Sunday, April 17, 2016

Decorating With Antiques

The start of this year has been the busiest in recent memory. In late winter, as I was finishing up two projects, I began two more and one of those lovely new clients, Alice, has paid me the highest compliment I can imagine. Regarding a piece of furniture she needs, she asked, "Can you just pick it out for me?" I've been waiting my whole career for someone to say that to me.

Alice has recently acquired a pretty house in a quiet, leafy neighborhood where she is starting over, so to speak, in the first house she is doing entirely on her own. She envisions a mostly neutral palette, along the lines of my former house which she saw in New England Home magazine, and hopes to achieve the feeling of a retreat with comfortable upholstery but one that inspires the imagination. How better to create that atmosphere than mixing in some well-chosen antiques?

Living where I do, with few decorating and design resources, I rely on the internet to keep me informed between trips to the Boston Design Center and I do much of my research and purchasing online. And while antique shops can be found throughout much of New England, the college town I call home does not host a single one so over the last year and a half the online marketplace The HighBoy has become my go-to source for interesting and affordable antiques and accessories.

A few of the items on my personal wish list: A pair of  Louis XVI Style Painted Armchairs, a set of  Pressed French Botanicals, and a Swedish Gustavian Sideboard
An internet search for antiques can yield a dizzying number of sites with varying degrees of functionality and ease of use. What I love about The HighBoy is how straightforward the website is; it is simple to search and makes it easy to find what you're looking for. They offer extensive options in a myriad of styles of furniture, art and decorative accessories. The founders of the site, who have a background selling in antiques, collaborate with select antique and fine art dealers across the country. They have established a selection of curated collections and made the experience of discovering and sourcing beautiful antiques available to everyone, regardless of one's location and budget.

So for Alice's new place we are beginning with a living room/study where she can work, have a glass of wine with a friend or stretch out and watch a movie. The three distinct areas in the long room will be defined by sisal rugs from Pottery Barn.

The pieces we are sourcing from The HighBoy will be the desk and side chairs and the pair of end tables next to the loveseats flanking the fireplace. Upholstered furniture will come from my long-time source, The Charles Stewart Company. Alice's taste leans toward the romantic; she likes a mix of French and English styles and has decided on pieces similar to the following:

In the living room/study: a French Carved Fruitwood Open Arm Fauteuil, a French Provincial Bureau Plat Writing Table, and a pair of Georgian Style Mahogany Pembroke Tables.
Next we will be looking for dining room chairs to complement a pretty table Alice already has, some pieces to complete a comfortable guest room and a few decorative accessories; Alice has begun her own wish list:

Additionally, The HighBoy publishes an excellent online magazine, The Weekly, which features articles on the history of different periods and styles in design combined with beautiful imagery. It is an excellent source of information and inspiration.

Spring, as it does in northern New England, has arrived all at once and we have had a stretch of beautiful days, warm enough to leave the windows open. It is the kind of weather that gives one a sense of well being. I hope you have same wherever you are and wish you a wonderful week ahead.


  1. Phyllis, it sounds as if you have been very busy and that is a good thing, I think! I have never heard of High Boy and am going o go check it out, there seems to be a beautiful selection of beautiful pieces.

    Your clients room and new place sounds like it is going to be a lovely, cosy retreat.

    Have a great day!

  2. Hi Phyllis, I loved seeing you pop up on my blogroll!
    What a fun project , she sounds like a super lady and client!
    Love the Highboy, I interviewed the founders last year and they really know the business!

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  3. I don't blame her---I'd let you choose for me too! Your house (before the move) was one of the most inviting and lovely homes online.
    It's good to know about an online antique dealer. Fortunately, Southern California has plenty of antique stores, both high end and bargain places. I don't need a thing, but I often think it would be fun to start over with a budget that allowed for some fun pieces.

  4. Yes, you have been busy and your client sounds like a dream client. I guess she knows talent when she sees it. Love your plans! The weather here in NJ has been beautiful this past week or so. Hope all is well with you!

  5. Looks stunning!It's really wonderful!
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  6. I have not been on the HighBoy's site since's its launch ... thanks for the reintroduction! I love the items on your personal wish list especially the beautiful botanicals. I have a collection of herbariums that I bought at the Scott Antique market about two years ago that I have yet to frame.! I also love the bleached Mouton leg chairs... those are the exact thing I went in search of for my dining room and came up empty handed. I can't wait to see the finished project! Your plan is beautiful and with your touch I can only imagine how lovely the home will be when you finish!

  7. Hi was so nice to see your recent post pop up! Looks like you have been a busy gal...all good things. Thanks for the heads up on Highboy, going to check them out. Love all of your ideas and cannot wait to see it progress:)

  8. YAY you are back I would check all the time since you are on my must have blogs!! I love Highboy too and this room looks wonderful, looking forward to more posts!!

  9. Two new posts - yay!! I missed this one. Beautiful selections and a thoughtful floorplan - love it! Thanks for sharing the Highboy, Phyllis. I'm not familiar with it. Will check it out.

  10. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumble upon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read articles from other authors
    and practice something from their websites...

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  11. This post is so informative and makes a very nice image on the topic in my mind. It is the first time I visit your blog, but I was extremely impressed. Keep posting as I am gonna come to read it everyday! find more info


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