Identify #Antique Furnishings

The Dictionary defines Antique as:

“antique [ænˈtiːk] n

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Antiques)

a.  a decorative object, piece of furniture, or other work of art created in an earlier period, that is collected and valued for its beauty, workmanship, and age
b.  (as modifier) an antique shop
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Antiques) any object made in an earlier period
3. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) the. the style of ancient art, esp Greek or Roman art, or an example of it”

In the Home Interiors, Design and Furniture world, antiques are most often classified by their age and characteristics, age being of 100 years or more. Items that are not that old are often considered  ‘Classics”. So, with that in mind, what makes wood furniture of 100 years old or more valuable? Primarily the origin, handcrafted or workmanship, the artisan or woodworker, the condition and the type of material, i.e. rare species of wood and of course, the finish.

Educating yourself with the world of antiques prior to venturing out and investing would be highly recommended! Good ways to do this is by visiting your local library where you should be able to find extensive information to read up on or even take a class at your local community college or just spend time at antique shows learning by speaking with the vendors. As a designer, I encourage my clients to invest in one or more antiques. Antique pieces can be  assimilated into almost any type of decor when done properly and scale and proportion are considered.

A basic and primary characteristic of a genuine antique furnishing would be dovetailed drawers; devoid of modern nails, and screws.

A drawer with only a few dovetail joints, with the ‘pins’ at the top and bottom being narrower than the dovetail (part in between) indicate a hand made joint as shown above.

Notice in this picture that the joints are all uniform in the drawer corner shown above depicting machine cut joinery.

In addition to the method of construction, the type of wood also makes a big difference when identifying authentic antique furnishings. Oak was broadly used prior to the 1700’s, however after 1700 and on; walnut and mahogany woods were commonly used. American antiques were commonly crafted from pine as it was very plentiful and equally easy to work with. Higher quality antique pieces were constructed with walnut, mahogany or even maple and cherry woods.  Genuine antiques are rarely perfectly cut due to the hand crafted nature whereas a reproduction will be precise and symmetrical as a result of  the process of machinery. If you were to investigate the wood closely and were able to determine the saw cuts, you can assume hand cut or circular saw cut which will help you date the item. Circular saws and machine cutting for furniture came along around 1860, making even a machine crafted piece an antique that still falls into the age category of being more than 100 years old. However, this serves to increase the demand for hand crafted pieces causing them to be more sought after and valuable!

I hope you enjoyed your little Antiques 101, check back soon for more on Antiques. If you have a question you would like answered, please submit it below!

Happy Hunting!

 
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Top 5 Ways To Keep Your Balance in Design ~

Let’s chat about BALANCE.  Balance in Interior Design is not too different from balance in other areas of your personal or professional life. Why?  Dictionary.com defines it this way;

bal·ance

[bal-uhns]  noun, verb, -anced, -anc·ing.

noun
  • a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight amount, etc.
  • something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
  • mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

Notice  common words of calm and stability? That is what proper balance can bring to a well designed space. When a room is out of balance, you will tend to feel out of balance entering it or spending time in it.

A well balanced space can be determined in more than one way.

1. Visual Balance or weight: This can relate to a large bank of windows on one end of  a room with the opposing wall with nothing but a 12″ picture hanging in the center of it. It is important to properly balance the weight in the room. One side should not be overbearing. A solution to the bank of windows on a wall is a set of bookcases along the opposing wall to create visual balance or weight.  Notice in the definition above that other words for balance is weight and equilibrium.

Visual Balance, in my opinion, is the number one most important form of balance in designing a beautiful, inviting space and the one I will spend the most time chatting about.  It is wide ranging and encompasses more than the architecture of the room or large furnishings. Visual balance is key when accessorizing a room. Too much clutter can throw off even a well designed and balanced space. Balance your art and objects of desire appropriately, or better yet, have a professional Interior Designer assist you.

Visual balance allows your eye to rest between furnishings or objects.  A focal point is to draw your attention in a strong way to a particular spot or location in a space.  A focal point can also set the tone of the room and need to be balanced. A large stone fireplace on one wall is a beautiful focal point and you don’t necessarily want or need to detract from it, but how you arrange your seating around it can be very important to the success of the room.  The space created around furnishings and objects give the eye a place to rest. The balancing of tall and short is also key which gets us into another area of design, proportion, which Chatti Patti will address in a future post.  Maintaining good balance in very large rooms can be very tricky for an untrained eye and this is where an experienced Interior Designer can assist you in your quest for a beautiful and restful space.

Visual Balance

Beautiful symmetrical balance depicted here in this room. Photo via Pinterest with no credits.

2. Light Balance. You need to have more than a single glaring light in the center of the ceiling. Consider adding some perimeter recessed can lights or eyeball lights in front of a fireplace or bookcase. If you are using lamps, then you will want to balance the light within the space so as not to create dark spots. Offset the natural light coming in through the windows by installing a pendant light over a corner chair to cozy up the space at night or better yet, my favorite: sconces!

Light Balance

Notice chandelier, sconces, floor lamp, daylight and candles all contribute to a well balanced lighting plan.Via Pinterest, Google Images.

 3. Color Balance: If you have opted for a contrast or accent wall, then you need to balance the room with some of that color elsewhere in the space. Suppose you have a strong turquoise wall, placing similar color objects of art or pillows throughout the area or incorporating turquoise into a window treatment or area rug will bring in the aspect of color balance. The multiple strong accent colors shown in the picture below are well balanced, thus keeping the design pleasing to the eye, by the repetition and even color blocking of the color selections. Although the colors in the room below are very vibrant, the positioning of the accents still create a restful space!
Color Balance

Notice the accent colors are distributed around the room. The floor is anchored by a black rug and offset with black shaded pendant lighting. Photo via Pinterest, no url.

4. Texture Balance: If you have rough hewn wood flooring, don’t furnish out the room with smooth shiny objects and furnishings. Incorporate texture into the space by the addition of wool throws or an animal skin rug, etc. to “equal” out the texture.  Heavier weight fabrics such as the suede sofa shown below blend with the “feel” of the room in harmony. There is also a restful tone to this room created by the unification of color.

Textural Balance

Notice the overall rustic feel of this room via Pinterest. No furnishings or objects are too elegant for the comfortable balance of this space. Photo via atlantahomesmag.com.

5. Cost Balance: What in the world is this? This is a way I help clients achieve a well balanced project when keeping within a budget. An example of poor cost balance would be spending $10,000 on a down filled cushioned sofa and running out of money and then completing the room with put it together yourself furnishings. Great to invest in a few good pieces, but keep the “balance” of what you need to purchase in mind when writing those checks.

As mentioned earlier, not too very different from balancing your life in all other ways, keeping an eye on time with family, friends, work and play all take some effort yet yield great results as in good design!

Thanks for stopping by, please feel free to comment or ask a question!

Check back soon to hear what Chatti Patti is up to!

Decorating with Fragrance for the Holidays ~

It’s that time of year! You know, bustling about, shopping for gifts, preparing the house for Holiday gatherings. Well, I have discovered the most beautifully scented candle to set the tone! It’s called “Slice of Spice” by Claire Burke. It’s one of those rare fragrances that can transition from autumn into Christmas! Truly this fragrance is all my favorites wrapped into one! Pick up several, perfect gifts for school teachers, your hair dresser, neighborhood party, etc.