Archive | Collecting

Vintage, antique and modern collections of objects and ways they are used, displayed or arranged throughout the house.

Collector’s Day at the Auction

country auction - vintage country wooden wheelbarrow - Atticmag

A country auction, to paraphrase Forest Gump, is like a box of chocolates.

You never know what you’re going to get at a country auction, even if you study the catalogue online. What pried me out of the house on a sunny Saturday morning was the prospect of some 80 cast iron American doorstops coming up in a sale nearby. And while I have limited my collection of flower doorstops to a very specific type, I was hoping there might be a new gem for me. However, on the way into the sales room I couldn’t resist taking a photo of an old wooden wheelbarrow [top] that would look make a great flower stand for a patio, no?… Continue Reading

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Sofa Story

antique George III needlework sofa with asymmetrical back - WOI via atticmag

Like any work of art, this antique needlepoint sofa can be appreciated for its stunning details and fascinating history.

During the late 18th century English women were known for certain attributes: the size of their hair and the cut of their dresses. Georgiana Cavendish — the ill-fated Duchess of Devonshire – also was a famed beauty, disastrous love affairs, and gambling compulsion eventually did her in. So it’s not surprising to see a basket of wool, a ladies’ tasseled bag, a folding game board, or a shawl depicted on an antique needlepoint sofa covered by a large scale piece of Georgian-era needlework.… Continue Reading

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Displaying Collections

displaying collections - antique weather vanes - kelly and olive via atticmag

When displaying collections, grouping similar pieces together creates maximum impact.

It happens to all of us. We fall in love with something and, before long, the objects get scattered around the house.  The last thing many of us want is a themed room but displaying collections by gathering objects together creates a dramatic impact.  Farm animal weather vanes, are a popular collector’s item. The various types of metal take on different color effects and patinas. Aged by nature, these barnyard favorites gracefully strut across this paneled wall without singing “Old McDonald.”

A grouping of antique carpentry tools evoke an emotional response from the collector when they history is personal.… Continue Reading

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Showing Off Ceramics

displaying ceramics - turquoise 1950s Haeger and McCoy pottery collection - country living via atticmag

When displaying ceramics, high contrast color helps collectibles pop off the shelves.

Few aspects of home décor are as interesting as well-displayed objects. I adore pillows and lush upholstery details but displaying ceramics — interesting vases, plates and cache pots in a single vibrant color like turquoise seems like an object lesson of its own. Fluted, high-gloss Haeger vases and McCoy pieces [top] are massed together on a chippy white shelf. They make an unmistakable statement about 1950s sensibility. The ceramics have interesting textures based on bamboo, wood, leaf and floral motifs as well.

I’m always surprised by how glamorous assorted white pottery pieces can be.… Continue Reading

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Bronze and Enamel Tables

brass and enamal occasional table by Philip and Kelvin Laverne

A collection of Philip and Kelvin Laverne tables.

From the early 1950’s into the 70’s, New York father and son artisans Philip and Kelvin Laverne created furniture and decorative arts from metals, including enameled bronze over pewter tables.  The elaborate hand applied enamel pieces were buried for six weeks enabling the secret mix of soil to react with the acid-etched design, creating a fabulous patina.  They designed many one-of-a-kind pieces and others were often limited to editions of twelve.  I admit to having a soft spot for the Chin Ying coffee table, as I learned to walk around the one owned by my parents.… Continue Reading

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Swedish Clock Love

emerald green Swedish clock with gilded Chinoiserie decoration

Imagine the stories about who made these timepieces and how.

There is something about their graceful lines, the wonderful faded paint and the unpredictable intricacy and personality of Swedish long-case clocks that captivates me. These are hand-made pieces, fashioned slowly by craftsmen with without power tools, and painted without the aid of good lighting or magnification. Yet their decoration and carving is exquisite. Often referred to Mora clocks (after the town of Mora in Sweden’s Dalarna province) this type of paint-decorated clock was made throughout Scandinavia. Swedish clocks have their quirks. Though mostly made by men they have feminine silhouettes and they can be surprisingly tall.… Continue Reading

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