Monday, June 11, 2012

Antiques in Design

My favorite element in design has always been antiques.  I bought my first antique when I was 17.  It was a depression era dresser that gave my bedroom so much more character than the mass produced, fake oak dresser I had used up until that purchase.  While, technically, the dresser didn't meet the criteria for a true antique -- 100 years or more -- to me, it was everything I loved about old things.  The craftsmanship was impeccable, the patina perfect and the story behind it -- unknown but limitless.

I love that antiques have a story.  It is especially rewarding when you know what that story is, but even if you don't, its history makes it feel so much more alive than a modern piece.  Many years ago, I acquired an English pine chest of drawers that was covered in wormholes.  My husband hated it.  But I absolutely treasured the life that those wormholes represented.  How long and where had the chest been sitting for that patina to establish?  Who rescued and refinished it but left the holes that added so much to the character?  And how did that chest of drawers find its way to America from Europe?

I have always envied families who have troves of family heirlooms to pass down.  My family history is one of extreme modesty.  My heritage is strictly working class -- grocers, factory workers, truck drivers and farmers. There was no family wealth or possessions to pass along.  But I couldn't have asked for a better family tree.  I adored my great grandparents and grandparents.  They, along with my parents, helped me to become the down to earth person I am.  I stand on the shoulders of giants.  But, I always longed for a tangible piece with our own history attached to give to my children to link them to their past.  I think because I wasn't born into that kind of family it makes me treasure old things even more.  So for all you folks out there turning up your noses at Grandma's china cabinet, take it and be proud of it!

Sustainability lives in every piece with a history.  It preserves our world.  We don't disturb a resource or create a new material.  We recycle our own heritage.  With antiques from other cultures, we are awakened to an alternative beauty and wisdom.  In design, antiques add so much more character and warmth to a room than new mass produced accessories.  They keep us tethered to our past.

Until you can get back to Vignette and see all of our "new" old treasures from our most recent picking adventure, I hope you enjoy these pictures of truly beautiful, visually inspiring old pieces. (images via pinterest and tumblr)  
Old Books in a large grouping... love that!

Old with new (see the stainless steel dishwasher).  
When it comes to rugs, the older and more threadbare, the better.
Even an old tin can looks pretty with flowers.
Gorgeous Gustavian 

(Post written by Lisa, owner of Vignette)

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