What’s “trending” right now in antiques?

James Farmer

Ask the Expert: What’s trending right now in antiques?

Thanks for your question! I get this one a lot. In fact, this is probably my second most frequently asked question next to last month’s, “How old is an antique?” I have to kind of chuckle because the short answer is that what’s “trending” right now in antiques is to not buy antiques….. and that’s why it’s actually such a great time to buy them!

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Ask the Expert: How old is an “antique”?

Question: How old does a piece have to be to be considered an antique?

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Answer: Thank you for your question! I get asked this almost every day and yet I never get tired of giving an answer. The definition is both simple and complicated and can vary depending on who you ask. Let’s start with the simple.

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Ask the Expert: Antiques for Kids?

Question: Hey there! I really enjoyed your post a few years back on the “antiqued nursery.”  Could you give any tips or ideas on using antique pieces for kids’ rooms?  In particular, a little boy’s room? We just found out we are having our first (a boy) in the new year and I am looking for some unique pieces to start a collection for him.  I want to create a nursery that can double for a “big boy” without changing too much decor. Thanks!

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Ask the Expert: Antique Pewter

51e19802f3982671692338e8591871f6Question: Hi! I have just inherited a large collection of pewter from my grandparents. Is antique pewter even worth anything? Any thoughts or ideas on how to display it if I decide to keep it? Thanks! – Anne Marie in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Answer: Thanks for your question. I love pewter! Let me see if I can help you. Some people think of pewter as “a poor man’s silver”, but that is not the case at all. Pewter is an alloy consisting predominantly of tin, but alloyed with other metals, like copper or lead, to make it stronger. So, it’s not exactly cheap to make.  Continue reading

Antiques and Design with Stephanie Jarvis

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I get to work with a lot of designers in my business.  Many might use an antique here or there if a client really presses them. But, by and large, most tend to find a “formula” and stick with it. Not Stephanie Jarvis. Rarely in my career have I seen a designer so willing to not only use antiques in her interiors, but who has the knowledge to go out and hunt them down for clients.  Maybe it’s because it’s in her blood, maybe it’s because she holds degrees in both Art History and Architectural History from the University of Virginia, but I suspect it’s something much more than that. Continue reading

Shop the Show with Jennie Hugo

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I am extremely flattered and excited to get to team up with well-known Jacksonville designer, Jennie Hugo for this year’s Art & Antique Show walking tours.  Jennie brings a unique and fun perspective to the Wolfson Show. She comes from a family that has been in the business of interior design for almost 100 years. The name “Hugo” has become synonymous in this town with beautiful and gracious interiors. Still keeping the family standard of excellence, Jennie has put a new twist on things. Building on a knowledge of style and furniture deeply ingrained in her from birth, she has a fresh and bold taste that needs to be introduced into the world of antiques. Join us Saturday, December 6 at noon and 4 pm for an hour of old and new, form and function, and a pop of inspiration just in time for the holidays.

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Jennie and I will walk you through the show, explaining how to mix old and new, modern with super traditional, casual with formal.

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Ask us about pieces you are thinking about buying. Bring pictures of things you need to pair together.  A spot on the tour will get you one action-packed hour of fun and education.

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Learn about where a piece came from and if it is a good buy for you right now. Discover new places for things in your home…places you never thought about before.

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Jennie and I are going to be like little elves throughout the weekend, planting a boxwood or tying a bowtie on our favorite pieces….pieces that we think are particularly special. So be on the look out for my bowtie or Jennie’s boxwood and grab them before someone else does….or get your parents to 🙂 !

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Jennie will help compliment this boring, old “expert” and together we hope to make your house a little bit more of a home this holiday season.

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Spots are going fast, so reserve your place today and take advantage of an hour one-on-one with Jennie Hugo as we unpack the show, one booth at a time.

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For reservations email youngcollectorsbooth@gmail.com today or call 205-807-6041 with any questions. And in the mean time, check out Jennie’s store and blog.

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And don’t let name fool you, though we start and end at the Young Collector’s booth, this tour is open to the young and not-so-young. What a great way to shop the Show with your kids and learn what they might want for Christmas. Hope to see y’all next week!

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Form & Function with The Nashes: A Family Room

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In this month’s “Form & Function” I thought we’d tackle more than just a piece of furniture. How about a whole room?  I felt the need to reach out to my generation about our strange version of the “family room” and a not-so-pretty trend I see creeping into millennial’s design that I fear is hostile to “brown furniture”. To take wood out of a room, is to take life of a room….and that’s a mistake I don’t want my generation to make.

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Does anybody remember that thing called “the den”? That room that was less formal than the living room, but still resembled a real room? That cozy place for family to gather and kids to play?

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Yea, that one….”The family room”…..The den”…..”The playroom”….”The TV room”. Some of us, like me, have one, while others of us may have all four. Others still, might have forgone all the normal functions of their house to give way to what is basically four TV rooms.  Well, in this Form & Function will you permit me to challenge you to think outside the box a bit and bring some warmth back into the “family room”? If these images look familiar….I urge you to consider some other options.

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It seems that among many of my peers, the modern family room/den isn’t complete without the sectional sofa, the particle board bookshelf, the wall mount flat screen so big that no art can be hung around it, and the occasional large cage for the kids. Am I right? Family rooms today seem to look more like something out of Soviet Russia than a place where anyone would actually want to hang out.

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This may look like it’s right out of Vogue, but it might as well be the 1980’s apartment of a Party official in Moscow.

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For what it’s worth, here’s what I did. My wife wanted clean and sparse. I wanted stacked and formal. Our compromise was a place where I could mix vintage and antique, fine and not-so-fine…..and she could find a peace in the comfort and simplicity. We wanted a place that could be made messy and chaotic during the day and be quickly put back together for cocktail hour with the grandparents by night.

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A far cry from the formal Living Room, where the French, the Gilt, and the Oils dwell, this is the true livin’ room. A place for the young and old,  whether for play-dates or cocktails….this is a real family room.

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The vintage Hugo’s leather chair and ottoman inherited from my grandparents is “Daddy’s Chair” and the lime/yellow vintage chair opposite, inherited from my wife’s grandparents, is “Mama’s Chair”. The Ikat ottoman from HomeGoods is really a trunk full of dress-up clothes. The salmon camelback sofa upholstered in linen was a find from the greatly missed “ESTATE” of Avondale; and is accented by a contemporary Turkish 4 x 6 from Carpet Concepts. Copying from the English, we put it all over a wool-jute rug that is soft for children’s play. A sea of “potato sack” burlap panels line the windows. We added pinch pleats to them for formality, but chose the burlap to add youth and warmth to the room. Burlap, lined with black-out fabric, is also an economical solution for the look of linen (especially if you need eight 96″ panels).

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Another vintage Hugo’s piece, this lady’s writing table is used for 1st grade art projects that are easily shoved into a drawer to make way for impromptu hors d’oeuvres  and a serve-yourself bar. A sturdy 1940s Windsor chair, made of English chestnut and a 1950s Hepplewhite style mahogany side chair make for extra seating at parties as well as durable bases for toddlers’ knees.

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One of my favorite pieces in the house, this Edwardian bookcase, circa 1900, is a great place to display wedding gifts and family heirlooms, while providing ample space underneath for those lovely primary colored, cardboard bricks and Fisher Price toys that can never seem to find a home. I love that from an adult’s eye view, you can see elegance, and from a kid’s…toys.

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I converted a painted tea canister used to ship tea from China into a lamp. The hunter green of the canister lamp plays nicely on the moss green burlap drapes and “Folly Green” walls by Farrow and Ball. A simple late 19th century New York bachelor’s chest serves as easy access for the kids’ toys and a Brunschwig and Fils pillow dresses up an otherwise unattractive vintage chair. And of course, everything has rather soft edges and corners for my little terminator.

I encourage my young friends and followers not to sell out to the sterile “Family Room” that can be easily purchased out of an online showroom. Kids, dogs, and life will wear on a room, why not embrace it and choose things that can handle the wear? Why do family rooms have to be sparse and ugly just because they need to be kid friendly and comfortable?

When you are shopping the Show this year, don’t just think of your formal living and dining rooms. Antiques have stood the test of time and can stand up to your 2-year-old.

So this holiday season, why not create a lovely and inviting place for the young and old….

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For the birthday parties and playdates….

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For the Christmas tree and the baby…

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Make it a real Family Room….a room that marries both form and function…..

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…….an elegant place where canines, sproutlets, and antiques can meet…

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….and a place where both your kids and grandparents will feel comfortable.

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Live from Savannah with E.W. Nash & Son

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As promised, here’s a report “Live, from the field”……..the antique guy’s attempt at Travel and Leisure. Not quite, but I did just return from the American Society of Appraisers International Conference in Savannah and got pumped up about our show’s theme this year. How was the conference?……well, it’s kind of torturous to be trapped in a conference room in a place like Savannah. Who wants to learn about silver marks and Georgian furniture when you could walk around and experience it for yourself? After a couple of days, I decided to sneak out of a few lectures and thought of you all.

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We are always longing for historic places to “get away”;  and Savannah is in our own back yard. As old as most New England cities, and just as beautiful, how do we forget about this place two hours north of us? An integral city in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and a cultural beacon of light throughout the centuries, Savannah is one of those places I had brushed aside as “too touristy” to be enjoyed.

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If you don’t want to play Scarlett O’Hara and Gone With The Wind every time you go to Savannah, here’s the off-the-beaten path version that I found when I got the courage to duck out of the appraiser’s conference…..

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You want to know what I think is the best restaurant in town? It’s a little place called The Gryphon. No doubt named after the 19th century debating society at Oxford, this little restaurant run by SCAD is like none I’ve ever been to. For those of you who liked last year’s lecture, The Gryphon’s atmosphere has William Morris and Downton Abbey written all over it.

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I was trying not to be that dorky tourist who kept snapping pictures, but the place was amazing. Kilims and leopard prints, Audubons and chintz…..this anglophile was in heaven.

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We popped in with two kids (a one and six year old) right at closing. The gracious hostesses, all SCAD students, seated us and told us we could have anything not sold out on the menu. Luckily, that included this delicious artichoke panini with goat cheese, arugula, and all sorts of other good things I forgot to write down. If you want to feel like you are dining in an intimate London library, go to The Gryphon.

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For a little boxwood love, we toured the Owens-Thomas House.  I can’t say enough about it…..just go see it

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Owned and operated by the Telfair Museum, the Owens-Thomas House is considered by architectural historians to be one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in America. Designed in 1816 by William Jay, the house and garden make you feel as though you are in England.

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Then I discovered Jere’s Antiques. I had heard about this place my whole life and avoided it because I thought it was just another tourist trap. Boy, was I wrong. This wholesale antiques warehouse blew me away. Jere, who is the nicest, most down-to-earth man, is the “Last of the Mohicans”. He’s been importing furniture from the UK since 1976 and his inventory is still fresh and beautiful.

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If you want quality, antique English furniture, go to Jere’s. My dad, who has been in this business for over thirty years, came out of that place saying, “That is some of the best English furniture I’ve seen in a long time.”  Go there, my friends. Ask questions. Jere will answer them and you’ll come away with something special.  You name it, he’s got it. Whether a young collector or a seasoned connoisseur, Jere has pieces for all price ranges and tiers. I know I can’t wait to go back.

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Don’t have the money for Europe? Experience the same cobblestone streets and architecture just two hours away. Get ready for Bowties and Boxwoods with a little day trip to Savannah. If you think you have “done Savannah”, think again…

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William’s Picks…

Where to Stay: The Eliza Thompson House– a lovely hotel in the heart of the historic district. Near everything, particularly The Gryphon and the antiques district, and just far enough from the loudness of Bay Street.

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Where to Eat: The Gryphon Tea Room and 22 Square Restaurant. 22 Square, though modern and sleek in its atmosphere, is one of the only farm-to-table restaurants in Savannah. This place was truly special….and around the corner from Jere’s.

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What to See: The Owens-Thomas House and Jere’s Antiques (obviously I left out a few things…but I did say day trip).

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