In honor of Bastille Day this week I wanted to share with you some beautiful French Empire style furniture that you often see in our Estate auctions and show you ways to use it in your modern DéCoR.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 6.45.18 AM

A little seems to go a long way with French Empire furniture but even one piece can add a lot of glamour to a room. I especially like to see pieces repurposed or used in a casual way that makes them look more modern.

19th century French Empire furniture became popular during the court of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.  It was furniture made of dark mahogany, fruitwood and yew imported from the African continent.  Highly polished woods were embellished with classical ornamentation of ormolu (mounts made of bronze). These embellishments were often in the forms of laurel wreaths, and urns, the European influence and many Egyptian motifs in the forms of sphinxes, winged cobras and serpents.

A selection of furniture that sold in our July 9th Estate sale are very typical of this style such as the following wonderful pieces…

French Empire Style mahogany and ormolu center table, the three standards modeled as winged caryatid terms on lion claw feet, the apron embellished with bronze paterae detailed with anthemion sprays and laurel

French Empire Style mahogany and ormolu center table

          This center table would add glamour and drama to any room. Imagine it in an entry hall or even as a cocktail bar in a living room….

19th century French Empire desk and chest, mahogany

19th century French Empire desk and chest, mahogany

French Empire Style bleached and bronze mounted wood tall pedestal, the top inset with St, Anne marble and embellished with paterae of fountains flanked by lions, the four standards crested by winged bronze female terms

French Empire Style bleached and bronze mounted wood tall pedestal

Some interesting pieces coming up in our August 9th auction include this drop down secretary which could work in a living room, again as a cocktail bar or as a fancy home office with your computer table as the drop down desk…or repurposed as a great looking television cabinet that can hide the screen away in your bedroom or living room.


French Bombe Chest with marble top and ormolu mounts

French Bombe Chest with marble top and ormolu mounts

French bombe chests are being repurposed as vanities in a bathroom.

French Empire style side tables with marble tops

French Empire style side tables with marble tops

French Empire style bedroom side tables would make fabulous plant stands flanking both sides of an entry, liquor cabinets in a                            living room, storage in a bathroom or just as they meant to be as bedroom side tables.


Or just add some instant drama with a French style wrought iron and crystal chandelier in any room in your home.

Let your imagination go wild the next time you are antiquing or at auction and think of creative ways to use this beautiful furniture in your modern DéCoR !

Kaminski Auctions and Tim Hopkins Catering teamed up to sponsor the Boston Lobsters 2015 KIck Off Party and Charity Auction at the Kaminski Auctions gallery in Beverly, Massachusetts. The gallery looked beautiful with flowers, Boston Lobster decorations and delicious hors d’oeuvres by Tim Hopkins !

Kaminski Auctions Director Of Marketing Diane Riva and Social Media Director Amy Cavilla

Kaminski Auctions Director Of Marketing Diane Riva and Social Media Director Amy Cavilla

Attended by tennis enthusiasts of the North Shore,Boston Lobster patrons, invited guests and most importantly tennis legend Billie Jean King.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King at the podium

Tennis legend Billie Jean King at the podium

Billie Jean King is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player who won 39 Grand Slam titles. She is the the co-founder of Mylan World TeamTennis, the league of the Boston Lobsters and founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative.

A champion for social change and equality, she was named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life Magazine. In 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Auctioneer Frank Kaminski and Billie Jean King

Auctioneer Frank Kaminski and Billie Jean King

Auctioneer Frank Kaminski conducted the live auction of a Patriots football signed by Tom Brady, Tickets to Taylor Swift and tickets to the US Open in Billie Jean’s private box.  The live auction was accompanied by an array of silent auction items.

Mr. and Mrs. William Treyes  with BJK

Mr. and Mrs.William Treyes with BJK

The 2015 Boston Lobsters will be coached by Jan-Michael Gambill.  This year the team will include 2011 French Open mixed doubles champion Scott Lipsky, and Spaniard, Arantxa Parra Santonja, along with a pair of young, up and coming Americans, 2012 NCAA doubles champion Chase Buchanan, and Irina Falconi, who recently made an inspired run to the 3rd round of the French Open.

Tomas Napoleon with BJK

Kaminski Auctions longtime friend and customer Tomas Napoleon with BJK

Tennis Hall of Fame great  Avis Murray and Mrs. Bonnie Covington with the Boston Lobster mascot

Tennis Hall of Fame great Avis Murray and Mrs. Bonnie Covington with the Boston Lobster mascot !

The most exciting addition will be the 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard who will play the final 3 matches of the season, including a home match on July 27.

Kaminski Auctions and Timothy S.Hopkins Catering are proud to be sponsors and wish the Boston Lobsters a successful 2015 Season!

Several years ago I was visiting the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University. The museum’s collection spans all types of art from antiquity to contemporary art.  It also houses one of the finest collections of Rodin sculptures in the world, displayed in the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden. The Rodin garden alone is worth a trip to this amazing museum.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 7.31.42 PM

As I walked in, the attendant handed me a button that said “A Passion for Collecting“. That phrase struck a chord in me and I wore that button on my coat for years and have since kept it in the pocket. That phrase inspired and moved me. I thought, what would it be like to spend years learning all you could, about a certain artist or artistic movement and then to amass a collection like this.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The act of collecting becomes a lifelong passion and the thrill of the hunt for each piece, is as exciting as owning it. Most people don’t have the means to purchase great art or sculpture, but a collection can be anything…porcelain, glass, stamps, medals, dolls, etc.

Various items from the Religious Collection

Various items from the Religious Collection

Over the years I am amazed at the unique things people collect, and the ends they will go, to acquire them. Their passion sometimes borders on obsession, but I am always impressed at the wealth of knowledge they have gained along the way. A very prolific collector once told me “if you cannot afford what you love, collect the books to learn more about it”.

Great collections are eclectic and intriguing, but usually have a coherent theme. People collect for different reasons, aesthetic, intellectual but most often, for emotional reasons. I often wonder how they house all these special things. Do they incorporate them into their décor and live with them everyday to give them pleasure?

Bronze of Napoleon

Bronze of Napoleon

19th Century Napoleon II Riding on Horseback painting

19th Century Napoleon II

Kaminski Auctions is pleased to present three unique and exceptional collections in our June 7th auction. The first is a collection of Napoleonic items, which includes bronzes, oil paintings, miniatures, statuary, and Sèvres porcelain depicting Napoleon and Josephine.

The second is a unique collection of religious items including 18th and 19th century carved Italian figures and putti, Spanish Santos, chalices, reliquaries, crucifixes and so much more…

18th Century Italian carved figure

18th Century Italian carved figure

And finally a collection of Art Deco, including Icart etchings, various figures and a rare Demetre Chiparus sculpture titled “Les Amis Toujours” .

“Les Amis Toujours” by Demetre Chiparus

Collection of Art Deco Figures

Collection of Art Deco Figures

All three represent a true passion for collecting! View all the items on offer in these collections and much more in our June 7th Estate sale at and sign up to bid with KaminskiLIVE !

My most successful DéCoR post was when I compared design at Restoration Hardware with classic antiques we sell each and every month at Kaminski Auctions.

Our May 17th, Twentieth Century Modern Design and Fine Art sale is now on our website at After reviewing the amazing pieces in the sale, I thought a similar post comparing what is in our May Modern sale, to the offerings from the company Design Within Reach was in order.

Design Within Reach is a company started in 1999 by a man named Rob Forbes who was just looking for simple, well-made furniture with classic lines to furnish his own apartment. He was enamored with the designs of many of the Scandinavian and Italian designers, whose work was only available by special order, and you had to wait months for delivery. Furniture designed by Saarinen, Eames and Bertoia were “out of reach” for most people. A true entrepreneur, he went out and bought 20 containers of product, mailed out a catalog and “waited for the phones to ring”.

At first phenomenally successful, Design Within Reach in July 2004, was valued at $211 million dollars. A downturn in the economy, over zealous expansion plans and lawsuits for design infringement ,brought the company to its knees. Herman Miller bought it in July of 2014 and a complete restructuring took place. With over 30 stores, which they refer to as  “studios”, it is still the number one resource for modern furniture today.

Perhaps the most recognizable pieces of Herman Miller furniture are the Charles and Ray Eames chair and ottoman. Depending on what leather you select the Design Within Reach price starts at $4130.15 and can go as high as $54015.15.



Lot #-2067Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller chair and ottoman

Lot #-2067

We have three Charles and Ray Eames chairs and ottomans in the sale Lots # 2003,2006 and 2007, with estimates of $1500.00-$2500.00 and $1000.00-$2000.00 depending on condition.

Two Warren Platner for Knoll pieces, a wire based coffee table and a dining table, are described in the Design Within Reach catalog as “if you combined the work of I.M. Pei and Eero Saarinen, the result might very well look like the Platner Collection (1962″ ) “.  At Design Within Reach they sell for $1522.00 for the coffee table and $3572.00 for the dining table.  Presented as Lot #2101 for the coffee table, it is estimated at $600.00-$1000.00 and the dining table, Lot #2035 is estimated at $800.00-$1200.00.

Lot # 2011

Lot- #2011



A pair of “Womb” chairs in “Morocco” wool upholstery from the Finnish architect and industrial designer, Eero Saarinen for Knoll is Lot #2068 estimated at $800.00-$1200.00. The DWR prices starts at $1036.00-$5143.00 depending on fabric, for each chair.

Lot- #2068

Lot- #2068

A Le Corbusier model LC4 chaise lounge, steel with original cowhide upholstery and original leather pillow is Lot # 2065 estimated at $1500.00-$2500.00, the piece new from DWR costs $3495.00-$4335.00 depending on fabric.

Lot- #2065

Lot- #2065

Described as “the consummate modernist chandelier” in the Design Within Reach catalog the iconic Poul HenningsenArtichoke” hanging lamp, in white enameled aluminum and stainless steel, circa 1960s, with original sticker, is estimated at $1500.00-$2000.00. The DWR price new is $9737.00- $17,186.00 for the larger size.

Lot # 2101

Lot # 2101

These are just a sample of what is on offer at the Kaminski Auctions Twentieth Century Modern Design and Fine Art auction this Sunday, May 17th.  Original Twentieth Century iconic design, along with the furniture and lighting, you will find Twentieth Century art from Wayne Thiebaud, Alexander Calder, Salvador Dali, Marcel Mouly, and Peter Max, to name a few, and decorative art from Edward MoulthropMurano, Daum, Kosta Boda, Baccarat and many more…

Lot #-2114 Edward Moulthrop Bowl

Lot #-2114 Edward Moulthrop Bowl


Lot-#2019 Calder Lithograph

You can view all the items in the sale at There are a few days left to request a condition report by emailing  Sign up to bid from the comfort of your home with KaminskiLIVE by clicking on the KaminskiLIVE/Sign up tab in the upper right-hand corner of the Home page or call 978-927-2223 to bid by phone or absentee bid. Better yet … come to our gallery at 117 Elliott Street, RT. 62, Beverly, Massachusetts to preveiw the sale, Thursday- Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm and at 8:00am on Sunday, day of sale.

Not to pick on Design Within Reach in is this blog…there are many other pieces of furniture in the auction from BB Italia, Saporiti Italia, Thayer Coggin and Dansk. But thats for another post!

Each year, for the past four years I have attended TEFAF, which stands for The European Fine Art Fair that takes place every March in Maastricht, The Netherlands.  Maastricht is probably one of the more beautiful, quaint European cities you will ever visit, with amazing restaurants and shopping, and the art fair is truly amazing. The art and antiques are serious, and so are the buyer’s and the prices. It is like going to the finest museum in the world, where everything is for sale.

Maastricht along the Meuse River

Maastricht along the Meuse River
Photo by

TEFAF is for museum curators and serious collectors to add to their collections, and for people like you and me to go enjoy some of the most beautiful art and antiques in the world, all under one roof. Started originally as an art fair specializing in Old Master paintings, today the fair showcases fine art, modern and contemporary art, tribal art, antiques, design and the world’s top jewelers like Graff, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati. It is the largest and most diverse art fair in the world with over 275 international exhibitors and a strict vetting process.

There is always a fabulous display of roses at he entrance as a photo backdrop !

This year alone TEFAF saw over 70,00 visitors with 262 museums attending, including many of the top European and American institutions.  Maastricht is almost three hours from Amsterdam, and during 10 days in March, everyone is going there for the art.  The booths include works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Goya, and modern masters like Chagall, Klee, Picasso and nearly every well-known artist that comes to mind.

Michele Marieschi (Venice 1710-1743)

Michele Marieschi (Venice 1710-1743)

Vincent van Gogh -The Laakmolen near The Hague c.10-15 July 1882

Vincent van Gogh -The Laakmolen near The Hague c.10-15 July 1882

Four carved swans- one of my favorites at TEFAF 2015

Four carved swans- one of my favorites at TEFAF 2015

The art is accompanied with the most dazzling display of Dutch tulips you will ever see.  The MECC, Maastricht where the fair is held, is an enormous convention site decorated top to bottom with tulips and fancy venues for fine dining, sushi, tapas, as well as champagne bars and espresso cafes.



You might be curious why I go each year as part of my work. I go to see the art and for inspiration, but I also go to promote Kaminski Auctions, and make sure the dealers at TEFAF are shopping our estate sales online every month. You never know where the next masterpiece might be found. There have been several times when I will walk into a fancy European dealers booth, and see a painting that was sold at one time, through our auction gallery.

Every year it’s something different that creates a buzz.  My jaw dropped as I came around the corner this year, to see an enormous booth of Shaker furniture.  Even more surprising than the Shaker exhibit was the fact that it was the vision of Francois Laffanour of Galerie Downtown in PARIS!  It took him 5 years to put the collection together, as a joint venture with the Shaker Museum in New York.  They had on loan four pieces from the museum’s collection, and the rest were pieces they sourced themselves. According to their representative, everything had sold.

Quoted in The Arts and Antiques Weekly, Francois Laffanour said, “It was no accident that his incredible collection of Shaker furniture was brought to TEFAF. “We wanted to expose the European market to Shaker furniture and design, something they are very unfamiliar with. TEFAF’S audience is extremely educated and sophisticated and the reception has been incredible.  They understand what we are doing and have embraced it.”

Shaker furniture on display  by Francois Laffanour of Galerie Downtown, Paris

Shaker furniture on display by Francois Laffanour of Galerie Downtown, Paris                         with an unimaginably long,long,long table!


The Design section of the fair has grown tremendously over the past few years. With my interest in design I always make a beeline to Axel Vervoodt’s booth. The Belgian designer is probably one of the most influential European tastemakers of all time. He has published several books on design including Axel Vervoodt- Living with Light and Axel Vervoodt-Timeless Interiors both available on

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.15.50 PM

“We treasure things that are made by time,” says Axel Vervoordt,” ” the antiques dealer and interior designer’s celebrated style—which favors muted tones, weathered surfaces, richly patinated antiques, and a mix of ancient and modern artworks that share abstract, universal qualities.” (Quoted from Architectural Digest) 

His interiors tend to be minimalist, and he mixes sculptural furniture with classical antiquities and contemporary art.  Decorators and stylists from all over Europe visit TEFAF to see what he is doing each year. His stature in the design world influences trends in every aspect of interior design.

Axel Vervoodt

Axel Vervoodt”s booth at TEFAF 2015




The photos above are from Axel Vervoodt’s booth at TEFAF this year.  He mixes old with new, and contrasts contemporary art with classical antiquities!

How does this all relate back to Kaminski Auctions and my DéCor Blog? I want my readers to know that our monthly Estate sales is where you will find the pieces that represent the latest design trends and the age old classical antiques to make your decorating style stand out from the rest. Whether it be a piece of affordable contemporary art, a European stone bust or a piece of mid century modern furniture from our May 17th Modern sale…such as these great furniture and art finds shown below.

Le Corbusier model LC4 chaise lounge, steel with original cowhide upholstery and original leather pillow

Lot#-2065-Le Corbusier model LC4 chaise lounge, steel with original cowhide upholstery and original leather pillow

Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller chair and ottoman

L0t#-2967-Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller chair and ottoman

Warren Platner for Knoll coffee table, steel base with original bumper with beveled edge glass top

Lot#-2011-Warren Platner for Knoll coffee table, steel base with original bumper with beveled edge glass top

Poul Henningsen

L0t#-2101-Poul Henningsen “Artichoke” hanging lamp, white enameled aluminum and stainless steel, circa 1960s

Pair of Knoll

Lot#2068-Pair of Knoll “Womb” chairs with “Morocco” wool upholstery on steel frame,

Alexander Calder print

Lot#-2019 -Alexander Calder print

              Victor Vaserely

Lot # 2097-Victor Vasarely (1906-1995). “Mexico City”, print, edition XII/CI

Our Modern sale goes online this Friday, May 1st, 2015 at 8:00pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to find your next design treasure.  Visit our website at and sign up to receive our email updates! ! !

Join KaminskiLIVE now for access to our exclusive 200 lot online auction! Bid on paintings, drawings, decorative art and vintage clothing.

Wedgwood pottery is a ceramic ware originally made by the English potter Josiah Wedgwood in 1759. A new earthenware form he created in 1765 caught the eye of the British Queen consort at the time, Charlotte of Meckleburg-Streitz and she allowed him to call it “Queen’s Ware“. The pottery became wildly popular across Europe and further new earthenware forms followed including Black Basalt and Jasper Ware.

An example of Queensware  dinner service

An example of Queensware dinner service

Jasper ware was developed in the 1770’s and became Wedgwood’s most popular style of stoneware. Neoclassical in style and created to look like ancient cameo glass in a matte finish, it is the one that comes to mind today as the classic representation of the Wedgwood Company. Produced in many different colors, the pale blue color developed by Josiah has come to be known as Wedgwood blue.

Roman, Greek and Egyptian ancient mythologies influenced his designs as well as, silhouettes of nobles, dignitaries and political symbols were used.

As well as earthenware plates and vessels jasperware graced everything from mirrors and lighting to architectural features like fireplace mantels, moldings and furniture.

From the Lady Lever Gallery, Liverpool, England

From the Lady Lever Gallery, Liverpool, England

Fine Jasper ware was highly prized and collected by wealthy English and Europeans households and is included in fine museum collections throughout the world.

from The San Antonio Museum Collection

from The San Antonio Museum Collection

Kaminski Auction is pleased to present in their March 15th auction over sixty lots of Wedgwood Jasperware from a dedicated collector. It is the perfect time to add to your collection or start one of your own. These decorative pieces would be wonderful in any room in your home !


Lot# 7256-Wedgwood Jasper ware Flower pots

Lot#7362 Pair of Wedgwood Jasperware covered biscuit jars in lilac

Lot#7362 Pair of Wedgwood Jasper ware covered biscuit jars in lilac

Lot# 7305 Lot of twelve blue and white Wedgwood Jasperware items

Lot# 7305 Lot of twelve blue and white Wedgwood Jasper ware items

Jasperware cheese dome and underplate

Lot# 7347 Jasper ware cheese dome and underplate

Lot #7349 Two pieces of black and white Wedgwood Jasperware, including a covered pot and a covered dish

Lot #7349 Two pieces of black and white Wedgwood Jasper ware, including a covered pot and a covered dish

Lot # 7332 Yellow Wedgwood Jasperware biscuit jar

Lot # 7332 Yellow Wedgwood Jasper ware biscuit jar

All lots are in exceptional condition and can be viewed at This auction takes place Sunday March 15th  at 10:00 am . For more information visit our website and sign up to bid online with KaminskiLIVE. 

There is a style of decorating called “Chinoiserie” that is a French term pronounced  (shen’wäz-re’)  “which pays homage to Oriental influences but expressed in such a way that the rooms have a very European flavor. Chinoiserie became wildly popular in the late 17th century and and peaked around the middle of the 18th century before Neoclassicism became all the rage.

Europeans and the English were fascinated with the Far East and as trade opened up with China and Asia, exotic silks, porcelains and fantastic tales of the way these peoples live inspired this decorating style.  It could be seen in everything from landscape design to furniture to architecture and all through the decorative arts. It was embraced by the French as it blended so well with the Rococo style.  Thomas Chippendale incorporated fretwork into furniture and the term “Chinese Chippendale” was coined. English country estates built fanciful pagodas and French chateaus and castles had entire rooms painted in the “Chinoiserie” style.


From Harpers Bazaar

From- Chinoiserie Chic-

From- Chinoiserie Chic-

The style can be a bit formal and fussy for the way we live today, but nonetheless an elegant mix of pieces from the Far East  and the old world can give any room you are decorating incredible flair.

Very often our monthly estate auctions feature many pieces of decorative Asian porcelain, furniture, art and decorative antiques. With all the current interest by Asian collectors these pieces often sell for very high prices and are out of reach of the average persons decorating budget.  Surprisingly though, many are still very affordable, especially if they do not have a lot of antique value and were produced for the masses.

Your decorating style does not have to be  Asian themed for them to work well. Asian antiques work with most decorating styles and add a bit of the exotic to any room.

Take for example this 19th century Chinese Famille Rose Vase that was in our February 8th sale, valued at $300-$500 it sold for $150.00 to a lucky bidder. Decorated in beautiful pinks and greens, with peonies and birds in a baluster form this vase would have huge decorative impact empty, or filled with flowers on an entry table, or in any room of the house.


Imagine this lovely piece on your foyer table or in a living room with forced branches of apple blossoms, quince or pussy willows this spring.



When looking at Asian porcelain the painting should be highly detailed and precise, the colors should be harmonious with the colors you have chosen for your interior.

Our estate auctions are the perfect place to start a blue and white porcelain collection in which you can mix many types, both Asian and European.  Blue and white Canton pieces come up frequently and are very affordable and are the perfect pieces to start a collection.  I love the look of many may pieces of blue and white together in any room.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 4.49.08 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 5.05.54 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 4.27.14 PM

All of these wonderful blue and white Asian pieces sold for $100 at our auctions,


with a few purchases like this you are well on your way to a fantastic collection….

Chinoiserie wallpaper is very popular and is a great way to dramatically change the look of a room.


An example of a dining room with Chinoiserie wallpaper

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 4.03.55 PM

And a more modern interpretation of  Chinoiserie wallpaper in a foyer .

If you don’t want to go “whole hog” with the “Chinoiserie” look in a room, Chinese artists often painted onto screens, panels and scrolls. They were prized for their detailed images and calligraphy brush strokes.  Our estate sales often feature pieces like these that can easily create a focal point for a large wall space or behind a furniture grouping .


Screens also work very well in a bedroom and make wonderful decorative headboards.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 4.28.19 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 4.31.18 PM

Every month is different but you will often find Asian cabinets like these pictured, in our monthly auctions.

garden stools  …

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 3.53.02 PM

Beautiful Asian vases made into lamps

And decorative mirrors like this Chinoiserie mirror coming up this spring.

Blog Mirror_1

Curious about auctions, but too intimidated to attend? Let us demystify the process and introduce you to the fun, exciting, and addictive world of auctions! 

Join us this spring for one of our evening programs on 

How to Bid and Buy at Auction

Thursday, April 30th & Thursday, May 14th

Browse our gallery, and listen to an informative presentation on the art of bidding at auction.

Kaminski Auction Gallery 
 117 Elliott Street, RT.62, Beverly, Massachusetts
 To help with your initiation into the auction world,  we also encourage you to bring a single item for a complimentary appraisal! Sign up by calling 978-927-2223  Ext. 500 0r send me an email at

Sorry for the long hiatus on writing this blog. I seem to get bogged down with writing press releases, pre and post every auction, social media and a  million other things that have to happen each month. My New Year’s resolution is to write, write, write, at least one post every single month if not more.

I would like to welcome Amy Cavilla as our new head of social media marketing. We have lots of fun things planned to keep you up to date on our Kaminski Auctions, and keep you informed on whats happening in the auction and art world. So be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram if you don’t already.

Amy Cavilla

I have so much to learn about social media but the one thing the experts keep telling me is that I need to engage my audience. Although this blog is not quite the same thing, I realized that the posts I got the most comments on were those I made personal.

Our social media campaign this month is “Some of Our Favorite Things” that sold this past year at Kaminski Auctions . So for my final post of 2014 I thought I would share with you some of my personal auction purchases of 2014 and how I used them to decorate my homes.

My first purchase of 2014 was from the May 20th Century/Decorative Arts and Modern sale and it was this Mies Van der Rohe for Knoll, Barcelona low table, “X” form with a chromed steel base and square glass top, circa 1950s.  An iconic table I purchased for $425.


Mies Van der Rohe for Knoll, Barcelona low table


The exact same piece is selling on the popular Design Within Reach site for $1720. I used it as a coffee table in my Boston apartment.The glass top makes the apartment seem more spacious and airy. I unfortunately don’t have a photo of it to share. But you can see it works perfectly in a traditional or modern room.

A beautifully furnished traditional living room with a Mies Vander Rohe Barcelona table

A beautifully furnished traditional living room with a Mies Van der Rohe Barcelona table- Elle Decor photo

And a more modern apartment with the same table     Elle Decor phot

And a more modern apartment with the same table- Elle Decor photo

Another purchase which I absolutely love is this Mid Century root table.  It is really made  of grape vines from the vineyards in California but I thought it looked a lot like drift wood, and would work in my Nantucket home as a fabulous end table.


It was described as a Northern California tree root table with glass top and I purchased it for $120.00.  I changed the black glass it was shown with to clear for a lighter more airy look as well. With the clear glass top you can see the beautiful roots below. Everyone who visited this summer loved this table.

A not so great auction purchase was this pair of carved continental style gilt wood planters that I paid $360.00 for.  They were an impulse purchase I made with a friend thinking they were” too over the top together” and we would each take one.

medium-9111.0_1They were also too garish all gilt. The plan was to wash them with a white paint and rub it off for a french washed wood effect or to paint different parts of them black for contrast and the French Empire look.  Needless to say neither one of us has had the time to do anything with them, so they were reconsigned to auction.  The beauty of a making a mistake purchase at auction is you can usually resell them at a future sale.

My two favorite purchases of 2014 were my last two. A beautiful console table constructed from a staircase segment.  It has  great provenance, as it was originally from the Newport, Rhode Island  home of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

It is wrought iron with a sandstone top. A very mediterranean look.  I thought initially I would use it outside as a serving table on my loggia but found it was the perfect size and visually interesting enough to finish off my upstairs foyer.

Upstairs Foyer with New Console Table

Upstairs Foyer with New Console Table

Above the console table hangs an unusual Venetian mirror which is faux tortoiseshell. I purchased it some years ago at a Christie’s Interiors auction. Flanking the mirror on both sides are very large sepia photographs by Michael Kahn featuring exquisite details of two italian sculptures that stand in front of the Uffizi Gallery Museum in Florence, Italy.

At the Annual Thanksgiving auction I purchased this beautiful 19th century highly decorative Venetian mirror.  The glass surround has detailed images of gondolas and scenes of Venice.

medium-17008.0_1 It was the perfect thing to finish off my Venetian inspired bathroom with it’s very pink, very dramatic Designer Guild “gilded” wallpaper.  I carried the pink theme into the bathroom as it is just off the Venetian inspired dining room (from a previous post Updating a Traditional Dining Room, March 22, 2013).

My over the top Designers Guild wallpaper with my new Venetian mirror auction purchase.

My new Venetian mirror auction purchase.

The pièce de resistance of 2014 has to be my auction purchase from the “Oprah Winfrey Collection sale last November 2013.  Although from the previous year, I have to count it in this years purchases, as it arrived it the dead of winter in 2014 with four feet of snow on the ground.  After many months of searching for the perfect cistern and figuring out how the water would be pumped thorough the dolphins mouths and the center shell,here it is in it’s full glory.  The focal point of my loggia!

IMG_1388                     Happy Holidays to all and I wish you a great auction and decorating year in 2015 !

I started writing this blog to showcase how to decorate with antiques in a modern decor. There are people that can look at a jumble of stuff at an estate sale and see how each and every piece can translate into a look for their home that you see everyday in the top design magazines like Elle Decor, Traditional Home,and Architectural Digest.

And their are those people who just can’t make that visual leap. This new blog post is to help you make that visual leap to create the interior you always dreamed of but at a  fraction of the price of new reproduction furniture, mirrors, chandeliers, paintings, whatever……

I will attempt to show you some of  the auction items that you will find each and most every month at Kaminski Auctions monthly estate sales that will help you achieve that designer look you want for your home.

An item like this huanghuali or peach wood altar table is so versatile.


9001 – CHINESE HUANGHUALI ALTAR TABLE Chinese altar table, Huanghuali wood, 31 1/2″ x 17 1/2″ x 79″. Provenance: CT collection

EST: $1,000 – $2,000

You can see how fabulous it will look in an off white modern decor behind a sofa

                                      Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.05.07 PM

or as the perfect foyer table

     Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.07.11 PM

 Something like this moroccan brass tray table adds interest to any room.

9073-Moroccan inlaid table with hammered brass top, 20″h x 30″dia. Provenance: MA collection.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.34.26 PM
It adds texture and interest as a coffee table in a living room
Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.31.35 PM

And adds a bit of the exotic to any living room

                                               It can be used inside or out as well.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.27.29 PM

We always have a fantastic selection of traditional furniture like this dining table and round mahogany foyer table that work perfectly as a dining table or a center table in a large square or rectangle foyer.  They especially look great in an all white modern room with unmatched side chairs and carving chairs at the head.


Early 20th century dining table on brass castors with two leaves, mahogany, hand crank mechanism for opening and closing table, 31″h x 78″w x 50″d, 18″w (leaves). Provenance: MA estate.



Late 19th or early 20th century round dining table, mahogany, 31 1/2″ h x 65 1/2″ dia.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.10.30 PM

Here are some fabulous foyer looks..

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.38.09 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.38.24 PM

Or you can paint it white !

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.38.46 PM

If mid century modern is your look . This fabulous chair is also featured in our July 13th sale


9214 Eric Kirkegaard Danish Modern chair, teak and leather, with original metal label “Made in Norway for International Designer’s Group,” 30″ h x 22″ w x 19″ d. Provenance: From a Winchester, MA collection.


You see this look in all the decorating magazines these days.  Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 5.43.03 PM

If Midcentury modern is your style don’t miss our 20th Century/Modern sale

Sunday, September 28th

for more vintage looks like this .

Imagine redoing a room with various pieces of the Chinese porcelain that we have at every auction .  Grouping it together gives your room a theme and the blue and white looks fabulous together in a contemporary space.

 Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 5.09.17 PM

And our pieces are the real thing that will hold their value.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 5.07.42 PM


#9081 -Pair of Chinese blue and white vases, 11 1/2″. Provenance: MA estate.



9396-Chinese fish tank, blue and white porcelain, 12″ x 13 3/4″. Provenance: CT collection.



9326 -Chinese blue and white vase, porcelain, dragon-shaped holder, marked on base, 10 1/2″. Provenance: CT collection.


You  can start a blue and white porcelain collection with just one auction.

Also take a look at Lots- 9328,9326,9401,and 9359

Pair them with this fabulous Chinese chest !


9070-Chinese red door lacquer cabinet, 29″ x 20″ x 13 3/4″. Provenance: CA collector.

EST $350-$550

Don’t miss our July 13th Estate sale at 

you can bid live through the Internet with our online bidding program  

KaminskiLIVE or by phone or absentee bid 



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,156 other followers