Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rustic chic seating in the entryway

I love the use of rustic pieces even in a refined space. It loosens it up a little, while adding another layer of interest. In an entryway, a rustic seating element can send the message that you want your guests to relax and enjoy!

There's a lot to like in this entryway! The horizontal stripes are unexpected and a very chic brown and white. A big mirror is a wonderful element in any entryway, and adds refinement to offset the rustic bench and vintage trunk. By all mean, decorate the top of the bench, but leave some space to be able to use it as a bench!

In my home, the rustic bench is a place for us to sit down to put on boots, or take off muddy shoes. It's also the place we leave our mail and keys!It's also a place for more obelisks!

Copake Auction in Copake, NY is a great source of inexpensive antique and vintage rustic furniture. This 19th century bootjack bench (50 inches long) is that much more interesting because of the remaining blue paint. This sold for $100 off an auction estimate of $50 - $75. This would fit in most entryways perfectly.

For something a little less rustic try this 19th century bench. It's 72 inches long and has simple turned legs. It sold for $135 off an auction estimate of $25 - $50.

This trunk is fabulous. It's 19th century and still has a lot of its blue paint. It also has wonderful brass straps that add some refinement to this rustic piece. This sold for $125 off an estimate of $50 - $100. In a smaller entryway, this could be a bench, and a great place to add decoration.

This 19th century campaign chest has handsome brass details, and the wood has a wonderful patina. This sold for $95 off an estimate of $100 - $150.

In a small entryway, at least find room for a small chair. It works as a place to put on your boots, but also a place to leave your keys and mail. I love this one! It's included in the next Stair Galleries auction in Hudson, NY being held July 28th. It's Lot 731, and has an auction estimate of $50 - $100. It's described as a Salvatore gilt metal patio chair. But it's so much more that that! Look at the design shape. It's fabulous. Snap it up! (Update: This sold for $225. Still bargain chic!)

In any room, I like the mix of refined and rustic. Each makes the other look better! If you use a rustic bench, make sure you add a great mirror or lighting. In an entryway, make your guests feel welcome and relaxed. A bit of rustic will do the trick!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Period pieces add style 'at auction'

No matter your budget, a period piece added to your decor will bring character and style to the room. It's amazing what a wonderful Biedermeier chair or a fabulous gilt framed Regency mirror will bring to a room that is furnished with a few pieces from IKEA.

From Skonahem (Sweden)

In a simple white dining room, the addition of a statement gilt framed mirror creates an elegant element to an otherwise unassuming space. 

From Skonahem

For those following my blog, I love color, and one way to add it would be with a great red lacquered Chinese chest like this one. My other design must is 'add an Asian touch'. Asian furniture is so chic and modern feeling, and works with any style. This piece is a great example with its simple lines, a fabulous brass disc for the closure, and the red pop of color!

This Chinese cabinet may not be red, but it has wonderful geometric designed inlays in a warm colored hardwood. This would stand out against a white painted wall, and make that IKEA sofa look like a custom design! This sold at a Stair Galleries auction in Hudson, NY for $375 off an auction estimate of $400 - $600.

I love the red and gold 'japanned' design of this cabinet, and the brass disc on the doors. This would make a fabulous statement piece. It sold at a Christie's auction for an amazing $375, off an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. It's modern, and that may be why it went for so little, but who cares. It looks great!

One of the fastest ways to up the style of a room is to add a fabulous mirror! The simpler the furniture, the more elaborate the mirror! Some simple rules:

1) Go for gold - choose a mirror with a giltwood frame. The more elaborately carved the better.
2) Go for size - a big mirror will make a statement and reflect light back in to the room. It will make a small room bigger.

This George III style mirror has a terrific carved giltwood frame, and is 4 feet 6 inches tall. This ticks all the boxes. You could have has this one for $275 at a Stair Galleries auction. It had an auction estimate of $400 - $600.

If an elaborate frame is not quite for you, this Continental carved giltwood pier mirror might be the better option.  It's a simpler design, and leaves the curviest part to the top. This stands 4 feet 10 inches tall, and would still make a statement. This sold at a Stair Galleries auction for $125 off an auction estimate of $400 - $600.

At the beginning I mentioned Biedermeier. The style is so clean and looks fabulous in any modern space. Here is a pair of walnut bergeres from the second half of the 19th century. I would upholster them in a black horsehair for a graphic look. These sold at a Christie's auction for $2,375 off an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,500. Imagine them on either side of that IKEA sofa with a simple coffee table in between. 

You can find Biedermeier for less. This pair of walnut armchairs sold for $375 at a Doyle New York auction. They have wonderfully shaped backs, and would also look even better with a black covered seat cushion.

You don't have to have a big budget to add statement decorative details. Watch the auctions, and bid opportunistically, and you may well find a bargain that doesn't look like a bargain. Follow a few rules: add color, add Asian, go for the gold (mirror), and don't be too predictable!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Build a modern living room - start with the sofa!

Building a modern living room can be quite simple - start with a great sofa, add some end tables, and some wonderful lamps, and you have a great beginning. Auctions are great places to buy previously owned pieces that are stylish, and less expensive.

Once you have the basics, just add a rustic coffee table, framed prints and photos, and a dash of color in the pillows. Then invite some friends over to relax!

 Elle Decor - Designer: Tamzin Greenhill

Here we have the basics - white sectional sofa, bright yellow pillows, and an interesting table lamp. Build from there.

From Rue Magazine via Pinterest
I love the graphic black and white, along with a punch of yellow to jazz it up. 

The next Christie's Interiors sale in New York July 17th and 18th has some wonderful pieces to get started. This fabulous Jens Rison sofa (circa 1950) upholstered in white cotton, and on a walnut base is 80 inches wide and would set the modern tone.  This is Lot 484 and has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.
If you have a a big enough room, this banquette is sexy and made for a party! This was designed by George Cameron Nash, and measures 160 inches wide. This is Lot 471 and has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200.

For a slightly smaller space, this Italian camel suede chaise longue is perfect. This is a B&B Italia piece, measure 61 inches wide, and has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. It's Lot 511. Add a colored pillow for some punch. This sofa can be free standing or pushed in to a corner of a small room.

I love these end tables. They are simple and graphic. They are modern, and made of gilt metal, lacquer, and glass. These are 15 1/2 x 19 1/2, and have an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. 

These end tables need wonderful lamps. This pair of blue Italian glass lamps are perfect. They have an interesting shape, and add some color in to the room. They are 35 inches tall (Lot 474), and the three of them have an auction estimate of $1,200 - $1,800. I'm sure you could find a home for the green one, if you successfully bid on the lot! These only need a simple shade and you're set to go.

Let's say we've spent $3,000 so far. We can add a coffee table, and for just a little bit more, and you're ready to call your friends over. One of my go-to auction houses for rustic pieces and bargain prices is Copkae Auction in Copake, NY. This 19th century pine table sold for $40! The top measures 30 x 45 inches, and I think the base is very interesting.

If you prefer to keep it modern, this mid-century Marsman coffee table sold at Copake for $90. It's 48 inches wide, and would look great with the Jens Rison sofa, or the B&B Italia chaise longue. 

Find some great designs to build your modern living room at auctions. White or neutral upholstery works well, but I always want some color. Add punch with pillows, colorful lamps and artwork on the walls.


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