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


Sofa Story

silhouette of George III needlework settee with asymmetrical back

Like any work of art, this English settee can be appreciated for its stunning details.

During the late 18th century English women were known for the size of their hair, their clothes, and some – like Georgiana Cavendish, the ill-fated Duchess of Devonshire – for their beauty, disastrous love affairs, and even their love of gambling (which eventually did poor Georgiana in). So it’s not surprising to see a basket of wool, a ladies’ tasseled bag, a folding game board, or a shawl depicted in a piece of Georgian-era needlework since these were certainly elements of a woman’s world in Great Britain ca.… Continue Reading


Displaying Collections

collection of vintage wire rug beaters

Collections create an impression when displayed en masse.

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 gathering a collection creates a dramatic impact.  Farm animal weather vanes, aged by nature, gracefully strut across this paneled wall without singing “Old McDonald.”

A grouping of antique carpentry tools evoke an emotional response from the collector when their history includes ancestry.  The contrast of the vintage wooden pieces against burlap wall is perfection.

An assemblage of wire rug beaters are visually appealing with their curious, handmade shapes. … Continue Reading


Showing Off Ceramics

white pottery displayed against a dark red wall and shelves

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 an array of 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], massed together on a chippy white shelf, makes an unmistakable statement about 1950s sensibility.

I’m always surprised by how glamorous assorted white pottery pieces can be. After all, it’s white. But shown against a seductively dark red wall and matching shelves, even the simplest collection of whites would shine. … Continue Reading


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


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