I have always loved “natural, time-worn antique surfaces.” Basically, it’s the natural wear on an antique that comes from use and love over a long period of time and turns a piece from drab to fabulous. I’ve always admired the grannies that painted, repainted and painted furniture again to give it a fresh look. Time, elements and natural wear transformed many of their furniture items into one-of-a-kind pieces of art.
When Rachel Ashwell released her book “Shabby Chic” in 1996, it stirred up an appreciation for time-worn decor and real antiques that had some loss (chipped, missing or slightly damaged but completely functional). Kirk Albert, a friend in Seattle who coined the phrase “perfect imperfections,” has an amazing curated shop which has a personality all its own, and contains unique, rare and sought after antiques and vintage objects.
Do-it-yourselfers like Martha Stewart, have helped teach millions to try and get “the look” of natural worn antiques by using paint, sand paper, steel wool and power sanders on random pieces of furniture. The results of such efforts is similar to the “knock-off Gucci purses” bought on the streets. Some folks are happy with the outcome, but the value of these pieces is not lasting and the savvy will always recognize that they are not real. There are plenty of foreign manufacturers that reproduce “the look”. Savvy collectors and designers recognize reproduction and steer clear.
It all comes down to taste. At Splurge, we search high and low to find the best of the best in antique and real, time-worn furnishings. If you are seeking authentic, make sure it’s original.
I stumbled into this business while hunting furniture for our 1st home 20 years ago. While frequenting antique stores, estate sales and garage sales I started putting names to the familiar faces that I was seeing each week. Once our home was furnished, I still had an urge to hunt for treasures. I soon learned that you can’t sleep in on Fridays and Saturdays or my new friends would find the treasures first and I would find the leftovers that were old and cheap and typically brown. I began filling the garage with my weekly finds and would invite my new friends to come and buy from me.
The unique and rare would sell! The ugly old, brown, cheap and common pieces began to take up residency in the garage forcing the wife’s jeep out.
Lesson learned. What happened was, I would see potential in a piece and think “all you need to do is” and I would buy it. Over time, that piece would have an extended stay in the garage or a storage unit and would ultimately become crap that no one wanted. If you’ve been antiquing, you have probably seen shops, malls, flea markets and antique shows that are full of these ugly, old, brown common pieces that nobody wants.
I have learned over the last 20 years that the rare, unusual, sought-out treasures that I “splurge” on are the first things that sell. I will continue to hold out for the pieces that spaces are designed around and that have stories.
Finding your decorative style can be challenging. There’s a desire to be progressive, edgy, current, hip and comfortable. There has been a huge resurgence to mid century modern style, the classic lines of a time that was simple yet progressive. The era was a huge shift from formal and boring.
The great thing about design is you don’t have to choose one style. It’s not all or nothing. You choose the things you love! You can still be progressive, edgy, current, hip by mixing mid century with something folky from a time that felt safe and wholesome and makes you feel comfortable.
Remember, you make the rules of decorating with what you love!
Large Folky Handmade Tin Star