Mixing old and new in a modern interior


antique table and modern leather chairsJust a few thoughts on introducing old furniture pieces to modern interiors. If anybody told me just 5 years ago that I would become an advocate for vintage or antique furniture, I would laugh it off. I had a deep dislike for the traditional style, especially in the interpretation of such in late 20th century. You know what I mean – overstuffed couches upholstered in faux leather and just exuding pseudo opulence.  Nail head trim on a couch – no, thank you, I’ll pass that one. I was all for a modern interior.

I still am, but now I think that one or two vintage or antique pieces, strategically placed, give a modern interior a incredible feel of warmth and uniqueness and break the monotony of clean lines the modern furniture offers. In fact, modern pieces surrounding a vintage or antique piece allow the old piece to shine. I think this picture of my new old dining table is a good example. The natural sisal rug, the simple, undyed raw silk curtains, and the modern leather chairs create a serene backdrop for the glorious, completely handcarved table I bought through the Craigslist for about $300. The overall design is still very modern, but with an artisan touch. And yes, I still call it upcycling – the table was rescued from a long and sorry stay in storage, not wanted by its owners or anyone else until I found a month-old ad online. What a travesty it would be if it was just hauled away to a dump! Now it proudly takes the center place in my dining room and everybody who stops by my house hears its story. That’s another great thing about old furniture pieces – they have history and many also have stories!

The couple who sold me the table bought it in an antique shop in Chicago. The owner of the shop told them a story about the table. Back in the times when the style was in vogue, one lady wanted to buy an expensive dining table and nagged her husband incessantly about it. “No way I am going to spend this kind of money on a dining table,” the husband said. If you so want a table, I will make you one. And he did. Completely. By. Hand. And you can see it just by looking at the table. The carvings on the legs are not fully symmetrical. Actually, all legs and slots for the legs are numbered because each leg can only fit in its own slot. How amazing is this! So, don’t forget to ask if the furniture piece you are buying has a story. Happy hunting!

modern dining room with antique table