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Hamptons Life

Oct 18, 2019 12:12 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Antiques Are Poised To Make A Comeback

An antique French door with a custom base has been transformed into a coffee table, and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe screen prints hang above the fireplace. KYRIL BROMLEY
Oct 21, 2019 4:58 AM



I have been seeing a lot of articles about the imminent demise of the market for antiques, specifically English and French.

As far as design magazines are concerned, this would seem to be true since the interiors being showcased are bereft of antiques and, one might say, bereft of any style whatsoever. In fact, most are infused with the stark look of a timeshare or a hastily called photo shoot in rooms where you can almost smell the paint drying on the walls as you leaf through the magazine pages.

I, for one, think that antiques will make a come back, and nothing gives me more hope than knowing many people are still using their antiques even in contemporary houses.

As if to prove my point, imagine my luck to be invited for dinner with friends in a contemporary home in East Hampton not long ago. Foregoing the predictable, the owners chose to mix their eclectic collection of antiques with a modern ethos and in so doing created a unique, interesting and sophisticated interior. In the photos that accompany this article you can see French, English and mid-century modern pieces transitionally placed in the rooms, giving the whole house warmth. Not only that, the antiques all have stories to tell.

The biggest story is a pair of English Tudor chairs, or, more precisely, hall chairs. A carved Tudor Rose appears in the center of the seat apron, which is augmented by a stylized crown on the back. Quite plain other than the carving details, these chairs were used in hallways beside bedroom doors for the royal protectors or bodyguards. In the daytime they were used by maids and ladies- in- waiting. They have provenance having been bought in London 25 years ago from a reputable dealer and would be sought after by Anglophiles or anyone into English history.

A huge French cCountry bookcase dominates one wall of the living room. It’s almost 12 feet tall, built in three sections and is a combination of bookcase and storage with glass doors above and white painted doors below. The owners have only modified the unit only by adding lighting elements in the bookcase sections. Most likely made in the mid-19th century, this is a fine example of French country craftsmanship. It’s also very simple; it’s lines are clean, not fussy, not to mention practical by using glass doors that prevent dust from accumulating on the books and accessories within.

The living room also boasts an antique French door the owners had a custom base made for and which is used as the coffee table. Legend has it that it was removed from a chateau where Mary and Anne Boleyn lived when they were teenagers. I can’t verify that story, but the door is definitely old and the hardware seems to be of the right period.

Over the fireplace are four of Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn Monroe screen prints” portraits from the pop-art era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. And it all works! The antiques, the artwork, the modern upholstery and rug: It all works together beautifully and connotes the sophisticated style of the owners. The living room is not the only room where the placement of antiques has enhanced the visual experience of that room. Adjacent to the entrance foyer is a den/TV room where we find an antique Turkish rug with modern and mid-century furniture such as the Knoll table and Mies chairs.

Antique paintings and artwork accessorize the entry stairwell, the hallways and the bedrooms. Sometimes just a single painting, like over the bed in the master bedroom, connects all the elements of the room into a peaceful environment. This is a recurring theme in this home. Why use more when one good thing can do so much? This can be the lesson for buying and using antiques in our homes. Buy one good thing and you have the making of a room with a view. A point of view that is, one that reflects who you are and one that can be used as efficiently as the antiques in this house.

I encourage people to buy antiques now when the prices are more affordable than ever because just like the stock market and clothing styles, antiques will make their comeback.

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