I started out by stopping by a series of showrooms created by local designers. Their assignment was to use antiques--art, furniture, rugs--to show how these pieces can be incorporated into both good design and daily living. It's a fantastic idea, and a theme that kept popping up throughout the day. I'll show you what I mean.
Take this room by Wein Interiors for instance. Here, everything except for the lighting, the backgammon table and the couches were antiques. All of the art, the rugs, the side tables, books, chairs and accessories were sourced from the show. That breath-taking sideboard? Not a reproduction. The curtains? Panels from a rare fabric dealer. Those gilded mirrors? Antiques from Peru. (A sentimental note for me, since that's where the hubby and I went on our honeymoon.)
And in no way does it come off as stuffy, unapproachable or over done. Swoon!
The next room was created by Eberlein Design Consultants Ltd. as a pied-a-terre for when you might be visiting the city. Or, if you're like most urban dwellers, this represents your first studio apartment--a place where everything needs to be present, accessible, but still beautiful.
I love how this designer layers color on top of color, and texture over texture. The delicate yellow drapes beckon you in to sit on a velvet sofa the color of emeralds. And natural elements like the framed butterflies and the driftwood lamps add another dimension to keep the look modern. I also love how they used books freely as a design element. We all have them, and let's face it. They don't always look this good.
And on the polar opposite of the spectrum is the room created by Gregory Augustine of August Interiors. Here, it's a masculine look with clean lines that sources from the world of antiques, but creates an extremely modern look. The geometric art repeats in little details like the studded walls, the lighting and a round inlay table that will make you never want to see painted wood again.
After the designers' rooms, I made my way over to hear celebrated decorated and author Thomas Jayne discuss his newest book and some of the most well-designed rooms in American history. He covered rooms from palatial properties like the Winterthur estate in Delaware, and more accessible private homes that are equally impressive (albeit in a very different way). If you want to see the full list of what he considers great work check out his book The Finest Rooms in America.
Of course, the real attraction is the floor filled with antiques vendors. I wandered through the space for a while, and was blown away with the diversity of eras, styles and pieces. If you're a collector of fine jewelry, there were several options. Into textiles? Choose between rugs, wall hangings, curtains and fabric panels. Like furniture? I hope you have a specialty, because
If you're in town and you'd like to check it out, today is the last day. But if you can make it, you'll get a big payoff. There's a guided tour and a lecture about stripping and refinishing furniture. (Yes, I do consider that fascinating stuff, thankyouverymuch.)
And if you can't make it this year, consider a visit next April for the 52nd showing.