I love interiors that incorporate vintage and antiques next to contemporary items. While you can buy factory-made ginger jars (I’m guilty) and reproductions, there’s something special about finding a beautiful, well-made antique item that can bring together your whole room.
I recently discovered that Sotheby’shas a home site with beautiful antique items for purchase online. It looks like they are also having a 20% off sale, which is even better. Explore my picks below (links at bottom of the post).
Chintz, botanicals, pale greens and whites, and antiques — Lee Radiwill’s New York iconic bedroom is beautiful, lively, cohesive, and calming.
Lee noted in her interview withArchitectural Digestthat she wanted the room to feel like she was in the country even though she amidst the busy city. She tried to include light and life into the room, incorporating botanicals into her design.
Below are several items to recreate the look of this gorgeous room.
Having climbed into the rabbit hole of One Kings Lane, I have decided to share several items I have been eyeing. From gilded mirrors to soft blue landscapes, these picks would add a touch of refinery and pops of color to a home.
Have you ever been to Newport, RI? I highly recommend a visit to see the historic coastal town and the extraordinary gilded-age mansions.
With the weather still chilly and dreary here, I took myself back to Newport via my photo album, to look through my photos from when I visited last summer. During my trip, I had purchased a pass to see several of the mansions I hadn’t been to yet, including Kingscote.
Kingscote is unlike many of the well-known mansions in Newport, such as the Breakers. Kingscote is more modest and one of the earlier summer “cottages”. Architect Richard Upjohn was commissioned to design the this Gothic Revival style house by the Jones family in 1839. After the Civil War, the house was sold to the Kings family and renamed Kingscote. In the 1880’s the King family hired Stanford White of the famous firm, McKim, Mead, and White, to expand the house and redecorate several rooms. (Learn more here)
I loved this house and its interiors. It’s now my favorite of the Newport mansions, after the Isaac Bell House. One of the rooms I most loved in Kingscote was this blue and floral bedroom (main image), which I believe belonged to King’s daughter, Gwendolen. I pulled some items below to recreate the breezy yet sophisticated look of the room.
Another week down! There are some amazing sales online right now. Even if you aren’t in a position to purchase anything now, it’s nice to browse and dream of decorating your rooms and what you could wear when the pandemic settles. Have a great weekend!
I have been thinking a lot of the importance of having a beautiful yet comfortable bedroom. An elegantly designed bedroom should be a soothing place for retreat, a place for relaxation, a place of privacy, and a place for dreaming.
I’ve been down the rabbit-hole of exploring antique and vintage beds from 1st Dibs. I could spend all day on that site, looking at all the various styles and antiques available. On a daily basis, I seem to switch my dream interior style from English Countryside, to Art Nouveau, or Art Deco, to Mid-Century Modern. There are too many interesting and gorgeous options to choose from.
I’ve saved several of my favorite beds from 1st Dibs below. Let me know your favorite.
I will also leave you with this lovely poem about beds:
At last I can be with you! The grinding hours since I left your side! The labor of being fully human, working my opposable thumb, talking, and walking upright. Now I have unclasped unzipped, stepped out of. Husked, soft, a be-er only, I do nothing, but point my bare feet into your clean smoothness feel your quiet strength the whole length of my body. I close my eyes, hear myself moan, so grateful to be held this way.
In the bedroom of the house I just moved into, there is a yellow floral wallpaper that was installed around 30 years ago. The wallpaper is beautiful, with yellow flowers, bows, and elements chinoiserie design. Unfortunately, the wallpaper has not been maintained and due to age and multiple leaks, the wallpaper is stained yellow, cracked, and peeling in most places. I tried to clean it in effort to salvage the paper, but alas, I think it will have to be removed. If anyone knows where I can find wallpaper to replicate what I have (the main image of this post) let me know!
Laying in my bed at night, staring at my yellow floral wallpaper, at a time when we are all confined in our homes during the Covid-19 crisis, I can’t help but to think of the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper“, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892.
Not being a literary scholar, I hadn’t been familiar with the story, but I stumbled upon it last year when browsing Project Gutenberg’s classics (side note: Project Gutenberg is a great resource for free classic literature. I was able to connect it to my library app on my phone to download and read the books).
The story is about the narrator, who is a young woman, and her husband who move to an old mansion for the summer. Her husband is a physician who diagnosed her with nervous depression after the birth of their baby. He believed that only rest would relieve her symptoms and required her to remain in the upstairs bedroom, which had been once used as a nursery. The narrator kept a secret journal while confined in the room, where her husband was trapping her under the facade of “treatment”. With little else to stimulate her mind, she focused her journal entries on describing the old, peeling yellow wallpaper in the bedroom, which over time became revolting and menacing to her. She started to see the patterns as bars of a cage and then saw woman in the paper’s sub-pattern, who seemed to be stuck behind the wallpaper’s bars and was, “stooping down and creeping”. The narrator believed she must set the woman in the paper free, and later believed there were actually many other women in the wallpaper too. Near the end of the story, she was convinced that she herself had also come out of the wallpaper. Finally, she locked the door to her room and in a wild craze, she teared the yellow wallpaper off the walls and declared “I’ve got out at last… in spite of you.”
Gilman’s piece is an important work of early feminist literature, as she described both the oppression against women and mental health issues. She wrote the story based on her own experience with mental health and the treatments of her male doctors (It is also suspected that Gilman may had been suffering from postpartum depression).
This long-winded background and summary of the story is just to say that with the current confinement during the pandemic and lack of social stimuli, I empathize with those who have mental illnesses, who may be suffering at this time. Even those who had not suffered from mental illnesses in the past may be feeling depression and anxiety at this time. If you know someone who has or had suffered from mental illness, use this time to check up on them with phone calls, video calls, or other means of communication (Please check with your doctor if you are experiencing depression).
While I am practicing social distancing in my home, I will be tearing off my own yellow wallpaper (though not because it’s menacing). I’ve been collecting floral wallpaper options as potential replacement options–take a look at some of my favorites below.
I’ve just moved into an 1891 house with beautiful hardwood floors throughout. However, the rooms are missing the coziness, color, and character a rug can bring. I’m currently on the prowl for beautiful rugs for my various rooms.
I was also thinking of rugs because I just finished readingOn Rue Tatin by Susan Loomis, an American chef who moved into a 17th century house in France. In the book, she tells a story about an antique rug dealer that comes door-to-door to sell rugs. The rug dealer is very keen to pick up what she likes, what would work in the house, and working with her budget. The author becomes friends with the rug dealer and every year he stops by the house, with new rugs options in tow. Sometimes she can afford to purchase one, sometimes she tells him to come back the following year. Over time, she fills her old house with beautiful, handmade rugs. This story made me wish there were door-to-door rug salesman here, where I could see all the rugs in person and test them on my floors. Though with this format, I know I’d have a much more difficult time declining to purchase a rug I loved (which I suppose is the goal for the salesman).
Most of my rug picks below are Persian or Persian-inspired. Persian rugs have been around for many centuries. The earliest trace of a Persian rug is from the 5th century BC, where a rug was found in Siberia entombed in ice, which conserved it. This rug most likely came from Persepolis in Iran, which was known for their well-crafted carpets and intricate designs. In the 17th century, Iran’s carpet-production industry was revived and these handcrafted and exotic rugs were associated with luxury. The rugs were traded with European countries and often included in Western depictions of the wealthy, in both paintings and literature. Learn more here and here.
I would absolutely love real antique and/or new hand-knotted Persian rugs, but at this moment it’s not in my budget (one day I hope). This actually brings up another issue–Chinese and Indian factory printed rugs using Persian styles are now sold at a much cheaper price than the hand-knotted traditionally Iranian rugs. Though certainly not as well made or as beautiful, these imitation rugs may affect the market for handcrafted rugs and those who make the traditional rugs. If you can afford it, support the locals who make rugs by purchasing the traditionally crafted products instead. That said, I’ve included both hand-knotted and factory-made rugs below as I know we all have various budgets and true hand-knotted or antique rugs are not accessible to many people.
Maybe I should learn a lesson from On Rue Tatin and instead of focusing on getting my home completely decorated now, with my current budget, I should instead save up and purchase better quality, handmade rugs over the years.
I have always been attracted to blue and white colors. There is something bright, crisp, and pure about the combination.
Many of the items shown below pick up from and/or interpret designs from blue and white Chinese porcelains. Blue and white porcelain became popular in the Tang dynasty (618-907) when cobalt blue was imported from Persia. Over the next centuries, new styles and techniques of blue and white porcelains were developed in China. Learn more about the history and developments here.