Monday, August 29, 2011

Three easy pieces for the perfect entryway 'at auction'

The perfect entryway starts with just three pieces - a console table, a mirror, and a great lighting fixture. From here just add decorations!

 Designer: Isabel Lopez Quesada

In this small space the designer Isabel Lopez Quesada creates a wonderful tableau with an antique table, a gilt framed mirror, and a simple lamp. She then fills it up with objects on the table top, and simple baskets below. Easy and chic!

This console and mirror by Paolo Buffa are very special! The style seems a cross between Art Deco and chinoiserie. It's Italian circa 1930, and made of rosewood, walnut, pear, and copper plated brass. This is Lot 186 in the September 15th auction at Wright Auctions in Chicago. It has an auction estimate of $10,000 - $15,000.

The Wright auction also includes this cool candelabra by Bertil Vallien (Swedish circa 1965). It's made of wrought iron, bronze and glass, and has an auction estimate of $5,000 - $7,000. Would this make a statement when your guests enter your house!

This console table does double duty. This flips opens to become a dining table when needed. So many people don't want to dedicate space to a dining room that's not used that often, so this could be a perfect solution to bring out when company comes over. I love the simple design by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. It's made of bleached rosewood, and measures 54 inches long, and 18/36 inches wide. This is Lot 586 in the Stair Galleries Modernism auction September 10th in Hudson, NY. It has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

This Art Deco gilt metal mirror is so elegant and simple in its design. The decorative elements at top and bottom add just enough to give it loads of interest. This is Lot 644 in the Stair auction and has an estimate range of $250 - $500 (the catalogue did not give the dimensions).

This Art Deco mirror would give a bit of glam to the entryway. The curvy frame is just enough without going over the top. This is Lot 670 in the Stair auction with an estimate of $300 - $500. It's pretty big at 46 inches by 59 inches. It would make a statement!

We now need lighting! Wall sconces are always wonderful, and these are beautiful and simple. These are made of Daum frosted glass and aluminum. The bulb is sandwiched by the two glass pieces which would create a wonderful effect. These are 8 inches tall and have an auction estimate of $100 - $200 in the Stair Galleries auction (Lot 189).

If you are channeling mid-century modern, here is a cool selection from the next Christie's Interiors sale in New York 30 August - 1 September. This fabulous mid-20th century French gilt bronze mounted wengewood console table (Lot 642) is so sleek! The decorative elements are subtle and chic. Just look at the tapered legs. This measures 47 inches wide and just 13 3/4 inches deep, so it can fit in a narrow hallway. It has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

For a fanciful and unexpected addition add two mirrors above the console table. This pair of Italian wrought iron mirrors (circa 1940) have the most wonderful foliage decoration. They are exuberant and fun.  These are Lot 1018 in the Christie's sale, and have an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000.

To finish the entry decoration we will need lighting. I love this pair of Italian sconces designed by Gio Ponti for Arredoluce circa 1955. They are geometric and exude modern. These are Lot 579 in the Christie's sale, and have an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200.

 Designer: Isabel Lopez Quesada

Creating an impression in the entryway is so important. This is a good place to invest. It sets the tone for your guests, and will make you happy when you open the door when you come home! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rustic Dining Tables in Spain

I just received my September issue of House and Garden (UK), I was taken with this fabulous house in Castile for which they used the interior decorator Isabel Lopez-Quesada. Her use of rustic tables particularly caught my eye having just written a blog on Rustic Dining.

House and Garden (UK) - Designer: Isabel Lopez-Quesada

The mix of rustic tables with more refined pieces fits my idea of chic perfectly. The middle photo is the dining room, and here she uses antiques that are enhanced by the pairing with a simple trestle table. 

In the living room in the bottom photo the simple decoration makes the room very comfortable, and a nice big rustic table is great for loading up decorative objects and books.

Auctions are the perfect place to find tables like these. Try some of the country auctions for the best options and prices. It will be fun to find that run down table and think how you can mix it up with antiques and refined chairs and decorative objects.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ladders are chic decoration!

An antique ladder leaning against a wall is an unexpected and wonderful way to add decoration to a room. I have carried my red antique Chinese ladder with me from apartment to house, and there is always a place where it works so well.

Here is my Chinese ladder in the library alcove of my new house.  I may move it around as the spirit moves me, and just think there will be no nail holes to repair!

Elle Decor - Designer: Madeline Weinrib

The designer Madeline Weinrib has a Global decorating style, and in her own apartment dining area she casually leans an antique Chinese ladder against the bookcase. It's so smart looking, and adds decoration to the bookcases in a novel way. 

 Elle Decor - Designer: Michael S. Smith

In a Millbrook, NY house, the designer Michael S. Smith includes an antique ladder that could also be functional for reaching books on high shelves. It looks good just standing there as well!

Designer: Emma Jane Pilkington via Style Court blog

The up and coming designer included a library ladder in Ivanka Trump's apartment in New York. In this case it's totally functional to retrieve books on the upper shelves, but looks great too!

The next Christie's Interiors sale in New York August 30th and September 1st includes this handsome pair of French oak library ladders (Lot 863).  They are 20th century and measure 66 inches tall. I love the decorative carving detail. These have an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

This English leather and brass folding library ladder sold at a previous Christie's auction for $1,375 off an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000. This measures 96 inches tall. This style seems to come up fairly regularly at auctions and the prices can range quite a bit. One at another Christie's auction sold for $6,000. 

This similar ladder sold at a Bonhams auction in Los Angeles. It's taller at 144 inches. It sold for $1,464.

This is a very smart modern carved wood library ladder. This was designed by John Dickinson (1920 - 1982). It has wonderful carved detail, and stands 88 inches tall.  It sold at a Bonhams auction in Los Angeles for $2,440.

For a more rustic style, try this metamorphic chair that converts to a six step ladder standing 43 inches tall. This sold at a Brunk Auction in Asheville, NC for $90. I like the white paint and the signs of age. 

Of course ladders are utilitarian for the most part, and finding a real farm ladder like this one used in an apple orchard would be quite fun for decoration. This is a 19th century ladder (95 inches tall) with wonderful signs of use and age. This sold at a Copake Auction in Copake, NY for $100 off an auction estimate of $50 - $75. 

I particularly like the ladders that just lean against a wall or bookcase. They are quite versatile, and can fit anywhere. Think of one in a hallway, the corner of a room, or as decoration in the kitchen. In a bathroom, they might be used as a towel rack. They add unexpected decorative detail to many rooms in the house, and work with any style of decoration. Have fun with one in your home!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Architectural models are tres chic!

Adding decorative objects to a table or a shelf adds layers to your decor. Architectural models are very chic, and a bit out of the ordinary.

Designer Suzanne Kasler

Suzanne Kasler includes a circular staircase model on the coffee table in this library.

Elle Decor - Designers: Marco Scarani and Jamie Creel

In their Paris apartment library, the designers Marco Scarani and Jamie Creel display their collection of architectural models on the book shelves. Very smart!

 Designer: Vicente Wolf

The designer Vicente Wolf's use of a good sized architectural model to this kitchen counter adds a decorative flair to an otherwise utilitarian space.

At the Christie's Interiors sale August 31st and September 1st, you can find this 19th century French mahogany architectural model for a rooftop (Lot 417). It's 14 1/2 inches tall, and has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

The Christie's sale also includes this late 19th/early 20th century mahogany French architectural model of a steeple. It's a huge 68 inches tall, and would be great sitting in the corner on the floor, looking very smart! This is Lot 1054, and has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

I always love some Asian items in any decorating scheme. How cool is this? This Chinese architectural model sold at a Doyle New York auction for $1,374 off an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000. It's made of rosewood and stands 29 inches tall. It's early 20th century.

This Grand Tour style model of a rotunda with Corinthian columns, circa1910, sold at a Kamelot Auction in Philadelphia for $600 off an auction estimate of $100 - $300. It stands 33 inches tall, and has a lot of character. It has the patina of age, and is very chic in my opinion. Great on a table in an entryway or on a shelf in the living room.

This Antonio Macelli architect's model of a winged staircase is composed of fruitwood and mahogany.  It stands 16 inches tall and is 18 inches wide. It's very smart! It sold at a New Orleans Auction for $1,599 off an auction estimate of $250 - $400, which is testament to it's desirability.

Architectural models don't come up all the time at auction, so you need to keep you're eye out for them. They are terrific looking and very chic additions to your decor in any style from classic to modern. They're a lot of fun too!

A Continental carved and painted wood Grand Tour style model rotunda with Corinthian capitals circa 1910. A Continental carved and painted wood Grand Tour style model rotunda with Corinthian capitals circa 1910. A Continental carved and painted wood Grand Tour style model rotunda with Corinthian capitals circa 1910

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rustic dining

I love the look of a well used rustic bench. They make great entryway seating for boot removal, or casual dining seating in a kitchen. Paired with a great, preferably old, trestle or refectory table, and you complete a rustic casual look.

 Elle Decor - Designer: Steven Gambrel and Chris Connor

This classic kitchen designed by Steven Gambrel and Chis Connor uses a rustic trestle table with modern chairs for a contemporary updated look. It's comfortable, and welcoming - no need for coasters on a table like this.  

  Elle Decor - Designer: Mark Cunningham

Here is a great example of simple benches paired with a country table for casual kitchen dining.

I love these French oak trestle base benches. They  have the patina of a well used piece of furniture. These are Lot 813 in the Christie's Interiors sale in New York August 31st and September 1st. They are mid-20th century, 82 inches wide, and have an auction estimate $800 - $1,200.

The Christie's sale also includes this fabulous walnut refectory table which is 121 inches wide. The benches would work very well with this and be great in a casual dining room or the kitchen.  This is Lot 826 and has an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000.

The Christie's sale has another refectory table. This one is Spanish mahogany with a 19th century top and a modern  base. The age of the top most likely gives it a wonderful character. This is 105 inches long (Lot 1027), and has an auction estimate of $3,000 - $5,000.

This bench is a wonderful example of  an early American utilitarian bench with a lot of style. This is 1st quarter 19th century and has great rolled arms and arrow shaped spindles on the back giving it lots of interest. This easily works in an entryway, or at a fabulous rustic table. This sold at a New Orleans Auction for $338 off an auction estimate of $250 - $400. It measures 32 inches long.

 The next Bonhams Sunset Estate auction in Los Angeles August 14th includes this Italian Baroque style refectory table. It's 93 inches long and said to be made of various woods. It's Lot 7588, and they don't give an age. It's nice looking anyway, and has an auction estimate of $3,000 - $4,000.

I just adore this green painted pine bench. The legs have wonderful almost ball feet. I would like this in an entryway so that it could be appreciated for it's subtle charms. This sold at a Brunk Auction in Asheville, NC for $200!

Rustic tables and benches are wonderfully usable and versatile. The benches work as seating at a table, or as a place to take off your shoes in an entryway. The tables are great for dining, or you might use one as a desk in your home office. The best part is that they are not precious, and you don't have to worry about kids, guests or animals spilling or scratching the surface!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blue 'at auction'

Blue and white decorating is always fabulous and classic. It's fresh, clean and works at the beach, the country, or in the City.

All photos House Beautiful

One of the things that I like in the top and bottom photo is the blue painted furniture. It's not the first thing that comes to mind, but looks so fresh. It's reminiscent of the white painted furniture of Swedish design, but perhaps a bit more all-American.

The center photo has a wonderful quilt that adds the core color to the room design - a touch of country, and very comfortable and welcoming. I just want to crawl in to that bed!

Copake Auction in Copake, NY is one of my go-to auction houses for Americana at usually great prices. This charming blue painted stand would make a nice side table, or a stand in a small entryway. This sold for $30 off an auction estimate of $50 - $75.

The recent Copake auction also included this blue painted hall bench. I love it's simple design. It would be a great hall piece, and you and your guests wouldn't hesitate to sit down on it to take off boots in the Winter. This sold for $175 off an auction estimate of $75 - $125. 

This is a wonderful quilt! It's graphic with a very interesting design. The blue is vivid and would anchor a blue and white decorating scheme. This is 84 inches square, and 19th century Pennsylvania. It sold at Copake for $500 off an auction estimate of $300 - $500.

The next Bonhams SoMa Estate auction in San Francisco includes some wonderful blue painted furniture. To the right is actually a pair of chests in a Dutch Rococco style. They are 44 inches wide (Lot 2452), and have an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. If you have the room, they would look wonderful in a living or dining room, as in the example of the dining room above, or naturally in a bedroom as well. 

These corner cabinets are very versatile. They don't take up much room, and make great display and storage - perfect for a dining room or a kitchen. These are Lot 2459 in the Bonhams sale, and are late 19th or early 20th century Chippendale style. They have an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,500.

Another wonderful rustic American blue painted pine cupboard was sold at a Christie's auction in New York for $6,600 off an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000. The price realized is a testament to the appeal of rustic painted furniture. This cupboard would look terrific in a kitchen or dining room, and be wonderful for display. 

There are many wonderful opportunities to buy blue at auction - furniture, quilts and, of course, porcelain. The examples here also might give you ideas for rustic or refined. Either way, blue and white design works every time!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wing back chairs are classic!

Wing backs are a design classic that seem to work in many style decors. They are comfortable, and lend themselves as an accent piece in a room, upholstered in a contrasting fabric form the rest of your scheme.

Southern Accents - Designer Darryl Carter
Darryl Carter via Flikr

The designer Darryl Carter is a master of combining classic antiques with a modern aesthetic. His designs often feature this wing back chair, upholstered in white. Since I just did a blog on white on white, check out the top photo with the touches of color in the blue painted table, and wood framed chair and X-stool in a white on white room.

Auctions are a great place to find wing back chairs. This one is included in the next Stair Galleries Americana auction in Hudson, NY August 13th. I even like the flame stitch upholstery. This is Lot 84 and has an auction estimate of $400 - $800.

I love the worn in look of this wing chair in leather. It has lots of character, and looks very comfy. This sold at a Doyle New York auction for $3,125 off an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. It has a particularly nice shape, and carving detail. 

Brunk Auctions in Asheville, North Carolina sold this late 18th century George III mahogany wing chair for $1,500 off an auction estimate of $500 - $1,000. It has a lovely blue damask upholstery and a very nice shape. Brunk can almost always be counted on for a selection of wing chairs.

New Orleans Auction is often a good source for quality classic furniture at reasonable prices. This George III style mahogany wing chair has good lines, and is stylishly upholstered in white like the Darryl Carter chairs. This sold for $461 off an auction estimate of $300 - $500.

House Beautiful - Designer: Jean Larette

Wing chairs can look fresh and comfortable in a contemporary decor. This living room in Napa Valley includes a pair of leather upholstered wing chairs that make up a welcoming seating area. 

Look for shape and details in a wing chair, and upholster it in a fabric or leather that makes it stand out in the room.

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