Archives for posts with tag: decorating style

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 !

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 www.nyenrodealumni.nl

Maastricht along the Meuse River
Photo by -www.nyenrodealumni.nl

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.

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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!


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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 Amazon.com

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“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.

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Axel Vervoodt”s booth at TEFAF 2015

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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 http://www.kaminskiauctions.com and sign up to receive our email updates! ! !

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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An example of a dining room with Chinoiserie wallpaper

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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 .

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

From-desiretoinspire.net

From-desiretoinspire.net

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

From-despiertaymira.com

From-despiertaymira.com

garden stools  …

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Beautiful Asian vases made into lamps

From-casasugar.com

From-casasugar.com

Fromchiccoastaliving.blogspot.com

Fromchiccoastaliving.blogspot.com

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

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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 driva@kaminskiauctions.com