Do you decorate or collect?
When you buy a house, you begin to turn it into a home. Whilst I am a big believer in a home is made by people rather than things we all inevitably gather things around us as well. Some people are decorators, they artfully mix and merge things from all over the place and blend them together. They take Aunt Mary's old table and mix it with a new piece from Restoration Hardware for example and it is as if they were made to stand next to each other. Others become collectors, some in an extreme way, having a period home and everything in it must be of the period so it becomes a reproduction of the time. Others begin by buying something, like the spill vases above, a pair of English Derby porcelain spill vases from the early to mid 19th century because they liked the colors and how they look. (Spill vases were used to hold small pieces of wood, spills that were used to start a fire or light candles, so sat upon the mantle.) But then they begin to gather other items, they may be Derby porcelain from the same time period in different patterns, or it may be different factories, say Spode porcelain in similar patterns, like the miniature teapot below.
Most people begin with furniture, often because they inherit a piece. This may be a small sidetable or a dinner table and chairs, then they add other pieces, enjoying the search, antiquing at weekends and when on business trips, and attending yard sales.
But eventually they move on to art as well to hang on the walls, from contemporary to well established names, it all depends on their style and how they want to decorate their home. There is no reason why you cannot mix antique furniture with contemporary art, I see it all the time in Architectural Digest.
At home, I have a Chinese antique 19th century Elm altar table, the paperweights came from my mother and are a mix of antique and more modern creations, the clock comes from Trudy's mom, the light is new, the picture is 19th century Canton school obtained in a yard sale, the other box is an English tea caddy from the 19th century as well from my parents, and the brush pot is also Chinese and I bought it in Hong Kong. Across the room...
we have a modern settee, an antique wicker chair we got in a yard sale, a Japanese wood print and a painting by a friend, the side table is an antique Chinese table. These all work together, I don't think of myself as a collector, but as a decorator, I buy what I like and mix things together.
When I used to deal in antique ceramics I met both, it used to be collectors were more prevalent, often knowing vast amounts about what they collected and you could learn a lot from them. Today, nearly everyone is a decorator, often aided by professional decorators who guide them and direct the overall project.
So, which are you, a collector or decorator or a little bit of both?
If you are looking for a Main Line Home to store your collection or to decorate, give us a call, we totally understand both mindsets and will enjoy helping you hunt down the right property.