousin, rattan, made from one of 600 species of a particular type of palm, is a popular furniture choice, and now, bamboo, cane and woven leather are also stirring up the field. With gorgeous designs, polished finishes and a wide range of price points, these weaves have moved out of their traditional environment of the pool or patio into the bedroom, formal rooms and just about any space in your home.
The Belmont armchair, made of espresso-stained wood with basket weave rattan insets, can be upholstered in one of 30 mood-changing colors. The price ranges from $499 to $1,199, depending on the fabric choice, and is available at Pottery Barn, Westfield Southgate, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-5351.
A warm winter day in Florida calls for companionship. Grab a friend and ease into the comfortable, hand-woven vinyl spring high-back rocking love seat, part of the St. Thomas collection from venerable wicker manufacturer Lloyd/Flanders. Available in a truffle or chardonnay finish for $799 at Robb & Stucky Patio, 7501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-8900; and Elegant Outdoor Lifestyles, 1230 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey (941) 966-8702.
Bring the casual comfort of rattan into the bedroom with this showstopping caned bed by contemporary furniture maven Barbara Barry for McGuire. Its modern personality can be altered with finishes ranging from ebony and mahogany to more formal hand-glazed Ming red, mint leaf, vintage ivory and crackled gold leaf. The bed starts at $5,365. Available at Robb & Stucky, 7557 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-2274.
Bali by Brown Jordan’s quietly elegant teak and wicker combination is perfect for a solitary morning with a book or cocktail hour with the neighbors. From $699 to $3,599, available at Robb & Stucky Patio, 7501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-8900.
Berkeley, Calif.-based Oly Studio is a great source for unusual elegance, as embodied in the Hanna sofa. The antiqued white, gold or silver elements and the carved details give it a formality that allows it to easily mix with real antiques. But its modern styling and the materials—raffia and a hemp twill cushion—mean that it will look just as inviting on a sunny covered porch. $4,800. Available from Robb & Stucky, 7557 S. Tamiami Trail, (941) 922-2274; and from Madison Park, 80 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 953-9176.
The Stella wicker sectional by Maine Cottage is sturdy and unfussy, perfect for a living room that will see the flurry of lots of little grandchildren. To spice things up, opt for hot lime, pictured here. The entire sectional costs about $7,850. Available at Robb & Stucky, 7557 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-2274.