Q. What are your top choices for rugs and drapes that not only look picture perfect, but can also take the everyday abuse of family life? A. Always seagrass, which is so much better than sisal. Always. Or if the client dislikes seagrass I will suggest a flat, patterned carpet in two colors, like a lattice or a fleur de lis. If a client refuses and wants a plain carpet, I’m lost. There is nothing - nothing - I dislike more! For curtains I love to use silk, mostly taffetas and a matte taffeta if possible. If not silk then linen and I love linen in a small pinstripe. I have this in my house and I could use it on every job if allowed. Q. Where do you like to shop? A. For furniture, I rarely buy new. I like to use vintage gateleg tables that I buy on eBay. They’re cheap and they weigh a ton if they are from the 1930’s or 40’s. I get them and stain them really dark. For coffee tables I like tea tables, if they aren’t too high obscuring the view of the TV, and I also like an old dining table with the legs cut down. When needing to purchase new furniture I shop mostly at Halo Styles, wholesale. I also like Artesia and Noir Furniture for new pieces, and Aidan Gray - the best lamps are to be found there, plus they have great chairs and chandeliers. Q. How can one have a realistic and comfortable lifestyle when decorating with antiques? A. Begin with reproduction chairs, their scale fit people of this century better than antique chairs. I don’t buy antique sofas, unless it’s a settee or a daybed. However, daybeds can be tricky to make comfortable enough to watch TV. So instead I prefer decorating with one big antique piece in the room, such as an armoire, console or large wine table rather than seating. These large antiques make the room look and feel more grounded. Q. What is the biggest mistake to avoid when choosing accessories and furnishings? A. Scale, absolutely. Things need to fit in the room in terms of scale, even when it comes to fabrics. What might look good on small samples can look terrible when on a large piece, so considering scale is key. Q. Can pale colors and silk fabrics work for a family home? What about kids, pets, and husbands? A. Sure, if you use slipcovers. I can’t imagine a family with kids and pets not having slipcovers. I know you like washable faux white leather Valorie, and that’s another alternative to slipcovers that’s great. I’ve yet to use the white leather, but one day I hope to!
...large antiques make the room look and feel more grounded. 43
House of Fifty magazine July/August 2012 issue