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.








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