Thursday, December 30, 2010

All American Classic Design

I have been inspired this week by country auctions and all the wonderful Americana on offer. There are the colorful graphic quilts, the painted blanket trunks and the classic furniture - whether refined or country. All can be so chic in a modern design.

Diamond Baratta Design can be counted on to include classics of American design in their decors. You will often see hooked rugs, painted trunks used as coffee tables, and wonderful examples of American antiques.

Country auctions are a great place to find Americana of all types. 

The wonderful daybed in the top photo is being offered in the next Brunk Auction in North Carolina. It is described as early 19th century mahogany, and made by Duncan Phyfe or a contemporary (Lot 0308). The auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,500. It's sleek and elegant, and would be very chic in traditional or modern decorating style. 
Blanket chests makes the perfect coffee table. The one above is American, 19th century, and made of tiger maple which gives the wood a wonderful interest. This is Lot 0258 and has an auction estimate of $500 - $1,000.

Copake Auction always has a terrific selection of American furniture, quilts, and weather vanes. The auction includes the 18th century Rhode Island blue painted tall chest above (Lot 55). I love the untouched traditional look. This has an auction estimate of $2,000 - $2,500. 

The hooked rug with the eagle and star design is classically American. This one would make a fabulous piece of wall art. This one is Lot 26, was made circa 1900, and measures 6'4" x 39". It has an auction estimate of $600 - $800. 

Quilts are a great way to add graphic color to decor. Quilts don't only need to cover a bed. They can be hung on a large wall space, or draped over the back of plain upholstered sofa. This one in the Copake auction is really beautiful. It was made in the 19th century and measures 97" x 101". It has an auction estimate of $900 - $1,000 (Lot 163).

House Beautiful

American design can be elegant and it can be high craftmanship. Try a quilt over the sofa and add a jolt of color in an otherwise simple decor. Or use a classic American blue and white color scheme, and include a long ago painted tall chest.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mid-century madness in 2011

The madness for mid-century style is not entirely new, but seems to build. It speaks 'modern' and shows like Mad Men on AMC help further popularize mid-century style in clothing and furniture.
Architectural Digest - Designer: Sandra Nunnerley
This Manhattan apartment designed by Sandra Nunnerley has a few of the mid-century must haves - the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs (in the top photo in white), and the Arne Jacobsen Egg chair (bottom photo in brown). Adding these classics gives any room the mid-century credentials right away. 
There are lots of opportunities to buy these and other mid-century classics at auction. The next Christie's Interiors sale in New York January 11th and 12th has a number of options. 
The Charles and Ray Eames chair and ottomon designed in 1956 for Herman Miller will always give that mid-century vibe to your room. This one is offered in the Christie's sale with an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.  

Here is a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair and ottomon (5 ottomons are included in the lot!) with an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000. This was designed in 1929, and is a later manufacture by Knoll.

Wright Auctions in Chicago is a go-to auction house for modern design. This beautiful example of an Arne Jacobsen Swan chair went unsold at their last Scandinavian Design auction in November. Keep your eye out because these come up pretty often, in various degrees of quality and wear.

In the same Scandinavian Design sale at Wright this fabulous Danish rosewood cabinet, circa 1960, was sold for $3,375. This would make any dining room shout mid-century. 

Veranda Magazine - Designer: Vincente Wolf

In designer Vincente Wolf's apartment he includes a Hans Wegener Papa Bear chair and an Eero Saarinen table for Knoll table by the bed. I also love the way he combines it with the 18th century Italian console table! Mixing several styles is always better than one!

As an auction tip: if you plan to bid on any design classic, do your research first on past auction sales as well as retail options (check 1st Dibs for one). No need to overpay unless you must have it now!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Loving Italian flair for design!

I love traveling to almost anywhere in the world, but have to admit that for me Italy has it all - scenery, food, wine, culture, and style! When you walk down a street in Rome or Milan you wonder how so many people can look so chic. The same goes for Italian design. I am so often drawn to things Italian, whether it's new or antique.

If we start with the old and work our way forward, this is a lovely example of a circa 1800 Northern Italian walnut and birch game table. The 3-D parquetry inlay work is gorgeous. This sold at a Doyle New York auction for $1,625. 

Doyle New York

This delicate Italian Rococo gilt mirror is exuberant but not over the top, as so much rococo can be. This was also sold at a Doyle New York auction. It's 43" x 38" and sold for $2,125. 

I have always thought it would be cool to have a grotto chair. Like hall chairs, they are meant to be looked at, and are clearly not designed for comfort. This 19th century Italian giltwood and ebonized example that sold at Christie's is fabulous. It's a wonderful decorative object. It sold for $5,000. 

This day bed is terribly elegant. The sweeping curves and the beautiful marquetry are wonderful. This is 1st quarter of the 19th century Italian neoclassical, and sold at a Bonham's auction in Los Angeles for $3,050. 

Bonhams, San Francisco

Jumping to the 20th century, this Italian Art Deco chandelier is so stylish. It has great detail. This sold at a Bonhams auction in San Francisco for $1,952.

A while ago I wrote a blog Are you off your rocker - a cool rocking chair?, and since then I've noticed really cool rockers. This one was designed by Gae Aulenti in 1962, and is made of lacquered wood and vinyl. It has such sensuous curves, and just want to be admired. This sold at a Wight auction in Chicago for $1,000. 

Doyle New York

Finally, we must include some Murano glass. Italians make such wonderful designs in glass and crystal, whether it be chandeliers or decorative objects, like this vase. This one was designed by Ludovico Diaz de Santillana in 1987, and sold for $688 at a Doyle New York auction.

Add some Italian style to your home and you'll feel almost as chic as those Italian men and women strolling down the streets of Rome!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chic by design 'at auction'

For me, there is an allure to a beautiful antique. The warmth of the wood patina, and workmanship of the curves and carving. I don't like adding antiques to create a museum, but rather to add interest and style.

NY Spaces Magazine - Designer: Alex Papachristidis

This apartment designed by Alex Papachristidis for Fruzsina Keehn in New York looks fresh and modern, and is furnished with wonderful antiques. The chaise longue has a fabulous shape, and sits happily besides the ever chic round table and X stools. The the bottom photo the 18th century French secretaire, and the wonderfully shaped chair give this living room it's high style. 

I decided to see what I could find at auction to re-create this look. 

Christie's sold this lovely 18th century Louis XVI tulipwood, amaranth, and parquetry secretaire for $1,625. This was well below the estimate of $3,000 - $5,000. As in the photo of the apartment above, leave the desk front open, and have a beautiful flower arrangement and lamp sitting on it.

New Orleans Auction always has a good offering of Continental antiques. This 2nd quarter 19th century Louis Philippe mahogany daybed is a remarkable match to the one in the top apartment photo. It has the lovely sweep of the back, and just needs the darker striped upholstery to finish the look. This sold for $2,880. The estimate had been $2,500 - $4,000.

New Orleans Auction

These chairs are not quite the same as the one in the living room photo, but they I fell in love with them. They are Italian, of course! These were sold at a New Orleans auction for $2,091. They are early 20th century and made of mahogany. The detailed carving is fabulous, and the patina of the wood is gorgeous. A pair of chairs is always better than one anyway.

To complete the look we need a round center table. This Beidermeier style table is a close cousin of the one in our photo at the top. It has the carved column along with an even more interesting base. It's made of mahogany, and has the added bonus of two leaves to expand in to a dining table. It sold at a Doyle New York auction for $875.

So, for a total spend of $7,471 we could substantially re-create the key elements of the look in the Alex Papachristidis designed rooms. It was fun too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Design Inspiration - Modern with character

I was looking at one of my favorite blogs, desire to inspire, and they had a link to a Spanish shelter magazine - Mi Casa. I fell in love with so many of the homes featured in the magazine for their clean modern design with hints of traditional that add warmth and character.

All photos from Mi Casa magazine, Spain

Each of these rooms is characterized by lots of white which is warmed up by an antique wood dresser, or a trunk used as an end table, or a classic sofa table and old paintings. 

This approach allows you to buy a few good pieces which will stand out against the clean white back drop of less expensive pieces from some place like IKEA.

This lovely Chinese painted pigskin trunk mounted on a stand was sold at a Bonhams auction earlier this year for $195. It would make a wonderful end table at 22" tall and 14" wide. The decoration is particularly interesting compared to most you will find.

A good antique chest with a rich wood patina adds tremendous warmth to a modern interior. This is a lovely example being offered at the Christie's Interiors sale in NY. This is described as an early 18th century Queen Anne walnut chest (35¼in. high, 37¼in. wide, 20½in. deep), and has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. 

A beautiful table like this can serve as a console or a table behind a white upholstered sofa. This is a Victorian burl elm and mahogany breakfast table. It has beautifully carved legs, and a warm wood color. It went unsold at the last New Orleans auction which usually means that there was a minimum. It had an estimate of $3,000 - $5,000. When investing in a piece like this I would look for the carving that sets it apart from others.

Adding a classic mirror always adds character. This graceful early 19th century Federal carved and gilt wood mirror is being offered in the next Brunk auction. It has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. I've really fallen in love with this style. It's both reserved and elegant. It's the perfect size for an entryway or small space. 

If your idea of modern is white and clean, the addition of a classic antique will create warmth and a welcoming feeling.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sexy Sconces

Every room - living, dining, bath, den, entry... (except maybe the kitchen) - will be better looking with sconces. They add decorative detail, draw the eye, and add style! Auction Decorating provides regular opportunities to find something unique and interesting that reflects your design aesthetic.

Canadian House and Home Magazine

In this classic entryway, the candle sconces add drama to the traditional arrangement of console table, hall chairs, and French style mirror.

The sconces in this dining room are a statement in this black painted dining room. They are like a work of art on their own. 

Jeffers Design Group via decor pad

A powder room is always a fun place to let your design style run a bit wild. The sconces in this powder room enhance the Venetian style mirror and the sink set upon a lovely marble topped table. 

Both these sets of sconces are included in the next Christie's Interiors auction in New York. They have a number of sconces to tempt, and these two Deco inspired pairs caught my eye. The top photo is Lot 504 and they are described as American brass and glass wall lights, second half of the 20th century. They have an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. 

The bottom photo is Lot 600, and they are described as mid-20th century brass sconces (18" tall). They have an auction estimate of $700 - $900. They would make a similar statement against a dark painted wall as the ones in the photo above of the Ralph Lauren dining room.

Dawson and Nye in Montclair, NJ conducts on-line auctions, and the next one is December 10th to 21st. This pair of brass carriage house sconces are quite chic! They would be terrific in an entryway. These are described as late 19th/early 20th century and have an auction estimate of $300 - $500.

These sconces are very cool. They are included in the Bonhams, NY 20th Century Decorative Arts sale December 14th. They are described as 'in the manner of Felix Agostini 1960's'. They are made of brass and are 24" tall. These would be fabulous in the powder room or entryway. They have an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. 
Christie's, NY Interiors Sale - Lot 735

These traditional gilt metal sconces are quite elegant. They have a lot of decorative detail and interest and would lovely aside a mirror in any room. They are 14.5" tall, and have an auction estimate of $600 - $800. 

I like almost any kind of sconce and there are lots of options from all sorts of retail sources. But at auction you have the opportunity to find something a bit more unique, so have fun looking!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Auction Decorating Holiday Gift Ideas

DWe were at the Doyle New York 'Doyle@Home' auction preview for the sale of December 7th . They had lots of things that would make great gifts for the holidays. Have you ever been at a loss as to what to give someone? Why get something just because, and instead get them something special at an auction. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking!

For the golfer in the family, there was a set of four small oil paintings on the 'Art of Golfing'. The set sold for $281!

Louis Vuitton luggage is always a hit, and there was quite a bit of it in the Doyle sale. People like the hard luggage to stack as a coffee table or just decoration, or you could even use it when you travel and look very chic! One group of three (Lot 200) had a range of $3,000 - $4,000, and sold for $1,875. A set offered via 1st Dibs is priced $5,000.

Elle Decor - Designers: Mark Badgley and James Mischka

Here is an example of how 3 suitcases become a table in the home of Badgley Mischka.

Copake Auction - January 1st - Lot 325

Think out of the box and consider an architectural element as a sculpture. This 19th century pineapple ornament (30" tall) is included in the Copake Auction sale New Year's Day with an auction estimate of $150 - $250. It would look great on a table or at the end of a hall to draw the eye. 

This very smart looking faux ivory Pyramid form humidor (10.5" tall)  sold at the last Stair Galleries auction for $475. This would look terrific on any table or shelf. And if the person receiving the gift is a cigar smoker, even better.

Or give the gift of light! This handsome group of Chinese porcelain vases mounted as lamps is offered in the next Christie's Interiors sale in New York. It has an auction estimate of $400 - $600. Just think - you might get 3 gifts out of it!

A pair of wonderfully decorative Italian 20th century vases would always be a welcome gift. These are offered in the Christie's Interiors sale in New York, and have an auction estimate of $600 - $800. They would add a pop of color to your entry console, or look great with a flower arrangement on your holiday dining table.

Canadian House and Home

These are but a few ideas. Get more inspiration from upcoming auctions, and bid for that gift that will be unexpected for the friend or loved one who lives a decorative life!

A few upcoming auctions:

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