Old as new
With an assortment of consignment and antique stores peppering our region, we have opportunities for finding uncommon items to add patina to our interiors. We realize this is not a new theme, but rather an old one that warrants revisiting, much like the pieces themselves.
Old objects often come with unique stories because of their age andmost likely their multiple owners, stories that you might garner from the seller or ones that you imagine. Nonfiction versus fiction is beside the point. These stories add interest to interiors, giving them layers beyond newly purchased furniture. There is simply no reproduction or imitation that brings the same authenticity and soul to a space as one that has had another incarnation. These pieces harken back to earlier periods, bringing forth a myriad of connotation, memory, and ghosts of history and ways of life.
Rethinking use for old items is a fun exercise for the imagination. When you see jars of jewel-colored marbles, how might you use those in a newway? How could wooden vintage wooden rulers become wall art? How could antique wooden dovetailed drawers be incorporated into a contemporary steel conference table? Juxtaposing an old object with a contemporary one creates an engaging dialogue between the two. Like boxes of colorful vintage apothecary labels used for a feature wall, unexpected examples of reuse are found in local interiors.
Besides opportunities for exercising the imagination, the hunt provides the anticipation that a “treasure” might be uncovered at the bottom of a dusty shelf or hiding behind other goods. Old things in theWest have a longer shelf life because they do notmildew or rust as in the East, so we have a different assortment of finds. If you are an adrenaline craver, the excitement could even stir up that good ol’ neurochemical. The object might be something you have been looking for ormerely something that speaks to you. The object might be monetarily valuable or valuable solely in the fact that you respond to it and it is of personal value. Pricing for old objects can be less than retail pricing; however, it is not always the case as often as it once waswith the advent of Ebay and smartphones.
Collectibles love to have company. Collections of items such as horn cups, sculptural white teapots, sterling silver napkin rings, plumb bobs, handmade birdhouses can be artfully displayed in the interior to create a visual feature as well as a topic of conversation.
Generally speaking, upholstered furniture is fraught with difficulties. Often there is damage (for instance loose joints or worn webbing) to the integrity of the frame or finish— bleached, stained, cracked, chipped, scratched. Fabric is often worn, stained or unfit for its new home and is often more costly to have refurbished and reupholstered than the cost of the piece itself. Exceptions are when it is HEATHER VAN LUCHENE STEFFANY HOLLINGSWORTH a piece that has sentimental value, when it is highly collectible or valuable (such as antique European or original Mid-century Modern furniture), or when it possesses a certain je ne sais quoi for the space. Wooden pieces often also need some TLC, if intended to be functional versus merely admired. If the latter, frankly, often the crustier the better!
Now that you are inspired to think about objects from the past in a new way, may the hunt ensue for something that speaks to you.
Heather Van Luchene, ASID and Steffany Hollingsworth, ASID are partners in HVL Interiors, LLC, an interior-design firm offering professional residential and hospitality design services. Both areNew Mexico-licensed interior designers. They can be reached at (505) 983-3601 or info@ hvlinteriors.com.
Custom steel and vintage wooden drawer table at Hotel Parq Central