Answering some design dilemma questions and general questions this summer on the blog- and one of the most recent ones has to do with using antiques and reproductions and how to mix them.
Does this sound familiar?
You are looking to create a beautiful room full of elegant vintage and antiques pieces that create a ‘feeling’ and tell a collected story.
But you also need them to function for daily even heavy daily use- and not worry. I hear you.
When I was decorating the house when we first moved in- I was looking for pieces that I found on craigslist and at the flea markets- but on a we have a whole house that needs to be completely renovated and updated kind of budget. So- the challenge was finding good antiques that had the look and that I did not have to overhaul – and also that were sturdy enough to stand up to daily use with 3 young kids. That was really the beginning of me finding my style, learning how to ‘get the look’ on my budget and also why I learned that the words ‘antique reproduction’ is not something so shy from- it is a good thing.
Tip: Find good reproductions and mix and mingle antique and new- you can create a beautiful room and have the best of both worlds.
Useful and decorative
I love vintage and antiques as much as the next person. I collect bits of silver, have drawers full of old flatware and have a hard time walking by a set of antique chairs- or even one antique chair that speaks to me.
But… you have to consider if you can use that piece everyday as well. While that antique chair you just went weak in the knees over looks beautiful- maybe that wonky repaired back leg makes it too unstable for everyday use. Or the antique step ladder in the bathroom? Perfect for holding candles and flowers- but not for standing on.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have that chair that speaks to you in a corner with a stack of books on it- but do make sure that antique chair in daily use is beautiful and functional. You don’t want to be cautioning guests to not sit the side chairs by the fireplace because they are merely decorative for example or stringing tape across the front so no one sits on them.haha.
Which is one of the places where reproductions come in. Even if your first choice is an authentic antique – you can usually find a good reproduction that can be just as timeless and incredibly detailed as an antique piece- and is often much more functional for your everyday lifestyle.
Not all reproductions are created equally of course- you can be fairly choosy about where to shop and find the ones that pay attention to detail and finishes that are authentic.
I have reproduction tables in the kitchen and the bathroom- and they have been wonderful. Our kitchen island is a drapery table with drawers and details like carved legs and the most delicious bleached wood finish.
I searched and searched for an antique that would fit the look, size and our kitchen. I didn’t want to have to refinish something because it wasn’t the correct color or alter something because it didn’t fit perfectly. I was watching craigslist & shopping second hand but not finding the right fit. While at High Point Market in the Eloquence showroom- I saw this huge table… with the right finish, that more narrow than a dining table width I needed- and all the antique details I love.
I added a marble slab to the top and called it good.
Side note: Something you might not know about the marble slab? It has an irregular edge on one side. You can somewhat see it right before the cookbook in the photo above. The fabricator was pretty stressed about it knowing it would cut into the top. I told him that I knew it was there and I was all good with it. So, he hesitantly cut the rest of the slab for the top- and when we placed it on the island- he nodded and loved how it looked that the irregularity really made the marble feel like it was antique and it had always been a part of this piece.
A Collected Look
When I was writing Inspired Gatherings- we knew we were going to be including something in the dining room- and I wanted it to feel different and special in here. This room is actually a good example of mixing several different age pieces and making it work.
- Chandeliers -New reproductions
- Farm table- built by my boys and husband using reclaimed wood
- Cane back chairs- Vintage from the 1960’s
- Cupboard- French Antique from the 1800’s
It is a mix and mingle of different ages and styles- but they come together perfectly and I love the way it shows that not everything has to be a ‘period’ antique to create the look.
Another example of vintage and new mingling together that I am asked about all.the.time. These layered mirrors in the living room.
Many folks think they are both antique but the secret to these? One is 100+ years old- and one is brand new.
The tall mirror was a craigslist find. It is about 7.5′ tall and absolutely stunning in person. It was a bit of a job for my husband and I to load up and get inside ourselves honestly- but it is incredible. The details on the crown are beyond.
The smaller mirror is a new find.
I bumped into it while shopping at HomeGoods. It has the look of an antique and lots of details- and layered with that large antique mirror- it is beyond beautiful. You can find more reproduction mirrors here
I have both vintage and new lighting in my home as well. The kitchen has a pair of $20 thrift store find vintage chandeliers. They are missing a few bits here and there- but I have a soft spot in my heart for them since they really tell a part of the story of how our house came together.
But while I have a couple antique chandeliers- most of the lighting in our home are reproductions. For safety and because there are so many good ones out there.
Those delicious antique chairs (that yes -are sturdy and usable) an antique drapery table and Trumeau mirror (all from Eloquence) and a brand new chandelier. They all mingle together perfectly and create a space that feels like it all was meant to go together.
Stay tuned for a closer look at that gorgeous trumeau mirror and drapery table – both from Eloquence. And don’t miss your chance to enter to win one of thse beautiful medium Birdcage Chandeliers from Eloquence – today is the LAST DAY to enter!
See you tomorrow for a bit of ‘blooming’ fun- have a great Monday everyone.