These new furniture collections combine creativity with craftsmanship and style.


With names like Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, and even Elvis Presley appearing on everything from sleeper sofas to writing desks, it's not surprising that the furniture industry has begun to examine the way it brands its products. "My immediate thought is, 'What credentials do these people have?'?" explains Bernhardt furniture company CEO and Chairman G. Alex Bernhardt Sr., whose 116-year-old firm established its own partnership with Martha Stewart two years ago. Although an alliance with the domestic diva makes perfect sense, some of the others might give furniture shoppers reason to pause. "I assume the logic is to latch onto a star with high name recognition," says Bernhardt. "But for me, it falls apart unless there is some credibility behind the name."

To counteract this celebrity craze, many furniture makers are now looking to interior decorators and designers - some well known, others not so - to create collections that bring both credibility and craftsmanship back into American homes. Inspired by everything from foreign antiques and modern sculpture to the glamour of old Hollywood, these designers are trained to understand the essential components necessary to create the most comfortable living spaces. And unlike others who simply trade in celebrity, the newest names in furniture design are all about style and substance, regardless of whether you're buying on a binge or on a budget.