Surrey Hills: Re-experience English Arts and Crafts

Surrey Hills: Re-experience English Arts and Crafts

[originally posted February 7, 2023]

February marks the arrival of our newest furniture collection, and it’s one that’s especially meaningful to us. The Surrey Hills Collection reaches back to the English Arts and Crafts movement that so deeply influenced Gustav and Leopold Stickley more than 120 years ago, and it combines that movement’s unique craft with materials and techniques that gave birth to Mission furniture in America.

Revisiting Gustav’s Inspiration

It’s well known that Gustav Stickley was a disciple of the English Arts and Crafts creators, particularly the movement’s leading figure, William Morris (1834 – 1896). Stickley Director of Design Marissa Brown and Associate Designer Joe Dunaske needed to look no further than Morris’s own home and work to see how he incorporated nature and craft into every facet of domestic life. His Red House near London, set on land surrounded by trees, incorporated a lush garden and ivy clinging to the red-brick exterior. The interior decoration, largely by Morris, celebrated abundant nature in a style inspired by the medieval artisans he admired. His later wallpaper designs, including Trellis, captured this idyllic sensibility.


Also found inside the Red House is this wonderful window inscribed by Morris with the phrase “Si je puis” (“If I can”)—the French equivalent of Gustav Stickley’s own “Als ik kan”!

Theme and Variations

“For Surrey Hills, I was inspired by the values the British makers instilled in Arts and Crafts. Their sense of experimentation and visible craft are values I still find fresh and modern today.”
– Marissa Brown, Director of Design

A key detail that brings Surrey Hills to life is a trellis-and-vine motif inspired by English gardens and the wider work of Pre-Raphaelite artisans of the period. This laser-cut element, combining a trellis-like grid with dynamic ivy and vines like those surrounding the Red House, creates the sense of organic, visible craft that captured Marissa’s imagination.

This fretwork motif appears extensively throughout the collection. On pieces like bed headboards and occasional tables, the design is open to allow light to show through (the fretwork gallery on the Server with Gallery even includes a dimmable LED backlight). Meanwhile on drawer faces, where contents need to be protected, the design is backed by a wooden panel. You’ll even see a simple open-trellis variation, as shown below on the Accent Chair.


Beloved Construction Details

While the collection’s motifs draw inspiration from English forms, our designers and engineers relied on our own proven Mission techniques to marry the two styles. Quartersawn oak gives each piece strength, longevity, and a distinctive ray-flake grain pattern. Drawers are side-hung and center-guided in the manner championed by Leopold Stickley, so they move easily and last a lifetime. And you see durable mortise-and-tenon joinery throughout, as shown in the keyed through-tenons on the Trestle Dining Table. This striking table also features a row of decorative bow-tie inlay joints down its center—another familiar Mission detail!


We’re thrilled with the way the Surrey Hills Collection brings together the best of British and American Arts and Crafts. It provides a great entry to the Arts and Crafts style for someone who has newly discovered it. And as shown at the top of this post, where Surrey Hills lives alongside the Prairie Settle (one of Leopold Stickley’s most beloved pieces!), it offers a beautiful complement to existing Mission interiors.


Additional sources:

Joe Dunaske, Associate Designer