San Francisco: 415.626.2320
Newport Beach: 949.759.1362
La Jolla: 858.729.9854
Toll free: 877.626.2336

The Older The Better: Antiques Infuse Soul & Style

On February 21, 2013, in Posts, by Warren Sheets

I love antiques and their classic shapes and forms. Generally speaking an antique is an item that is more than 100 years old.

There are many periods in the history of furniture, and learning about these eras and styles makes purchasing a special vintage chest of drawers or a unique side table much more interesting. Not surprisingly, the public – and even industry professionals – often confuse the styles of our ancestors. In reality, only a very small percentage of the population can really distinguish one style from another. A great resource for those interested in antiques is Millers Antiques Guide.

The table in this breakfast nook is a rustic antique  Tudor style.

The table in this breakfast nook is a rustic antique Tudor style.

Without giving a three hour seminar on each of the distinct styles over the past four hundred years, following are just a few of the highlights of iconic British and American styles – note that each period closely influences the style of its successors:

  • Jacobean (1600s) – Influenced by the Elizabethan era, this medieval English style features solid construction, straight lines, dark finishes and ornate carvings. Much of early American furniture is based on this style.
  • William and Mary (1690-1725) – Named after British monarchs William and Mary but influenced by the Dutch and popular in the American colonies, furniture crafted in this style features ornate legs with a ball or Spanish foot, caned seats and Oriental lacquers.
  • Queen Anne (1700-1755) – Graceful Queen Anne styles are based on William and Mary period furniture and known for the cabriole leg and characterized by claw and ball, scroll, spade and square feet, wing and fiddle-back chairs.

    This beautiful dining room features Queen Anne style antique chairs.

    This beautiful dining room features Queen Anne style antique chairs.

  • Georgian (1714-1790) – Emerging from the reign of Kings George I and George II, the Georgian style is considered a more ornate version of the Queen Anne style with heavier proportions.
  • Federal (1780-1820) – Lighter and more delicate than preceding styles, Federal era furniture in America is often constructed of cherry. Much of it features symbols of American freedom, such as eagles and stars.
  • Shaker (1800s) – Shaker craftsmen are known for creating beauty through utility, and their sturdy, simple furniture is often constructed from maple, cherry, birch and walnut featuring straight tapered legs with ball and socket construction and mushroom shaped wooden knobs.
  • Victorian (1840-1910) – Covering the long reign of Queen Victoria, the Victorian era produced furniture with distinctive influences from past periods including Gothic, Tudor, Elizabethan, Renaissance and Neo Classical with extensive ornamentation. Enduring pieces such as the round ottoman, balloon back chair and single end sofa were developed during this period.
  • Arts & Craft (1880-1910) – During the latter part of the Victorian era, the Arts & Crafts movement emerged as a more rustic, natural counterpart. Furniture is characterized by simple utilitarian design with leaders of the movement including William Morris and John Ruskin.
One-of-a-kind pieces, like this antique French mantel clock, add style and character to a home.

One-of-a-kind pieces, like this antique French mantel clock, add style and character to a home.

This list is just a small sampling of the many beautiful antique furniture styles which run the gamut from Gothic to Chippendale. Do you collect antiques? If so, what’s your favorite style or period?


Tagged with:

Are you a globetrotter? Do you love to collect mementos for your home while travelling?

Nothing adds to the décor of a home like special artifacts picked up on one’s travels. But foresight and planning are a must when shopping for your home while on the road. Following are some pointers:

Do your research and stay on point. Always know what you intend to purchase and do so in moderation. Be careful not to bid impulsively at auctions. When purchasing from another individual, it’s OK to say, “I’d like to think about this and let you know.” Do your best to take your emotion out of the deal. And most importantly, don’t collect just for the sake of collecting. Collect items that truly interest you, regardless of their value.

Purchase according to your theme and color palette.

Ensure items are a fit. How can you make sure that a lamp, rug or chair will fit into your existing home décor and space? Know your interior, and know it well. I typically bring 8-1/2″ x 11″ file folders with small swatches of the room’s fabrics along with photos of furniture, and a furniture floor plan (to scale, along with the size of the furniture pieces). There are a variety of apps you can use to help with space planning and color options.

Purchase portable items that you love and are a reflection of you.

Consider numbers, pricing and more: When shopping for collectibles you intend to put on shelves, make sure you know the number of shelves and the continual amount of linear footage. The rule of thumb: approximately two accessories per linear foot. But before shopping for antiques, purchase an updated copy of Miller’s Antique Guide or better yet, bring your tablet or iPad with you, so you can access their website for current information to help guide you on pricing.

When shopping for artwork, know the size of your wall.

Measure, measure, measure: When shopping for artwork, know the size of your wall and the size of the painting. An oil painting should not consume more than 60% of the allowable space of a wall (measuring from end to end, horizontally). This measurement should be inclusive of the frame. Since frames are typically three inches wide, add at least six inches in both the width and height to the size of the painting.

When shopping while you travel, think small. Purchase portable, easily packable items – pieces that will accent your room, not anchor it. Above all, the pieces you buy should reflect you. Purchase according to a theme and color palette instead of accumulating a hodgepodge of knick-knacks.

Always know what you intend to purchase and do so in moderation.

Where do you like to travel and what little treasures have you picked up along the way? Post your photos and stories on our Facebook page.

Tagged with:
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Linkedin