Black Forest Design

201011_freiburgForestIn Germany, in the town of Baden-Wurtenburg is a wooded mountain range commonly known as The Black Forest. The name derived from the dense growth of conifer trees that grew in the forest, therefore blocking most of the sunlight from entering.

thOver the years, the locals have come to be famous for their wood carving abilities. These wood carvings are now a very popular source of souvenirs for tourists, the most famous of all being Cuckoo Clocks.

DSC00370The above clock was purchased at an auction. I was amazed at the detail work. The antlers are carved from ivory;

DSC00371as are the numbers and hands on the clock

DSC00381With Black Forest carving, several motifs are commonly used. Bears, Deer, Edelweiss leaves, branches, and Hunting and Game motifs as seen on the bottom of the clock.


Because our weekend escape is a log cabin, it was very fitting to incorporate a lot of Black Forest pieces when planning the decor. I wanted to have more of a “Swiss Chalet” feel, so it was while doing my research that I discovered the beauty of these pieces.

black_forest_germanyThis is a very typical building style for the region as this version of a Black Forest Cabin built with logs and a thatched roof.

So charming!

800px-Vogtsbauernhof_kleinIn my search for pieces to use, I realized how very expensive they are and rightfully so. Such works of art take a lot of time to craft. To achieve such detail while carving takes a lot of time.

The carving is not just limited to small pieces. Entire rooms have been created by craftsmen including the walls, ceilings, chandeliers and furnishings. A beautiful example is the Restaurant Schwarzwaldstube (German for Black Forest), where there is a seven month wait for a reservation.

Although-there-is-a-more-modern-looking-section-there-also-intricate-wood-carvings-and-panelling-in-the-restaurant.Stateside, in Miami, is the Cruz Building, which hosts large events and conventions. One area of the building is also done in the Black Forest Style. The hand carving in both places is simply stunning!

38My cabin pales in comparison to the work shown here, but in my travels I have managed to find my own little treasures. All may not be true or authentic Black Forest pieces, but to achieve the look can be affordable. So many home catalogs now sell reproduction pieces and the cost can be kept down because they are made from molds and synthetics instead of hand carved wood. A fun example is this bench, a birthday gift to me from my husband. Two bears hold the seat and to see it in person, one would never know it’s not wood.

DSC00367Over this bench I hung a mirror, which is also made from a composite. Birds and leaves adorn the edges, and it too looks just like wood. (The reflection in the mirror is the front Dutch door and it’s original strap hinges, purchased at a salvage yard.)

DSC00368This charming clock was found at a junk store and was very inexpensive. I loved the fact that someone’s elderly relative had lovingly carved it and even managed to find the metal deer statue attached to the top.

DSC00363This particular clock was a gift to me from my mother in law. I love how simple it is and of course because it has horses. She knows me well!

I have surrounded it with a bunch of real ancestors.

DSC00365This bookcase is a fine example of a furniture piece from the region. Again, the carving is so meticulously done and photos don’t do it justice. I just love all the oak leaves and acorns.

Black_forest_arms_cabinet_01Another collection that was started by accident was picture frames that incorporated the Edelweiss leaves. These are very common, easy to find and not expensive.

DSC00372As you can see, they don’t even have to hold a picture. Hanging them empty works just as well.

Old needlepoint House Blessings are fun to hunt for.


Detail of the frames..

DSC00376This piece I found in a little antique store. I assume it was meant to house a clock, but I plan to hang a pocket watch in it.

DSC00377In the same shop was this sweet match holder that hangs over my oven.

DSC00366A moose head towel holder is made from metal

DSC00380For my mantel, I used leftover wood from the house and attached pre-carved moldings. Aged metal strap hinges on the corners gave me the look of a true hand carved piece.

DSC00383For my husband, I found this real carved wood humidor. The detail is incredible including the brass hardware.

DSC00378Of course, what sold me was the detail on the top!

DSC00379In my research, I happened to come across a photo of what may have been then inspiration for this carving.

In the Black Forest area of Germany are horses that are native to the area. They are appropriately named the “Black Forest Horse” or “Pferdeschitte”

They are mostly black with the flaxen mane and tail as shown in this photo.

743px-Schwarzwaelder-hengstAs always, I seem to be able to sneak my horse passion into whatever I write about!


2 thoughts on “Black Forest Design

  1. Hi, Great pictures! I want a cabin so bad so I can decorate like that!
    I was wondering if you knew how much the cuckoo clock went for at auction? I have one that’s very similar, just a little less ornate. My clock face looks the same with ivory numbers as well. I bought mine at a garage sale, but have never ha it appraised.


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