commode
5 years ago No Comments

(pronounced kuh-MOHD)

Admit it – when most of us hear this word we think of the toilet, otherwise known as the WC, the john, or the potty. Crude and unappealing images abound. Ironically, though, the word also describes one of the most elegant, refined, and richly ornate pieces of French furniture that there is. This version of a commode is a two- to three-drawer chest standing on four legs. It is usually made out of finely finished wood with a marble top, but it can have surfaces of extensive marquetry and gilt as well. When it was first commonly seen in France in the early 18th Century, it usually had a curved front with striking detailing and hardware, but more linear, less ornamented versions evolved. So why do we refer to the toilet as a commode today? Maybe because chamber pots were hidden in pieces of furniture resembling commodes in the pre-indoor plumbing days. Thank goodness for “modern” technology, eh?

commode.jpg