Always buy the best antiques you can afford. There are of course cheaper pieces of furniture for sale than the ones you’ll find in the antique stores but generally speaking antiques are a good investment. Antiques do not lose their value if they are properly cared for and sometimes their value will increase over time. However, for the future value to be at par or well above the current purchasing price it is important to choose an authentic antique.
Selecting only the finest, high quality pieces is deeply engrained in our business. To help you find the best pieces we would like to share the criteria we take into account when we hand pick our items.
If the piece is old, chances are that it is made from one solid plank of wood or different planks of various widths. Perfectly sized boards indicate new build. Large boards were commonly used because lumber was much more abundant in the old days.
As a result, many tables and chests were often made with a single large board and the other parts were cut in awkward shapes to minimize wasted wood.
Fake antiques can have different wood grains in different parts of the piece; there will be different grains. Don’t judge too quickly though, because in the past often less expensive wood was used in places where it wouldn’t show, like the interior of a cupboard. No secondary wood might be an indication of a new construction.
We mention it a lot, but the construction and carving skills of the carpenters in the old days were incredibly well developed. On current pieces do check the quality and details of carving: an original and complete carving on your piece adds to the price and desirability. If your carving was added with other carvings on a later date, the value of the piece is lesser. If your furniture has inlay, your piece can also have a greater value as it gets older.
Dovetail joints are notches cut in wood, so pieces fit together like puzzle pieces. Together with wooden dowel pins they make for a good indication of an original piece. However, if dowel pins are too sleek and clean/uniform, they are most likely to be cut by modern tools when they should have been cut by hand.
Handles are also important in dating a piece, but it is more common to find pieces with replaced handles. Antique handles were cast by hand from a single piece of metal, usually brass. The nuts that attached the handles in the 18th century are irregular and circular. Newer nuts are hexagonal and machine-cut.
So now you know what to look for in a genuine antique, but how do you incorporate a beautiful piece of antique furniture into your home and ensure it fits into your existing interior design?
We always find it amazing to see how much character, charm and style antiques can bring to any interior. It might be less apparent than matching antiques with related styles in classical interiors, but in many cases mixing styles–the old and the new-give an energizing, fresh feeling to an interior. Just adding a piece of antique furniture, like one antique chair to a modern living room setting, can take the feeling of that room to a whole different level. But how do you do this, without the interior becoming fragmented?
Credit Thomas Hamel Interior Design
It would be easy if there would be ‘decorating rules’ to successful pairing of old and new furniture. We don’t think any rules can be the recipe for success. We see that breaking free from former ‘decorating guidelines’ actually creates the most exciting, interesting and distinguishing results. When selecting your pieces and accessories the most important thing is to stick with what feels right and looks good to you.
Having said there are no set rules, it could maybe help to think about how you will use the room and what feeling or atmosphere you want it to radiate. Antiques can handle being used. When you do so the pieces become more integrated and less likely to stick out as stand alone displays, creating an interior in whole.
Another way to select pieces is to look for interesting matches or contrasts with your current setting. Beautiful matches between contemporary and antique can be found in the contrast between materials; like polished wood placed on a solid concrete floor. But also, in colours; like dark ebony sparking of against a white wall. And the same goes for patterns. Be as creative as you dare.
So here we are, writing how much character a piece of antique can bring to just about any décor; from classical to contemporary. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. So, here’s the proof. Please view ‘Customers’ Homes on our website and you’ll see many examples ranging from leading designers to proud homeowners. We hope that browsing will inspire you to mix and/or match as you like and with the desired impact for your unique home.
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Credit Jessica Helgerson Interior Design