Antiques move into the Future

bust of Liberty, 1890


I attended the 54th annual Winterthur Delaware Antique Gala the other night.  I do love looking at antiques, am always fascinated by their history, where they came from, who might have once owned each piece.  I picture these stunning pieces in a more modern setting more suited for today's lifestyle.  I am now wondering if antiques will stand the test of time.  I know they have thus far, but do millennials and younger have an appreciation for their provenance?  In an immediate gratification society where everything has become homogenized ~ can antiques survive?  I have pieces from my grandmother that are made so beautifully, I know they will last ~  but will anyone want them?  With future generations living differently and valuing different things, they also think of furniture differently.

Let's take a look at what I saw and how they might fit into a more modern interior.  Education is key as to why these pieces should be loved, preserved and handed down from generation to generation.





The multi colored plank chairs, ca 1860, would look funky and make a great focal point in the dining room below with nothing to compete with them.
 Samplers look like a cool Etsy find but they were made by someone's loving hands announcing a birth or new home.







A mahogany Queen Anne wing chair, ca 1750-60, with its sinuous shape is a perfect counterpoint in a room with  a more linear sofa.  Picture a hand painted storage chest at the foot of a sumptuous bed in an otherwise neutral bedroom.  This is a great example of taking a classic piece and moving it into the future.








Before cameras, tiny portraitures were painted in the likeness of the person.  Hanging a grouping on a gallery wall amongst other, perhaps more contemporary art, takes it to another level while keeping an "old world" feeling no matter what hangs amongst them. 






I love this set of  hand blown, graduated size and gradated colored glass bottles.  Just owning the set and displaying them together in this way already elevates it  ~ a contemporary twist to a utilitarian product with a humble history.  This collection would be at home anywhere!







Tiffany lamps are the epitome of everlasting beauty





Antiques, inherited or vintage pieces can be upcycled and made into something new with a little ingenuity.  Remember what they say ~ when you know the rules, you can break the rules!





An opportunity to create something personal, unique and modern is what respecting the past while moving into the future is all about.




Top designers are often inspired by the past and this informs the future.  If you see something that speaks to you, you'll always find a way to weave it into your decor.  As with all things, I believe a little goes a long way, though.








The tension between the old and the new is what's interesting and modern now.  An entire period room feels dated, an entire room outfitted by a big box store feels inauthentic.   Nobody wants that anymore.  The magic is in the mix.  Owning a piece with a history brings authenticity, warmth and interest to any space.  Reproductions just don't have the same patina. 



 Buy what you love, make it  the best you can afford, mix the high and the low, give your things space to breath, keep it simple.  There is your recipe for moving into the future with antiques.








Flowers for the People




Imagine you are walking around New York City, you are minding your own business, you turn a corner and BAM!  You are stunned by the random, totally doesn't make sense, magnificent, giant floral arrangement you see before you!  You can hardly believe your own eyes!  Who would do such a thing?  AND...thank you!




I was perusing Instagram and was led down that rabbit hole we all experience.  An hour later, as I was swooning over Lewis Miller's beautiful photos, I realized this is the man that created guerrilla style floral warfare or floral flashes, as they have been called.  I had heard of this, but did not know much about it or the about the man that created these amazing "drive by" displays.






 “Gifting flowers to New Yorkers is a simple idea that I have been thinking about for years,” Lewis says. “I am in the business of fantasy and flowers, and it’s my job to transform key moments in my clients’ lives into joyful, everlasting memories. I wanted to recreate a similar feeling for the everyday city-dwellers and tourists of New York City.”




Like theives in the night, his team stealthily puts together a floral flash. just before sunrise.  Lewis' calling card is his initials in chalk beside the installation ~  LMD X NYC







It is Lewis' random act if kindness, bringing beauty to the gritty city streets and making New Yorkers smile.  He usually "gifts" used flowers left after one of his lavish events.  He wanted to create an emotional response and in this age of social media, he created much more.







Every surface is fair game from trash cans, to statues.  No street is safe for a make shift floral display. Lewis thinks of it as "Banksy-esque" street art.




Where will Lewis strike next?  I hope I get to "happen upon" a flower flash!  If you hear someone scream with delight, that would be me encountering this lovely little reminder in flowers that beauty is in unexpected places, always.




If people take the flowers as they go by, better yet.

 Thank you Lewis for helping us Live a little more Beauti-FULLY!




ph: via Lewis Miller Designs







Mad for Moderism



Moderism in Palm Springs, especially in the 50's and 60's is what legends are made of.  Honestly, it wasn't my thing.... until now.  Sure, I always liked some of the iconic architecture that makes up the mid century look, like the floor to ceiling windows, sleek architecture, open floor plan and mix of organic materials, but that was where my love affair ended.  I fully embrace the mid century modern look of today.  I am not the only one.  Palm Springs got slightly rusty in the 80's and 90's, but it's back in a big way says Nelda Linsk, who happens to be the owner of the famous Kaufman House (above and below), a Richard Neutra jewel.  She said young people are waiting for older residents who reside in prestigious homes to pass away. The contents of those homes quickly grabbed up in estate sales.

* fun fact, the Kaufman's whom the Kaufman desert house was built for also owned Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece outside of Pittsburgh.





Old Palm Springs began to blossom along side the mid century architecture craze.  In the sunny, arid desert landscape, I have fallen for the little "Hollywood outside of Hollywood" like town with the largest concentration of mid century homes in one place and its indoor/outdoor lifestyle.




The classic mid century architecture is the perfect back drop for pop art and sculptural furniture,  all while feeling connected to nature and the outdoors.  It's swanky and rejuvenating.




Palm Springs is located in the Coachella Valley.  With the beautiful light, mild temperatures and mountains surrounding you on all sides, I am guessing it is a recipe for happiness, or it should be.



ph: Darren Bradley

Maybe it's the allure of a by gone era, the desire to capture a lifestyle that no longer exists, or architecture so closely tied to a period in American history that makes you crave baked Alaska and  a Manhattan cocktail.

If you think all the homes look alike ~ au contrair.  Within the mid century architectural paradigm, there are different styles based on the architect or builder.

Mid century modern architecture often features flat roofs and angular lines. Post and beam building allowed the roof to be raised opening up the space.





ph:David Blank

ph: David Blank

The cubist or desert modern style looks right at home in the desert climate.




Donald Wexler pioneered steel homes.  They were prefab steel, concrete and glass homes.  The construction became very expensive in the 60's and only a handful were built - till it was rediscovered as a viable option in the late 90's.

ph:Tom Blanchard



Butterfly rooflines are indicative of the Alexander Construction Company, a father-son design/build firm in the mid 50's.












Yeah baby!






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