Monterey Furniture

The Monterey Story: Mars and Venus Align

Many things distinguish Monterey, but, to us, one of its most intriguing qualities is how it manages to appeal to both men and women. You might think, oh, of course, the floral decorations are there for the women and the handsome wrought iron touches and hand-hewn quality of the woodwork are obviously masculine in feeling, but in our experience these things appeal equally to both sexes. It is the combination really that does the trick.  And this is very unusual in domestic design. Men accept the different colors and painted scrolls and flowers unhesitatingly and women not only love the look but also, being more practical, appreciate its functionality. And perhaps they also instinctively feel how it sets off their own charm. And, this being California after all, there is an overall romance to Monterey's conception, with its overtones of Arts and Crafts mixed into its Spanish Colonial inspiration. And that has its effect.

And here's the thing: has any furniture brand since Sheraton and Chippendale lent its name to an entire style?

Monterey was generally made from Oregon alder, and the "classic period", from 1930–1932 was painted with a lively Mexican palette toned down with an asphaltum glaze that created the look of antique furniture. Many layers of paint went into the final finish in the Mason line. The colors used were bold: Spanish Red, Spanish Green, Spanish Blue, Straw Yellow. Neutrals had an old antiqued charm in Straw Ivory and Old Wood. In the beginning most pieces had some sort of decorative elements, such as the "river of life," a lively squiggle, or a floral decoration. A Mexican cartoonist signing himself Juan Intenoche is thought to have headed the paint department, and the most valuable pieces of Monterey contain whimsical designs attributed to him,  the donkeys, caballeros, sleeping men under wide hats, cactus and other imagery which are the brand's trademark.

Mason Manufacturing, who produced this for Barker Brothers to their designs and specifications,  branded most of the furniture with a horseshoe and the name, "Monterey," though not all are branded. Smoke from the branding occasionally was too thick for the workers; on those days they simply stopped branding. The company produced furniture for 14 years, and went through the following periods: classic, transitional, and middle.