Good News For Antiques Lovers - John Isaac

Interior Design Consultant, John Isaac, explodes the myth that antiques have no place in the modern home.

Over the past year, I have written a series of articles about the design and decoration of rooms in the modern home, and how a few carefully chosen antique pieces can introduce character and individuality. This has been against an almost universal taste for pale colours, neutral fabrics. Hard wood floors, leather sofas, steel and glass coffee tables, a large flat screen TV and the like. This is still the preferred format whether you live in a penthouse or a council house. Cool and hip, it may be but there are legions of other rooms in the same mould, and my mission has been to demonstrate how one or two period features such as an armoire, a large mirror, a Georgian Wing chair will lift such a room from the ordinary to something unique and special. It requires a certain skill and sophistication to know which pieces to select to give the contemporary room impact. The wrong choice will ruin the desired effect, but the right one will be a triumph.

Well, to all those antique lovers, to the dealers out there, and to those who would like to venture into the world of antiques but are scared to – I am delighted to report that the task of selecting antiques is going to be much easier. A change is on the way in interior design which will pave the way for making period pieces even more desirable and the choice less exacting. Minimalism and cold, hard modernity is gradually being softened by a re-emergence of Victorian colour and opulence. 

It was bound to happen, sooner or later, especially in a climate such as ours which calls for warmth, comfort and cosiness. As a reaction to monochrome schemes, interior design trend-setters are re-introducing blocks of colour in silks, linens and velvets. Wallpaper designs are reproducing the rich damask patterns of the Renaissance in both subtle and bold modern tones. The great fabric houses are re-printing floral patterns on linen and chintz, but, for the time being, we will see their use limited to scatter cushions and the odd chair. Thus, a context will be created in which antique furniture will look comfortable and appropriate. This “new look” will be fresher, younger, brighter and more fun than the classic country house style which prevailed from the 1980s until the turn of the present century. This changing process will be more subtle, certainly less full blown and intense because minimalism and de-cluttering will have left their influences. The emerging style will be a perfect backdrop for every variety and period of antique from opulent Louis XV to Victorian, from 1900s Art Nouveau to mid-century post modernism. Eclectic is the word.

So what is the message?

Now is the time to buy while prices are still low. Be at the forefront of fashionable interior design. Jump on the bandwagon and buy now when available stocks are at their best. Scan and see what's out there and formulate your plan for you home.

Remember not to over-furnish. Choose the best you can afford, and the most appropriate styles for your room. This does not mean you cannot be daring, quirky or even eccentric in your choices, just determine the style and mood you are after and buy with discernment.

Good Hunting!!!