Antique Interior Design Ideas

Marie Antointettes Personal Theatre being Restored.

Marie Antoinette’s personal theatre is being restored to its former glory

The 241-year-old Petit Théâtre de la Reine, which only gives performances once every two years, is being lovingly restored by a conservation team at Versailles

Before the French Revolution that ultimately led to her untimely death, Marie Antoinette was a great lover of the dramatic arts. After her coronation in 1774, her husband, King Louis XVI, put the royal in charge of organising entertainment for the court and, it is said, the last Queen of France regularly put on plays in the gallery of the Grand Trianon and the orangery of the Petit Trianon.

Four years into her reign, however, she grew tired of the temporary stages that were knocked together for her performances. So, in 1778, Marie Antoinette commissioned architect Richard Mique to build her a real theatre.

Hidden away amidst the foliage of the Château de Versailles gardens, the Petit Théâtre de la Reine was completed in spring of 1780, and quickly became Marie Antoinette’s private refuge away from court protocol. It was here, in 1785, that she gave her own last performance on stage, as Rosine in The Barber of Seville in front of its author, Beaumarchais.

At the time of the Revolution, the theatre was deemed worthless and lay empty until Napoleon Bonaparte took possession of it in 1809, adding to its interior a neo-Roman imperial box in the shape of a military tent and new wallpaper adorned with his emblematic bees. Then came Louis-Philippe, who gave the theatre a new 19th-century red velvet look complete with crystal chandeliers, then Napoleon III and the Second Empire. Sadly, by the end of the Great War the theatre had fallen into a state of disrepair.


Antiques and Interiors for 2018

According to some of the top designers in the world Antiques are becoming more popular than ever before.  There’s been a resurgence in the so called ‘brown furniture’ meaning such styles as Victorian, Georgian, as well as the classic French styles.

Why, because people are becoming a little bored with the overabundance of mass produced rubbish that not only disposable but detrimental to the environment.

Designers are anchoring modern looks with a fabulous antique to give the look charm and focus that might otherwise be lost in a monochromatic design.

According to Mark Hill from Designcurial in London

‘The only rule for 2018 is that all rules are off,” reckons Mark Hill, fellow author and another expert on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. “We buy antiques today because they appeal immediately to our eyes and hearts, and then they enrich our minds.  Before, interiors were strictly defined – from the Georgian dining room to the ubiquitous ‘shabby chic’ French country look.”

What exactly does this mean for interior design? “Eclecticism,” Mark argues, “is the new minimalism – mixing and matching seemingly disparate pieces together to build a unique and individual look that defines you. Quirky is cool.  1970s Italian goblets on a sideboard from the 1790s?   A collection of Victorian transfer-printed and guilt plates arranged asymmetrically on a stark chalk-white wall?  Why not?”

Antique Warehouse carries an extensive collection of french, england and belgium antiques and ships to the USA and worldwide.  Visit our website for a full list of our current french antique inventory.

Mark Hill, Antique and Collectable Expert, formerly of Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

Then again, he does see some trends coming through in 2018 in this new world where there are ‘no rules’. “Bold forms, or richness in terms of colour and pattern, layered against a strong colour, are on trend.  Also, watch out for the return of what is inadequately descried as ‘brown furniture’.  I’m seeing more and more buyers returning to Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian furniture”.

“There’s also a rise in interest in pieces that show the hand of the craftsman,” he continues, giving the examples of a “sparkling cut glass vase, or a wonderfully weathered piece of folk art.  Our eyes have been assailed for too long with mass-produced, machine-made rubbish lacking in soul!”

We couldn’t agree more. We’ve seen a rise in popularity that’s increasing globally. In fact, it’s more difficult then ever to source great pieces at formerly reasonable prices.

Here at the Antique Warehouse we’re shipping more and more to the four corners of the world than ever before.

Antique Warehouse carries an extensive collection of french, england and belgium antiques and ships to the USA and worldwide.  Visit our website for a full list of our current french antique inventory.

Old Georgian Home Wood World Globes Study Antique

But this new trend is hardly new from where we stand.  We’ve seen this going on here at the Antique Warehouse for the past few years. Good stand alone pieces with quality and substance are always in demand. We curate our collection carefully based on this.

Thanks for reading.

Mark LaFleur




French Armoires…More Than Just a Closet.

In the past, Armoires were usually relegated to the bedroom of the house. In France, they’re still used just about everywhere you go. Of course, France is saturated with character homes that can date back several centuries still with the original furnishings intact. You’re guaranteed one of these beautiful Armoires in every bedroom of these residences if they were built before the 20th Century.

Typical South of France Maison.

Typical South of France Maison.

But Armoires in France aren’t restricted to houses or bedrooms. In French homes you’ll see Armoires used in any room where storage and decorative appeal is required. Like this photo below of an elegant Parisian apartment. Not only does it provide much needed storage but the decorative element is undeniable. (I also LOVE the floors).

Louis XV Style Armoire

The beautiful white distressed Louis XV style Armoire is not only decorative but a wonderful storage unit. We sell many Armoires at the Antique Warehouse.

Here in North America, buy a home or apartment and you’re almost guaranteed a built in closet. It may be the size of a postage stamp, but a newly constructed residence will always have one.

Although closets could occasionally be found in North America, they didn’t come into common use until after World War II. Today they’re viewed as a basic necessity, like indoor plumbing, and it can be quite a nuisance if you’re in an old house that’s missing one.

Not only do french armoires provide capacious storage and fantastic versatility, but their design impact is just what’s needed when you want to add some elegance and interest to an otherwise characterless room.

Painted French Armoire

A painted French armoire can give a lightness and a focal point of interest in any modern construction.

Not only does an armoire provide storage, but it’s a high-impact decorating tool. Although armoires were originally used in the 16th century for storing weapons (thus the name armoire, from the old French armarie), by the 17th century their use was expanded to include the storage of clothing and linens. This exemplary old French version is used classically in a bedroom. Its imposing presence grabs your attention and sets the tone.

Louis XV Painted Armoire

This beautiful Louis XV painted armoire is one of the nicest designs around.

And speaking of setting the tone, the elegant and ornately carved French Armoire can look sensational in a dining room. Paired with a French crystal chandelier the look creates a refined atmosphere that would make any hostess feel like she’s entertaining in Paris. You can put anything in those armoires, be it table linens, a bar, collections of dishes and crystal, a stereo playing cool jazz, classical or cool ambient tehcno.

Carved French Armoire


One of the nice things about these elegant pieces of furniture is that they are usually made to completely disassemble. (not always the case with Armoires from England) The doors lift easily off the hinges, the crown and base are usually separate pieces, and the sides and back will come apart in many sections.

Empire Armoire

the Empire armoire the man is taking apart for shipment to us will completely disassemble into about 10 or more pieces. You can see another armoire Louis XV in the background almost completely apart.

Small Armoires

Small Armoires look wonderful in the bathroom and provide much needed storage space.

Elements of Armoires can be used for a multitude of purposes. I personally took the doors off one armoire and replaced regular boring closet doors in an entry way in my home with a pair of walnut Louis XV doors. The look is fabulous and everyone remarks on their beauty. I didn’t refinish them either preferring to the leave the rich tonal qualities of the highly french polished walnut.

I found the below photo on the internet where a contractor had taken an armoire or buffet or French cabinet and created ‘cabinet facings’ in a kitchen. (see below). The look is splendid and rich!

Kitchen Cabinetry

Imagine the cost if you tried to have this custom made today.

In another example of adaptability, here an antique armoire has been expertly incorporated into bedroom closet storage. It definitely adds warmth and character.

Armoire Storage Closet


Storage Armoires

Look how much storage these armoires have. I’ve even retrofitted these pieces to fit big screen TV’s. This particular designer reversed the placement of the doors so they remain open and the decorative ‘fronts’ remain exposed.

Louis XIII Walnut Armoire

Look how interesting this Louis XIII walnut armoire looks in this modern environment. There’s no beams, crown mouldings, or chandeliers in this space. The interest and charm is created by the use of a few antiques.

Clearly armoires, be they French, English, Spanish or otherwise clearly have a multitude of uses. The idea is to decide where you’d like to incorporate these wonderful pieces into your home. Visit us in person or online and see the selection we carry here at The Antique Warehouse Vancouver. We ship anywhere!

Thanks for reading!

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, BC


email: [email protected]

How to Mix Wood Tones

It is good news that the days of matching dining and bedroom sets is long gone, but many people are still afraid to mix multiple wood finishes in a single room. Don’t be. Allowing various wood tones to coexist, just like the many types of trees in a single forest, can create a more interesting and textured look. Here are some guidelines for successfully mixing it up without letting it get so out of hand that you feel like tossing your mismatched wood grains into a pile and lighting a fire.

Pick a dominant wood tone

The easiest way to pick a dominant wood tone is by choosing your floors. (If you are a renter and your floors have chosen you, work with what you have because the floor will set the tone for the rest of the room.)

The kind of wood finish you choose for your floor is a matter of personal taste and budget. Do you like dark-stained matte floorboards? Honey-toned oak with a glossy finish? Blond maple? Pickled oak with an aged whitewashed look? A new finish can radically change the feeling of a room, but it’s also a major investment, so pick something that you feel comfortable living with for years to come.

If you have concrete, rubber, or carpeted floors, choose a wood tone for larger furniture pieces as a starting point and add more tones as desired.

Pair similar (but not matching) tones

Medium-toned woods that don’t match but complement one another create a harmonious look. You can also use natural or unfinished woods to craft an organic and rustic feeling. Whitewashed elements add an airy effect, while dark-stained furniture lends contrast and a sense of groundedness. Incorporating too much of the same wood tone results in a static feeling, making it hard for individual pieces to stand out.

Limit your wood tones to two or three to start

The French love pairing white dining French chairs like the one above with a mahogany dining table. You can see from this small example of how interesting the white and mahogany contrast works. We've been advocating the mix for years!

The French love pairing white dining French chairs (like the one above) with a red or brown mahogany dining table. You can see from this small example of how interesting the contrast looks. We’ve been advocating the mix for years!

Limit your mix to two or three wood tones in the beginning, and try to balance them throughout the space for a harmonious look. Once you have your anchor pieces in place, you can experiment by swapping out a walnut coffee table for a distressed-wood piece or adding a driftwood lamp or a bamboo pendant light for another layer of interest. In a kitchen with a wooden floor, you might combine maple cabinets with rustic pine floors or glossy oak floors with a matte walnut island. If the tones of a chair, table, sideboard, or trunk don’t work in your space, consider painting the piece for a more neutral effect.


We love the look of the Victorian mahogany chairs paired with a simple farm table. Nothing fussy or boring about this room.

We love the look of the Victorian mahogany chairs paired with a simple farm table. Nothing fussy or boring about this room.

If your gorgeous antique mahogany table looks too harsh on your new bamboo floor, use a rug to create a landing pad and a smoother transition. The same is true when you want to lend the room a sense of contrast or help set off the lines of furnishings that might be lost against the backdrop of a similarly toned wood floor.

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, BC.

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Hyatt Regency in Cologne Loves Antiques

In the ultra chic 5* Hyatt Regency in Cologne Germany we spotted this beautiful 19th Century farm table in the entrance foyer of the business class lounge. We’ve always said it…antiques in an ultra modern interior work beautifully. Evidently the designers of this hotel thought so too!

A beautiful 19th Century Farm table graced the foyer of the business class lounge at the 5* Hyatt Regency in Cologne Germany

A beautiful 19th Century Farm table graced the foyer of the business class lounge at the 5* Hyatt Regency in Cologne Germany

Happy Holidays!

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
Vancouver, Canada.

Christmas Inspirational photos and more

My apologies for not blogging for many weeks now but things have been super busy.  I’ve just returned from France on a six week buying trip and have chocker blocked 2 full jumbo containers full of wonderful French things.  From 17th Century Antiques to present day Decorative bits.  The first container is slated to arrive towards the end of November (fingers crossed). In any event, please see below some inspirational photos I have collected over the past few months.  All Christmas decorations from the simple to the sublime!  If any of you have beautiful Christmas photos please send them along. I’d love to see them!Christmas Antique Interior Dining Room

Art Nouveau Doorway in Paris

Nothing particularly Christmasy about this photo except that I love it. Fabulous Art Nouveau at its best in Paris.

Christmas Dining Room with a French Buffet, Mirror and chair peaking out

I like this photo because a French Buffet, Mirror and chair are peaking out from the left side of the photo. And oh, the tree’s nice too!

Peacock topping a Christmas tree

That’s a peacock on top of that tree!

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

We have chairs like these at the Antique Warehouse

All White Christmas Tree and Interior Design

Not particularly fond of ‘all white’ environments…but this tree is especially pretty.

Lanterns and Christmas StockingsBeautiful Antique Interior Design with ChandelierChristmas FireplaceIcy Wreath Christmas Designs

Charlie Brown Christmas

I LOVE the non cultivated tree. It reminds me of Christmases as a little kid when those ‘perfect’ trees weren’t invented and everyone had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Christmas Decorated Living RoomChristmas Decorated Living RoomPeacock Wreath Around a Doorframe

Antiques for your Bathroom?

Antiques for your bathroom?  Yes indeed!  Antiques can give charm and warmth like nothing else can.  The possibilities are endless….antique vanities, washstands, tables etc. Antiques are used by designers and decorators with great abundance in the 21st. Century Bathroom.  And what’s more, the costs are way less than something custom built and with double the style.

See the following photos to see how some designers have transformed an otherwise austere environment into something warm and charming.

Iriss Cottage Bathroom Tub

Studio Peregalli Naples Apartment Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Victorian Inspired Bathroom

Antique Bathroom Vanity

Antique Bathroom Vanity

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom