Friday’s WHY IN DESIGN: how to incorporate antiques into your modern home

What do I collect? 
And, how can you collect and incorporate antiques into a modern aesthetic?  
I love anything for tabletop – like plates, sugar and bowl sets, tea sets and vintage cutlery, salt cellars (a fancy word for salt dishes) or glass ware.  Because many of these items were made beautifully and some by hand, the antique tabletop accessories tend to be high quality and durable.  I also enjoy collecting chairs (because you can never have enough chairs and especially when entertaining — there’s always a need to pull up extras), antique prints and botanical, outdoor furniture/ornamentation and lighting.  
Let’s focus on how to incorporate items that may be over one hundred years old into our modern day interior design in a way that highlights the pieces but with a fresh perspective.

Deanna Dahlsad‘s insight:

5 tips on what to look for & how to incorporate antiques into your home decor

See on nestnestnest.blogspot.com

Vintage Camera & Photography Ephemera Garland

Whether or not you an add another camera to your collection, you may want to consider this Vintage Camera Garland from Christine of Flapper Girl:

This garland celebrates the beauty of vintage cameras with a Wardette, Starflash, Brownie Hawkeye, a handful of retro lightfilter boxes, and two photos documenting what fun can be had with a camera in tow!

All components of this garland were hand-cut by me. The vintage cameras and lightfilters depicted in this garland are from my personal collection, and were photographed and edited by me.

Garland measures approx. 48″ long.

I love how everything looks like prints drying on the wires in a darkroom.

Flappergirl offers other paper garlands, in varying themes, in her Etsy shop — and I find them very inspiring:

These garland designs are the result of my endless fascination with, research into, and love of their subjects. Countless hours are spent collecting and assembling the perfect elements for each piece.

Each garland design is uniquely considered, elegant, and beautiful. Everything is hand-cut, hand-folded, and hand-glued. My passion and dedication is evident in their small, unexpected details and craftsmanship, making them unique and delicate treasures.

End (Table) Of The Road For Industrial Americana

Andrea Porter, an honors graduate from Fashion Institute of Technology, spent over 14 years working in the textile business until one day she found herself in need of a new coffee table. Unhappy with the current options available in today’s commercial design world, she decided to look into the past and created a coffee table out of an old rusted gear she’d previously found at a flea market. When the newly repurposed piece came home from the local welder and friends began to express interest in having their own, gears began to turn in Porter’s mind… Now, with the help of her sister, Ameri Spurgin, Porter cranks out repurposed items from the past into new functional pieces of home decor via Arms and Barnes.

The company’s name honors the sisters’ childhood nicknames while the company itself honors the American past in (re)purpose and motto, “Finding the beauty and potential in things forgotten.”

Old industrial, factory and farming items (such as iron fence pieces, old gears, thrasher wheels), architectural pieces (like scrolled window grates, register vents, fire place covers) and even more domesticated pieces (cast iron cookware and the wooden harness of weaving looms, for example) now find themselves converted into practical, conversational, chic tables for your home.

Joel Hester does something similar with scrapyard metal.

Vintage China Nightlights

At a local antique mall, the Moorhead Antique Mall, I spotted another idea for salvaging vintage china pieces: turning tea cup saucers into nightlights.

I’ve also seen old cups (with and without saucers) turned into night lights (or night lamps), like this one by micah7:

But I think that since the vertical saucers are flatter and nearer to the wall, they are less likely to be damaged by an inattentive person vacuuming. (But maybe that’s just a problem at my house?)

I’ve never tried making night lights from china pieces, but if you want to give it a try, here are a few helpful “how to” links:

Cutting ceramics with a wet saw

How To Cut Plates Using Two Wheeled Cutters

How to cut a plate using Leponitt Cutters

Wielding your wheeled cutters

Also, your local hardware store may offer cutting services for a fee.

TV or not TV-That is the Question

Pick-Let’s talk some more about the antique recycling in our home.

Grin-Does that mean you are finally going to clean out your clothes closet?

P-No, silly. I mean our “decorating recycling”, things we have saved from a dumpster or land fill by fixing it up and putting it to a good use. How about discussing our latest find-our Big Screen TV?

G-Well, that was your idea and it’s no wonder you want to tell everyone about it.

P-Well, as far as that goes, you have some bragging rights too. You negotiated the price and got us a super-deal. And you made the improvements! It sure is fun to tell our friends and family about our new TV set.  They know we’ve just recently replaced our black and white set with a color TV. So, they are astounded when we make the announcement.  Remember when our son-in-law asked if it was a “flat screen” and we responded with “it’s actually convex.” The look on his face.

G-So why don’t we tell the readers the whole story. It was your off-the-cuff comment while exploring an antique mall that prompted our purchase.

P-Oh, I remember walking into the booth and seeing the old Crosley cabinet – it was in great shape except no knobs or “guts” and I said you know what would look great in that 10” opening, a digital picture frame. You just left and went to the counter to have them contact the dealer, hopefully for a better price. I was not even aware that you were doing that, thinking you were not too thrilled with the concept.

G-The dealer accepted the offer and when we got it home, the work began.

P-Getting the right digital frame was the easy part, but I was a bit concerned about the hardware, especially the little light I recalled from TV’s of my youth.

G-I knew I had knobs for a TV or radio cabinet downstairs. I do keep all of that stuff.

P-And you think I never throw anything out, right!

G-Even with all the junk I have, I could not locate a rotary on/off switch with a long enough neck to fit through the wood of this cabinet.

P-Now, come on. What about your box in the electrical section that reads “rotary switches-long necked.”

G-Very funny, that box was empty. Finally, at the third store I found a switch. It was the type of store that has even more useless things than I have.  I also found a lens that fit into the hole for the indicator light.  You should remember that it took such a long time for the tubes to warm up and the indicator light let you know it was turned on.

P-That’s WAAAAY before my time, but I do know that you have a built-in indicator that tells me when you are warmed up.  I do remember mom sending me in to start it up before the Friday Night Fights came on.

G-Was that any time when your rowdy family got together?

P-You are such a hoot!

G-Our last step was downloading pictures of family and friends and then we were set to turn it on.

P-It worked great but something was missing. To make it look authentic, we needed a 1950s TV lamp.

G-And no TV from that time frame would work without an antenna. We city dwellers would use rabbit ears that could be adjusted to pick up BOTH TV stations.

P-Will we also need aluminum foil for the top of the ears? I think you still have a ball of foil from the “war drive.”

G-What war was that, One or Two? Back to our project. We easily found several TV lamps from that time period and the antenna was spotted at an estate sale.

P-It’s now complete, even have a doily that your mom made to finish it off. And when our son-in-law, the one with the mega-screen saw it, he laughed out loud, but I think I saw a bit of “screen-is-envy” there.

G-You have always been so classy. You are a work in progress too, but good fun. It’s always great to work on projects with you.

P-Back Atcha!

Tip for IV’s Collectors: Unlike regular retail establishments, most antique stores and malls have a level for discounting the price. Be sure to ask at the counter when shopping what is the stores discount policy.  If an item is very expensive, you just might be able to negotiate by asking the mall personnel to contact the dealer. They often comply if you have an offer you’re willing to pay.


Introducing Pickin & Grinin, The Collecting Couple

Antiquips Pickin & Grinin

Pick: This is going to be our first article for Inherited Values so let’s show off some of our unusual collectibles.

Grin: How about your hand mirrors? You are always bragging to anyone that will listen, just how great you think they are and how well you display them.

Pick: Oh, I’d like to but I’d have to polish them all before we let a whole group of people in to see the collection.

Grin: Well, what’s your idea then? Or are you just Picking on me because it was my idea?

Pick: Why don’t we start with the smallest room in the house and show readers what can be packed into a tiny area with a little imagination.

Grin: Are you referring to your jewelry box? You sure know how to pack that thing full.

Pick: Boy we’re real smart today. No I’m talking about the powder room at the back entrance, the one that started out with a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling with a pull chain for decoration. Let’s show off our antique finds in that room first. I think we managed to accent the room nicely with some unusual pieces in a space of seven foot by four feet. Plus we did our “green piece” by recycling some items.

Grin: Five feet, it’s no longer than five feet.

Pick: Well, whatever, the important thing is we get to display the oddities within. But just to keep my reputation intact, how about a quick measure to see who is right. I say it’s about seven feet by 3-1/2” feet. What is your best guess?

Grin: I think five feet, maybe by 4-1/2 feet.

Pick: What was the measurement?? Oh, guess you were closest. Now, let’s change the subject. How about we start with the egret, the old screen door decoration. You know, the one I dragged home from an auction and had to listen to your questions like “Now, WHERE can we put that old thing?”

Grin: In this instance, you were right. It fits in flush, right over the toilet, a pun intended!

Pick: Well, if you’re giving me credit, I must say, your cold air return register was a perfect fit. It’s a radio speaker grill from a Pontiac Straight 8, probably from the early 1950s. And it squeezed right into the space.

Grin: I also recall where we got the old tin sheets that we needed when I dropped the ceiling to update the electricity to enable a wall switch. We had to purchase the full lot of sheets, but only needed a few and sold off the rest at a flea market. Then you found that marvelous iridescent chandelier at a local antique store. You discovered it just in time, too, because we had not decided on the color to paint the room and the green shade enlightened us.

Pick: Dear, you are funny today – you should be “pun-ished.” And you kept your promise to let me have some stained glasswindows in the house. That was something you committed to when we left our other house that had so many! And you did a super job finding the black and white tiles that are so “1930s”, it really completed the look we wanted.

Grin: Well, let’s continue in another area in our next blog. There’s hardly room for two of us in this room!

Salvaging Mismatched Or Damaged China Pieces

I like to use my vintage things, where appropriate (and sometimes I make up uses for things). I feel it really continues the life of old things. I also don’t like to let anything go to waste, even if it’s broken or damaged; but I’m especially reluctant if it was a part of my collection.

Broken china, for example, can break your heart; but sometimes you can salvage or recycle it. Even if you can’t make jewelry from it.

I suppose most people have discovered that the odd, mismatched china saucers, custard cups, and whatever all those little shallow bowls are, can readily be put back into use at the table simply by placing candles in them — or by setting candles in clear glass and/or candles in clear tea lights upon the old china pieces.

It’s an especially lovely way to have them still sit at the table, lighting the more perfect pieces while you dine.

But what about those antique china cups with the handles broken off?

I’m sure you probably have a set of those metal candle stands sitting around somewhere…

Usually they have glass candle holders in them. Well, when my glass candle dish broke, I realized I could set one of my (many) handless china cups in them.

This works with most of these candle stands; even if they vary somewhat in diameter, you’ll find that the sloping sides of china cups eventually meet a secure resting place.

You can also stagger the candle heights by surrounding the cups recycled into metal candle stands with cups without stands, small dishes with candles, and plates with tea lights.

Not only does this salvage your old china pieces (and, I daresay, add another layer of interest and elegance to your table setting or home), but you’ll finally use all those candles you bought at your sister’s candle party. (Don’t get hubby started talking about how I own “too many” candles in my candle cupboard!)

If you don’t have a cabinet full of candles — or you don’t have any that are just the right size, Katy Teson aka “Pie Bird — Who Vents While Cooking” (Isn’t that a hoot of name?!) shows you how to make tea cup candles!

So go ahead, recycle those old mismatched china pieces and damaged china cups.

Disclaimers: I’ve never had any problems, but I will caution you that some candles may burn too hot to hold candles safely, meaning the china may crack. (And china that is already cracked probably won’t contain melted wax — though you can put a saucer beneath it all too). If you’re concerned at all, you can set clear glass votive holders inside the cups to hold the actual candles. Or you can, as many candle owners do, simply place the candles in or on the vintage china pieces just for show.

Kitchen Design Continues To Evolve With The Charm Of Yesteryear (Sometimes With A Twist!)

My parents (of No Egrets Antiques — also found at both iCollect247 and eBay) were just featured in an article on kitchen design in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel!

The article, Making Kitchens Special by Jan Uebelherr, featured my parents’ unique kitchen island — an antique woodworker’s work bench. Here’s the part about them:

‘Sold,’ to the couple with kitchen smarts

Dean and Valerie Ferber know a thing or two about shopping around. The previous owners of the Ferbers’ cottage-style home in Hales Corners had an antique bread table. It gave the antique-loving Ferbers an idea. They hunted flea markets, antique shops, estate sales. At one antiques mall, they spotted the perfect piece: a woodworker’s bench. But at $1,100, it was too pricey.

Then, on the way to another store, they stopped at an auction and found a bench covered with paint and equipped with two vises. Where others might have seen a mess, the Ferbers saw potential. But first they had to win it.

Bidding started near the price of that first bench they’d seen, but there were no takers. The price dropped to $500, then $250, then $100. Finally, Dean Ferber raised his auction paddle. The auctioneer asked for $125, and a man in front held up his hand. Dean Ferber bid $150 – and the 1880s work bench was theirs.

“And all Wifey could say was ‘How are we going to load that thing?'”

With some help, they got it into their van and were off.

My parents had to clean & restore the old workbench — but as you can see, it was totally worth it!

It’s beautiful and functional — and loaded with memories…

Most holidays and celebrations, our family members can be found gathered around the new kitchen island from the old workbench serving as a buffet table.

My daughter used to love to play with the pots and pans stored on racks beneath it. (In my mind’s eye, I still see her chubby toddler legs sticking out from beneath the table — but I mercifully don’t hear the clanging.)

My son still likes to play with his toy cars on it, rolling the cars down the “ramped” sides of the trough (where the silver tray is seen in the photo) trying to push them up fast enough to jump the ramp at the other side — without getting busted. (Challenging indeed!)

This is no longer an old junky piece — or even a piece of furniture; it’s a member of the family.