Martha's Faux Bois Collection
I amassed quite an assortment of early-20th-century concrete faux-bois furniture after I bought my house in Maine more than a decade ago. I thought that using this heavy, unusual, rustic, artisanal furniture would add a touch of whimsy to the rather formal arrangements of the mostly English antiques found throughout the house. The house itself was constructed from blocks of hand-cut pink granite quarried on site, and the faux bois reiterated the handcrafted look of the architecture.
When I started collecting, I found most of the pieces at antiques shows -- such as the New York Botanical Garden show in May and the Lexington Avenue Armory Garden Antiques Show (which now takes place in Chicago) -- and at several Maine, Connecticut, and New York dealers, including Bob Withington in York, Maine, and John Rosselli and Judith and James Milne in New York City. I bought planters, chairs, benches, luncheon tables, and stands.
Placed throughout the house and on the terrace, they did make the decor feel less formal. They also became serious conversation pieces. I will never forget the look on a young child's face when she tried to move a small side chair up to the Scrabble table and discovered that she could not budge it!