What to consider before you furnish.
“The only rule I hold to is buy once, buy well,” says Guy Tarrant.
“Consider classic sofa shapes that are comfortable,” says Janice Kumar-Ward. “And stunning chairs in pairs. Anything in a pair looks great.”
Don’t fill your home with furniture and lighting from one period or one designer, says Bridget Foley. “It will end up looking like a showroom. Mix antiques with modern for a timeless look.”
“Never believe that one wonderful, expensive piece of furniture will make a room,” advises Christchurch artist and stylist Alexandra Weston.
A room full of books may be the best design classic ever.
“A favourite is the huge bookcase in my kitchen,” says Bridget Foley (whose own built-in bookcase is pictured above). “Great bookcases filled to the brim.”
Designs from the 50s and 60s, like the Eames Lounge Chair (bottom right), are always covetable.
“I love mid-century stuff,” says Ingrid Geldof. “The home I was brought up in was a classic deco house and full of 1950s furniture my European parents had bought. I still have some of these pieces.” Vic Bibby says a sofa with simple, clean lines is likely to stand the test of time. “The iconic Florence Knoll sofa is a great example of a design that will work in most settings and looks as good in a contemporary setting as it did in the 50s. Stick with a solid neutral colour and bring pattern in with cushions or an occasional chair.” Charlotte Minty appreciates retro furniture too: “The Thonet B9 chair in black with timber socks is a firm favourite in my household. I’ve admired the design of this chair since my student days. Its engineering and elegant lines give it presence in any room.” Guy Tarrant: “One of my favourite architects is Alvar Aalto, who also designed a lot of beautiful, yet very simple, furniture (left). I don’t think you can go wrong with some of his pieces in your home.”
Beautifully made pieces from yesteryear never lose their appeal.
“Adding antique furniture that you’ve discovered or has been passed down to you, and worldly accents you’ve picked up on travels, will create a more interesting, less trend-driven look,” says Vic Bibby. “Mixing them with modern pieces gives a space a contemporary vibe. One of my favourite pieces in our own home is an antique bridge table (pictured above) that belonged to my grandmother. It’s very sentimental to me. I hope to pass it on to one of my children one day.”
Amy Tennent is also keen on antiques: “Beautiful old wooden pieces of furniture that I have collected over time. I am a big fan of tan leather and wood.”
“My favourite item would have to be our oak extension oval dining table bought on Trade Me 10 years ago,” says Janice Kumar-Ward. “It seats 12 to 15 at Christmas but us four in a compact way throughout the year. It’s a classic that I hope we will have for years to come.”
Georgina Skinner of Prints by George loves antiques. “Second-hand shops have a better price point and there are often items that have been loved for years and now have nowhere to go. They are statement pieces; keep things simple and elegant to let the antiques shine.” >
‘The only rule I hold to is buy once, buy well’
– Guy Tarrant, architect
THIS PAGE Mix up furniture styles for a layered feel says interior designer Bridget Foley.OPPOSITE (bottom left) The bentwood Paimio chair by Alvar Aalto $6302 from Thonet, thonet.co.nz.