Skip to main content

Antiques in your Decor, Keep it Looking Fresh


When you collect antiques, regardless of the style, it is important to keep your space from looking like a museum. The easiest way to do this is by mixing pieces from a couple different time periods and throwing in a contemporary piece or two. Shape, texture, scale and light are the keys to making it work.
There is little that is contemporary in the above photo except a quartz crystal candle holder and the bamboo mat, yet I find the photo, (taken spur of the moment last month,) fresh, and not at all dowdy.  The chair on the left, is from the early 1820s and the canape' the dog is lying on..from the 1700s. It is easy for furniture this age to look tired and as a result the beauty of the craftsmanship often becomes lost. Furniture of this sort is in my opinion, art, but it was never created to be in a museum, it was meant to be lived with. Surrounding oneself with beauty is an important part of life.
So, to keep my tiny space from looking like a museum, I added a small mid century Moroccan table with a brass base that echoes the shape of the Louis XVI legs on the furniture, the texture of the base also echoes the carving on the furniture while the marble top gives more texture and a depth of light due to it's luminous quality. In addition, the marble top is round, which harmonizes with the curves of the furniture. Marble was often used with Louis XVI furniture originally and I consider marble to be a timeless element.
On top of the table, the  mid century cherub candelabra whose gilding time has worn away in various places, reveals the same brass as the table base and the crystals bring refracted light. The quartz crystal candle holder and the cut glass vase also refract the light and add texture. Lastly, and equally important...contemporary books with fresh flowers always bring things into the moment.
Nearby, a 21st century Philippe Stark accent chair, made in Italy by Kartel and inspired by Louis XVI originals sits against a wall, draped in a stunning vintage kidskin dyed ruby red. It holds contemporary books and a 19th century dog pattern pillow.
 The antique tribal persian rug underneath repeats the colors, and the coarse wool adds contrast to the satiny hide and glossy chair.
This may all sound too academic but the concept is simple, just think.. shape, texture, scale and light. And remember when adding contrasting shapes and textures to think, 'same but different'. You want some sort of unifying element, be it color, shape, pattern, or texture.
Modern art is also an easy way to keep your antiques from looking 'old'. The rule works whether you have a pale color palette or a multi hued one.This photo from designer Karina Gentinetta is a perfect example.
 In addition to her painting, the texture is repeated in the coral, the roccoco frame and sisal rug. She is using a luminous marble topped table and silver as her metal .The window is not burdened with a heavy window treatment and light is reflected from the crystals on the wall sconce. All of this keeps the look from being dated.
Are you seeing how easy it is to keep your antiques and vintage furniture from looking like something from grandma's house?
Putting a little thought into the mix can really bring out the beauty of your antiques as they are seen in a whole new context.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Antique Wardian Cases

When I moved into my present city apartment, a mere 680 square feet,  Things had to serve a purpose. No longer could this antique wardian case hold trinkets for display, it had to be functional. So I gave up a rather large chunk of my micro kitchen to grow fresh herbs. I figure it is a fair trade off. I have a full spectrum vita light shining on the plants and they seem to do quite well in there.
I adore wardian cases, terrariums and the like.
They were a fixture in the Palace of Versailles like the one above, and later the Victorians made great use of them when it was discovered that they could successfully transport rare species of plants home from  around the globe. I thought I would share some pinned photos of various styles..


Imitation cases are usually zinc and plexiglass ,like this one I spotted at a local market.


You can tell the age of a real one by the thickness and color of the glass.The glass will most often be 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch. They are always quite heavy. Antique …

How to Make a (tres chic) Fromage Blanc

This lovely concoction is a  basic fresh white cheese , otherwise known as Fromage Blanc, made into a dessert cheese by adding a pear infused balsamic vinegar reduction and pairing it with fruit, chocolate and cajun spiced pecans. The fromage blanc is from an old New Orleans recipe a friend living on Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville told me about several years ago.
It is relatively simple to make from milk, no special equipment or ingredients are needed, yet it will definitely impress whomever you serve it to. Fromage Blanc can be made in a variety of textures. It can be made with low fat milk if you so desire, and it can be a dessert cheese like that above or a comfort food like the creamy herb cheese I made here.


The preparation is so easy, here is how:
You will need-
1 qt.milk, raw or store bought but make sure it is not ultra pasteurized (regular pasteurization is fine)
1 cup buttermilk
11/2 tbls. strained juice from fresh lemons or limes
1/2 tsp salt, I prefer pink salt
a stain…

Antique Dealers Secret and Essential Oil Candles

Have you ever walked into one of the really big high end antique shows and noticed a distinct fragrance? That  wonderful fragrance isn't there to entice you to buy. It is there to keep insects out of the priceless furniture.  Having antiques in a show exposes them to potential insect infestation much like taking your dog to the dog park increases his risk of fleas. Some dealers still depend on citronella candles but the past decade or so, high end sellers have developed some lovely fragrances of their own that keep away pests.
My favorite combinations are bergamot vetiver, patchouli lemon, and lavender cedarwood. All of those combinations repel pests and smell fabulous. I use these scents at home because living in the South, well, we have a lot of bugs. Woodworms have damaged more antiques than you can imagine. Spiders also love old wood. And please, let's not even talk about moths..they can reduce a wool rug to dust in less than a week and are the bane of fine antique uphols…