Saturday, September 24, 2011

Who says Antiques & Kids don't mix ??

A Two Seater English School Desk c1840, Offered By;

Sharing a house with 5 growing boys and 2 boisterous dogs I can totally understand it when I hear the common statement “Antiques & kids don't mix”... Well that's true to a certain extent, obviously you wouldn't want your darling son running his toy car across the top of your Fine Regency rosewood dinning table or seeing the damage your little princess's nail polish remover has done to the inlaid Victorian dresser you so painstakingly sourced for her bedroom.

The Answer in my opinion is (unless your intending on sending them to boarding school until their old enough to care about the finer things!!)..... 
                                                                           Go Pine, Oak or Painted;

A Dutch Two Drawer Stripped Pine Linen Press circa 1880, Offered By; 


Okay so maybe its not quite as glamorous as the finer woods but its hardy and forgiving. I always love how the look of pine just get better the more worn and used it gets. There is still a great deal of old pine furniture around both stripped and painted. Its also easy, maintenance wise, very fixable and good coat of wax once or twice a year is all it takes to keep it looking good. Then when the time comes to off load the kids it will still be a desirable piece of furniture and bought sensibly a good antique piece of pine should hold its price, leaving you to exchange it for the finer style if you so desire.. My guess is your either love it so much your want to keep it, or reluctantly pass it down to the kids !! 

A 19th Century English Work Table, perfect for the family kitchen. Offered By;

A Hard Wearing Oak Extending Dinning Table from Denmark circa1910, Offered By; 

Having refinished 100's of pieces of oak furniture over the years, I've learnt that oak can be finished in numerous ways. Typically late 19th century English & European oak furniture was heavily stained and lacquered this was reduced somewhat during the Art Noveau period (1910) but then continued through the 1930's/40's.
So today there are many options, the popular one seems to be having the the wood stripped of all it old lacquer finishes to the bare wood, then oiled or wax polished. For kid friendly I always recommend oiled or lightly lacquered as this will give the wood some protection from spills etc but will allowed the full beauty of the wood to be shown. The thing to remember is if you opt for a heavier lacquer finish provided its applied correctly its always removable, however obviously sealed the colour of the oak doesn't age just the finish will.

A Painted Chest of Drawers from Ontario, Canada, circa 1870. Offered By;
A 19th Century Eastern European (Later) Painted Pine Bench, Offered By;

Painted furniture really has come into its own in the last few years and is a great way to freshen up a tired piece or to colour coordinate a kids room. There are some great professionals out there that will paint vintage furniture, also some great teachers to show you the best techniques, such as Cait Whitson a painter and teacher (check out her very educational blog at )

An Antique Romanian Chest of Drawer circa 1899, with later paintwork. Offered By;

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Antiques Are Not Just Brown Furniture !!

A Gorgeous French Gold Leaf Sunburst Frame circa 1780. Offered By;

Generally when you talk to people about Antiques, the picture that comes to mind is that of a big old chest of drawers, grandfather clock or even grandma's prized china cabinet.. Although all great pieces thankfully antique furniture is so much more than just that.
Naturally there is a great deal of what the trade like to refer as “Brown furniture” around, but with some searching and a little open mindedness it is reasonably easy to find colourful interesting pieces within a sensible budget.
An 18th Century Commode decoratively painted in the early 20th century. Offered by;

Over the last 100 years and certainly within the past few decades people have really taken enhancing antique and older furniture to heart using various finishes including paint effects and bright upholstery. Done well, some of this work is superb and really works.

An 18th century Canadian Pine Settle/Bench painted in an old blue paint. Offered By;
A Regency Lyre Tall Case "Block & Shell" Clock. Offered By;

A Vintage Driftwood side table, Offered By: 

Obviously to the purist and antique collector enhancing or adjusting antiques to suit a room is seen as sacrilege, some even have a problem with even any amount of restoration no matter how sympathetic. Personally I think it has its place, I enjoy seeing old & new together, an antique chair or sofa well upholstered in a bright modern fabric or a refinished painted dresser that was previously unusable. However I do  feel the finer antiques should be left alone, their our history and need to be shared and enjoyed by future generations. 

A Superb quality William & Mary Marquetry Chest circa 1680. Offered By;