HOW TO DECORATE WITH ANTIQUES IN A MODERN HOME.
While searching around the internet the other night I stumbled across an article written by a woman thats turned antiques into an online business. It’s called “The Find Antiques”. She goes on to explain on how to integrate antiques into the modern day home without looking stuffy or dated.
While many local designers either don’t know how to do this, or simply don’t care, there are many skilled designers, particularly in the U.S. and Europe that do. Just pick up any Veranda magazine and you’ll see what I mean.
I have many clients complain that their designers are too controlling, and not considering their personal choices. In fact I had one young client who texted a photograph of an antique commode to her designer who nixed the idea but the lady went ahead and bought it anyway.
The lady called me later delighted with her purchase stating the commode absolutely made the room in her contemporary apartment and was so glad she went with her own idea rather than that of the designers. Case in point.
While I have many clients that refuse to buy anything new (other than a sofa or bed) for a multitude of reasons stemming from social consciousness to the pure quality of anything handcrafted 100 years ago, there are others that follow the shortsighted ‘modern only’ trend from what they see on reality TV shows and other forms of media.
“I created The Find Antiques because I want to challenge the stigma surrounding the word ‘antiques’ and all the negative connotations that it evokes in most people – the idea that it means outdated, stuffy, dark brown Victorian furniture, reminiscent of childhood or visiting your grandparents’ house,” says Danielle Rusko of her online business The Find Antiques.
Danielle Rusko (photographed with a sensational French Transitional Commode) owner of The Find Antiques.
It was after working at an antique store in Noosa, Australia, that Danielle was inspired to challenge the perception of antiques. “I want to show people that they needn’t be afraid of antiques as they are still quite functional in their use and not just as decorative items. It is not about having a house full of antiques anymore, but how one or two statement pieces can really add a touch of individualism and add depth and texture to a room,” says Danielle who has worn many hats throughout her career including a stint as an accountant in corporate finance and as a makeup artist (a hat she still wears today).
Beautiful little French Marquetry commode is used as a side table.
“I had been a lover and collector of antiques throughout my twenties and thirties and it was actually whilst stalking my favourite Instagram hashtag #antiques a couple of years ago that I really believed there was an opportunity to create an online store selling antiques,” says Danielle
A lovely little commode from France gives this modern bathroom some warmth and character
“There is no formula to how a room should look. By adding one or two antique or vintage pieces, you can really transform a space and create a romantic and eclectic fusion of interior design that is visually stimulating and appealing. It also helps the antique item by giving it a new lease of life when mixed with the modern and contemporary and creates a dynamic style and special synergy within the home,” says Danielle.
A gorgeous marquetry French Louis XV style bureau plat is featured in this photo.
“I think that we have become a little too seduced by what we see on some reality TV design shows and believe we can’t create a room based on our own style or budget without being ridiculed for it. I personally do not want to live in a ‘same, same’ environment where the interior of my house looks the same as next door,” says Danielle who ships Australia wide and is opening a retail space imminently. “I am in the process of creating my dream showroom in an industrial warehouse in Noosaville which will be a visual utopia of modern and antique,” she says.
Beautiful French Gold Gilt Mirror probably 19th Century gives a touch of bling and glamor to this room.
“When you can touch a piece and see the artistic skill of the marquetry inlay up-close or you open the drawer of a commode and the scent of old wood overwhelms you, that’s tangible. It is my aim to impart the history of craftsmanship, skill, survival and nostalgic stories of the past to evoke an emotional response and connection with the viewer,” says Danielle who will also use the retail space to illustrate how to blend the antique with the modern.
I’m completely in agreement with that. In fact when most of my clients examine the workmanship and quality that went into producing even a vintage piece they comment how the workmanship and quality could never be produced today for the price of an antique.
Danielle’s top five tips for merging antiques with a modern home:
- Don’t be afraid to create a relationship between the old and the new. It helps to bring out the personality of the antique and creates depth and texture to a room that can sometimes look too sterile.
- Most homes have that classic white wall and tiled flooring, so introducing antique cabinets or tables can really add character and personality to a room.
- Use simple form and rich materials in your choice of furniture to create consistency between the older and newer pieces. For example, satinwood is a timber regularly featured in antique furniture and is an great match to complement your more contemporary pieces.
- Use the piece in its functional capacity as it was designed to be used. Sometimes we can be a bit overwhelmed by its age and beauty that we forget antiques still have a practical use. It is hoped that as it has already survived this long with a bit of care and consideration that it will last another 100 or so years.
- Buy with your personality in mind. Antiques range from the exquisite to the quirky to the questionable – including their price point! Buy what feels right for you and resonates with your sense of style. You may like to start off with something small like a lamp or vase and gradually as you begin to become more confident you can incorporate larger more statement pieces, like a beautiful French commode.