How Antiques Can Make Your Room Pop
Many believe that the true art of the craftsman died with the industrial revolution. Mass-production of goods for general consumption (or more accurately a healthy profit for retails and manufacturers) muscled out the independent traditional workshops and tradesmen.
I’m not entirely sure I agree with this extreme version of history, but it does remind me of the situation we are in today.
Big retailers that leave you the honour of constructing your new furniture out of flat packs with an Allen key, are dominating the market and filling our homes with disposable, or at best temporary, furniture that looks alright and keeps us on trend. We all end up with the same kitchen, the same bathroom, and the same set of rugs, that we got at the same shops.
The big stores will always come in handy when you need the basics. I am a stickler for matching timber hangers, for example. But if you really want to stand out from the crowd, why not try mixing it up a little? To me, the most comfortable homes are those that combine the old and the new, the modern and the classic, even the tribal with the luxurious. The result is an eclectic blend of colours, textures, styles and arts.
Personally, it’s not just about making a statement and having that “talking point”. It’s about creating something visually that is really interesting and honouring the art that has gone into each thing. From the silversmith that crafted the bowl on my table, to the furniture maker that carved the cabriole legs on my favourite chair, knowing the time and technical skill that a dedicated craftsman devoted to making something really adds a unique quality. That I say, is true luxury. Not the kind that has a brand attached and is peddled in our department stores. The impact this makes is not just sentimental. It really does create a home that has timeless character. It has layers and depth and surprising elements.
Antiques can be used to create layers and add depth to a room, use them alongside modern pieces for an interesting contrast
I’m not saying everything should be antique. What I do advocate is investing in quality. Look around at the things on offer these days. Will these stand the test of time and have the quality to become antique one day? I regularly buy things being made now, but the thing they have in common and why they work so well together from a design perspective, is they all have quality. The best materials available have been used and carefully made by someone who has developed a skill that makes the item not just useful, but also beautiful.
I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I just love antiques but they just don’t go in my modern house.” Again I beg to differ. In my last place, I had exposed brick walls, floor to ceiling windows, and polished concrete floors. It was industrial to say the least. The contrast that it made to have Persian silk rugs, carved French walnut furniture, and gold gilt framed paintings was fantastic. Like a collision of periods, cultures and styles, it was such a unique statement look that I ended up with friends trying to copy what I had and create the same look.
I guess that means old and new can work together after all.
The Sydney Antiques & Art Fair will be running from, September 7-11 in The Kensington Room at the Royal Randwick Racecourse. This year’s fair will play host to over 35 of the top dealers across the country, with vendors offering art, furniture, jewellery, silver and other treasures dating back to the 15th -20th centuries.
Images via: AAADA