The best way to navigate the vagaries of fashion—and the inevitable fact that trendy design dates quickly—is to choose freely from the world at large. With an eye trained on history (as important as one looking to the future), the possibilities are limitless. For every sleek sofa, there is a distressed fabric to cover it; for every polished surface, a tarnished one; for every spanking new cabinet, one that is weathered and worn. A curatorial eye, along with a historical reference, makes everything old look new again—and keeps everything new from ever looking old.
Photo descriptions, left to right, first row:
Patinated Created in the 1820s by French architect and sculptor Jacques Ignace Hittorff, The Mermaid is one of the original central characters from the famous Place de la Concorde fountain in Paris. The statue, cast in iron, stands six and a half feet tall and weighs about 1,200 pounds. $350,000. URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY, BOSTON DESIGN CENTER, (617) 737-4646, WWW.URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY .COM
Distressed Soften the lines of a modern piece of furniture by upholstering it in Holland and Sherry’s Etoile linen velvet. The 100 percent linen fabric comes in eleven colors, including Storm, shown here. 55"W. $110/YD. B.HIVE, BOSTON DESIGN CENTER, (617) 790-6350, WWW.BHIVESHOWROOM.COM
Tarnished With its curvaceous face and feminine legs, this copper-clad chest of drawers doesn’t have to sparkle to be the star of the bedroom. 38"H × 42"W × 20"D. $1,698. ANTHROPOLOGIE, BOSTON, (800) 309-2500, WWW.ANTHROPOLOGIE .COM
Aged If this is the main seating in your living room, we might suggest that a little renovation is in order, but if you’re lucky enough to have a room that accommodates more than one seating group, tuck in the stuffing, tack down the ticking and consider this painted Victorian settee a work of art. $4,200. ANTIQUES ON 5 ON 2, BOSTON DESIGN CENTER, (617) 951-0008, WWW.ANTIQUESON5.COM
Photo descriptions, left to right, second row:
Weathered This antique Chinese armoire, with its original red finish and pine frame, boasts new drawers and hardware, ensuring both beauty and function. 41"W × 60"H × 18"D. $1,845. MOHR AND MCPHERSON, BOSTON, (617) 210-7900, WWW .MOHRMCPHERSON.COM
Dented Visitors will be charmed when this painted cast-iron Boston terrier greets them at the front door. Its painted decoration is original, and antiques dealer Andrew Spindler says he suspects that it was made by Hubley of Pennsylvania, manufacturers of cast-iron toys and doorstops, in the 1930s. 10"H × 9½"W. $260. ANDREW SPINDLER ANTIQUES, ESSEX, MASS., (978) 768-6045, WWW.SPINDLERANTIQUES.COM
Worn Knotted entirely by hand in the 1870s, this Persian village carpet has worn beautifully over time. Though years of use have left little visible fringe at its ends, it has been secured to ensure that it will remain strong for the next generation. 11'W × 15'L. $90,000. FIRST RUGS, DANVERS, MASS., (978) 739-9033, AND ACTON, MASS., (978) 263-0100, WWW.FIRSTRUGS.COM
Repurposed This industrial metal Holophane light was probably rescued from a factory, but now it would look great over a dining table, a desk or—in celebration of its former life—any kind of work surface. The pole length can be ordered to your specifications. LIGHT MEASURES 12½"H × 14"W. $650. GET BACK, OAKVILLE, CONN., (860) 274-9991, WWW.GETBACK INC.COM
Photo descriptions, left to right, third row:
Used One of the many allures of this pair of hand-forged industrial midcentury side chairs is pondering their past and imagining who might have sat in them. 32"H, 14"DIAMETER SEAT. $1,200/PAIR. HEIR ANTIQUES, PROVIDENCE, R.I., (401) 331-5680, WWW.HEIRANTIQUES.COM
Rough Wendy Lewis is our Vermont-based go-to for antique and vintage European textiles like this circa 1900 hand-woven upholstery-weight hemp fabric. 21"W. $45/YD. TEXTILE TRUNK, (802) 985-9389, WWW.TEXTILETRUNK.COM
Start the Conversation
Online Design Center Premium
Start your subscription today!
New England Home showcases the unique architecture and superior design and building that define the luxury home in New England. From cutting edge lofts to historic dwellings, New England Home is your guide to the very best of New England style. Each issue includes beautifully produced images of our area’s most amazing homes, along with profiles of artists and artisans and all the latest resources and design trends.