How to Live with Antiques

We’re waiting on another container full of French goodies that should be arriving just as you’re reading this.  We LOVE getting our containers and as we unload, unpack (and sweat or freeze depending on the season), it’s like greeting long-lost friends.  We love seeing elegant 18th century commodes marched into the store side-by-side with our favorite crunchy “etablis” (work tables) and funky, mid-century Italian chairs – along with all the other pretty, crusty and quirky pieces that arrive on the container.  It’s usually mayhem while we try to find the perfect spot in the store for a vignette but we all love the mess and madness.


Recent goodies, newly arrived at the store.

We like our vignettes to shout out our philosophy: it’s gotta be all about the mix.  By the time we’ve finished putting the finishing touches on a collection, we’re usually salivating over the pieces and dying to take them home.

We always want our design to be fresh, clean and exciting and we’ve got the perfect formula that seems to work every time:   the perfect furniture marriage is something old next to something new.


We like to mix it up at the store.  Here’s a little vignette we put together for an ad shoot.

Here are a few other tips and tidbits we swear by:

Every room needs one good antique.  There, we said it.  Hopefully it will be a piece with a gorgeous veneer and pretty legs, but maybe it’s something beaten up and crunchy.  Once you have that in place, you can play off the oldness with plenty of newness.


Jackye Lanham loves to use antiques in her designs.  From Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles. Photo: Emily Followill.

 


Even a perfectly placed antique painting can add piles of sophistication and authenticity. By Jackye Lanham.

 


Classic and timeless design from Joy McLean and Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.

 


The armoire is gorgeous – and functional for this cottage-y dining room.  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles. Photo by Erica George Dines.

It’s okay to mix centuries.  We love anything from the mid-18th century inspired by Louis XV (“flirty fifteen” is a good way to remember that furniture from this era was lighter, looser and curvey with sexy little legs) but the fun is in the surprise:  something that’s got a couple hundred years on it next to sassy, bold art deco piece or something brand new, sleek and modern.  Make it fun – and remember: there are no rules.

 


John Oetgen is the master of the mix.  This is from Veranda Magazine. Photo: Thomas Loof.

 


More from John Oetgen and Veranda Magazine.  The mix of styles and centuries is fresh and clean. Photo: Thomas Loof.

It’s also okay to mix woods.  We are nuts about old French fruitwood but have also seen spectacular examples of ebony, mahogany and the rich, rich tones of French walnut.  Don’t be afraid to play one off the other: just make sure to introduce some contrast.


We love what Barbara Westbrook did here: she effortlessly mixed a crusty painted trunk with a nice little wood side table.

And add some painted furniture in there, too:  I’ll never forget an 18th century buffet we found in the south of France.  It was the most gorgeous shade of blue/gray/green with old peeling gold trim.  Its doors sagged ever so slightly but I fell madly in love with it and we ended up paying a fortune for it.  After some time starring at the store, it found a happy home in a lovely, elegant feminine room lit by a sparkly antique chandelier and anchored by some clean, modern armchairs.  Paint adds character and patina.


Suzanne Kasler plays patina and sets off a lovely buffet with a soft abstract painting.

 


Tara Shaw’s lovely living room: old, new, shiny, matte, modern and crunchy. From Veranda. Max Kim-Bee, photography.

 

It doesn’t have to have a pedigree:  our favorite rule of thumb.  Just love it. And if you found it on your travels, even better.  We love the history and gravitas of life that antiques bring to the table – not to mention the emotional pull and tug of inherited pieces.


This room looks perfectly and personally curated, doesn’t it?  From Veranda Magazine. Photo: Pieter Estersohn.

Mix and match: this is where it gets fun. We like to look at an antique and say, “okay, what’s this piece about?”  If it’s all about the shape (those flirty fifteenth legs again!), we’ll introduce companion pieces that are straight or angular.  If it’s painted, we’ll find something with a clean and smooth finish.  A fabulous, gilt-encrusted console? Great!  Add very clean, modern lamps and an edgy painting et voila!

We love how Suzanne Kasler mixes metaphors by pairing an unexpected antler mount with a traditional table and chairs.  From Traditional Home. Photo: Emily Followill.

 

Let the accessories do all the talking: shake it all up with some fresh, modern accessories, like lamps, sculptural pieces or anything that’s a conversation-starter. Your beautiful antique buffet or table will be a lovely backdrop.


Let the accessories do all the talking. Veranda. Photography by Matthew Millman.

 

And last but not least:

Have fun with your antiques:  they can be just like your beloved and crazy great aunt – eccentric but very lovable.  In short, living with old pieces always reminds us that  an antique’s greatest gift to us is to bring the past to the present.

The store is brimming with all kinds of fab pieces that we picked up last fall and we can’t wait to show them off to you.

Ta ta.

P.S. if the thrill of the hunt is just your thing, please join us next time we’re antique shopping.

Meet Anne + Meg

What happens when two committed Francophiles, art lovers and design junkies get together over a bottle of red wine? A fine art gallery with a little je ne sais quoi is born, followed a few years later by its home furnishings and décor sibling.

ABOUT HUFF HARRINGTON

What happens when two committed Francophiles, art lovers and design junkies get together over a bottle of red wine? A fine art gallery with a little je ne sais quoi is born, followed a few years later by its home furnishings and décor sibling.

  • Also just found site. What a treasure. Love It.

    Bernadette Lane

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