i+D - July/August 2019 - 46

Living by
Design
Antiques

Historical Reference
With terms and timelines in place, we can begin to explore
the allure of buying old. Eloquently expressed by New Yorkbased interior designer Glenn Gissler, "History offers a
context for the world around us, which provides meaning
beyond form and patina."
For Gissler, it's been the discovery of architecture that has
cemented his knowledge of history. "It wasn't until I studied
architectural history and l could see, for example, townhouses
in Boston with mansard roofs that were more or less built during
the Civil War, that I really retained historical information," he
recalls. "Suddenly, architecture and objects began to provide
tangible evidence of another time and place." A sentiment that
resonates deeply, down to the city we live in, the environments
we frequent, and, of course, the place we call home.

An investment in vintage and antiques is a window into the past-a peak
into a bygone era combined with craftsmanship not always seen today.
But, the question begs: How do antiques stray from their simplified role as
Grandma's inherited hutch or Great Aunt Joan's stately Louis XVI Bergere
Chairs into modern complements? Johnson explains: "After 30 consecutive
years in the antiques trade, I'm acutely aware of the generational changes
that have impacted the antiques market and, in effect, brought about
the misconception of new and/or young buyers that antiques are stuffy,
fussy, and clunky hangovers from the past. This misunderstanding is largely
due to...not taking time to research the history and evolution of design
periods, such as Biedermeier, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, etc., for
then they would discover design elements that complement and seamlessly
integrate into a modern living space, often in their simplicity of design and
sometimes purely by their juxtaposition."

Consciously Speaking
"Designers need to be curators-good designers will always operate outside
of trends, and find fresh ways to reuse existing furniture, and use beautiful
items in the marketplace from all eras," says Gissler. It's in recognizing the
conscious footprint and unique intrinsic value antiques impart onto the design
world that their modern dexterity comes to light.

Antiques dealer
Ernest Johnson notes
an understanding of the
history and evolution
of design periods leads
to their seamless
integration into modern
living spaces.
(Image: CADA)

46

Toma Clark Haines,
The Antiques
Diva & Co
(Image: Susanne
Ollmann)

"The evolution of antiques brings equality," states Clark Haines. "In the
past, antiques were for a select group of people, the upper class who had
entire period rooms of a certain price point and echelon. Now, antiques
are for everyone. You're as likely to use antiques in your bedroom as
you are [in] your living room. Antique dealers in North America have caught
on to this wave, that it's all about the mix, and most dealers no longer
specialize only in one style, period, or country of origin." In contrast, she
expounds upon the European market where "the concept of antiques for
everyone has always been true. Peek inside a classic English country house
or a Parisian apartment and there is a mix of family heirlooms that lend
history to their décor. In North America, the family tradition of passing down
furniture to the next generation is not as embedded in our culture, so most
people are buying their antiques, not inheriting them."
That being said, buyers have definitely gotten the message that antiques
are green-their superior craftsmanship has allowed them to sustain
decades of use. According to Clark Haines, "Decorating with antiques not
only adds a unique individual element to your home décor, offering a better
value for the money over mass-produced interior goods, but it also helps
save our environment. Plus, financially they are a wise investment, holding
their value when new goods do not."

i+D - July/August 2019



i+D - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - July/August 2019

Contents
i+D - July/August 2019 - 1
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i+D - July/August 2019 - Contents
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