Arts & Crafts Modernism


American Arts & Crafts Oak Book Trough with Pierced Triangular Handles (LEO Design)


In some cases, the Arts & Crafts Movement can be viewed as the early stages of Modernism.  Simplicity of design and an aesthetic of functionality can be seen in many Turn-of-the-Century Arts & Crafts objects—such as the oak book trough, shown above.  

Of course, the Arts & Crafts Movement spanned a wide range of countries and aesthetics (with each contributing a different "vocabulary" of design features and styles).  But the mission of "honest simplicity" which informed the Arts & Crafts Movement was clearly carried-onward throughout the Modernist school.

This "book trough," made of thick planks of oak, is simplicity and elegance itself.  Six screws—three on each side—are the only joinery or decoration to be had, save the handsomely cut away legs and pierced, triangular handles.  A book trough like this was meant to be placed on a desk or side credenza, where one could quickly access a small collection of oft-used reference books.  It would also make a great shelf for cookbooks in the kitchen, a place to highlight a special collection of editions, or next to the bed—to hold the queue of books, waiting to be read.  Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome piece.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248