Styling antiques comes naturally to Chris Chan the resident designer at The Past Perfect Collection. An integral part of the Past Perfect team for over 10 years, he also has many luxury residential projects in his portfolio as an interior designer. With a special talent for making our colonial antique furniture look even better than it did before, he creates an inviting showroom for our customers.
So how does he do it? We asked him for some insider secrets and expert tips.
The Past Perfect Collection Showroom styled by Chris Chan
Chris Chan - Interior Designer
We always love the way you style antiques in The Past Perfect showroom. Can you tell us what you look for when starting this process?
Firstly, it’s a matter of proportion, spacing and appropriate lighting. I begin by looking at the proportions of the furniture. My aim is to create balance and harmony. For example, a large focal piece needs to have smaller pieces on each side to ‘balance out’ the space. The spacing of items is important to enhance a feeling of harmony.
Lighting also really makes a difference and at Tan Boon Liat there is very good natural light from both ends of the store while a grand chandelier is installed at the entrance to welcome the customers and sets the mood.
Styling Antiques with Modern Shelving
Many people now live in modern houses, are antiques difficult to incorporate into a modern or contemporary home?
When it comes to styling antiques, you will be surprised how versatile antique furniture can be, they can complement a classical style, but can also work very well within a modern setting or even in a minimalist concept. They can create such an interesting contrast with a bright modern artwork on the wall for example, or a contemporary piece of furniture.
Depending on the style and type of material and finishing, antique furniture can be strong and imposing or quiet and complimentary to the other pieces around it. I would say they are very diverse to work with.
Rosewood Bookcases from Gujarat styled with interesting Artifacts
At The Past Perfect Collection you create different spaces within the store and style antiques with interesting artifacts. Could you explain how you achieve this?
When I am working at The Past Perfect Collection, I try to create 'rooms' in the store by grouping a number of interesting pieces that would either compliment each other or accentuate the other. To soften and warm up the look I would add some beautiful throw cushions, nice fresh floral or foliage arranged in vessels and the for that luxurious signature Past Perfect look, the silver collections and artefacts, all personally sourced during Past Perfect's many trips to India. This will lead the customer through the space and hopefully they will find it exciting to explore these various 'rooms'.
For the styling of these bookcases, for example I used some of the collectables at Past Perfect to create a ‘story’.
I used a Ganesha statue, a gong from Myanmar as well as a reclining Buddha and other eclectic items to create a ‘well-travelled’, masculine ensemble.
Antique Roll Top Desk styled for a photoshoot by Chris Chan
What makes styling antiques different from styling modern furniture?
It is always exciting to work at Past Perfect or on a client's home who has a collection of antiques or is keen to start a collection. Antique furniture has a certain presence when installed in a room as they draw your eyes towards them. They are beautiful to look at but at the same time are functional. An antique desk, for example fits the needs of modern life as much as it did when it was made.
They are also conversational pieces because of their rich background and history which breathes life to a room with exciting stories to tell. Not many modern pieces of furniture have these qualities.
How do you feel when a new shipment of antique furniture arrives in The Past Perfect Collection’s showroom?
I get excited working with and styling antiques so when a new shipment arrives at Past Perfect, my heart will beat a beat or two faster as I see those cartons being opened and can't wait to marvel and have them installed into the showroom.