Much like the Design Library I wrote about several months back, the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library located in High Point, North Carolina, should be on every designer and decorators must-see (and use) list. Founded in 1970 by Sandy and Bernice Bienenstock, the owners of “Furniture World” magazine, the library is a treasure trove of over 4000 works on furniture, architecture, interiors, and construction methods. They hold books dating back to 1640 and include important pieces such as original works by the great furniture makers of the past including Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton.
The subject range actually goes back as far as Ancient Greece and follows the trends and styles all the way up to the modern day. The library is located in a colonial revival house built in 1923 which is also listed with the National Register of Historic Places, so this isn’t the type of library that you’ll run screaming from after an hour buried in the subterranean stacks.
Especially in today’s world where we think everything is available online at the click of a mouse, it’s important to remember just how inspiring it is to leaf through actual printed books for inspiration. Amazingly, this is largely a free resource thanks to the generous funding by the Bienenstock family. And with so many designers now creating custom made furniture for their clients, this is a great place to get your own ideas so that you can knowledgeably work with your decorator honing your style and ideas. I can’t tell you how fab it is to start looking through one book, become inspired by something you see and then be able to completely research the style, materials and designs all in the same beautiful building.
I know the Bienenstock Furniture Library is not exactly on the beaten path, BUT that’s part of the charm and it means that you’re not likely to run into your decorating nemesis who will try to steal your ideas (you know who you are!!). It’s the perfect place to take a respite from the High Point Furniture Show next time you visit the area.
image credits: Bienenstock Furniture Library, High Point, North Carolina