Sunday, January 30, 2011

Modern Mix: Top Five Antique Accessories to Collect Now!

We grabbed dinner on Friday night with one of my dearest friends, who just built a beautiful home in Preston Hollow. Most of her furniture is contemporary, but like me, she loves the mix. She asked a really good question - what are some antique accessories that I can start collecting that will fit into my modern house? Here are my top five picks. 

1. Louis Philippe Mirrors

I'm crazy about the simple, clean look of these 19th century mirrors, so much in fact that I have two of my own! Most are found in a silver or gold-leaf finish, and if you can snag one with the original mercury glass still intact, even better. 

Elle Decor

2. Porcupine Quill Boxes

These boxes were made in the late 1800s on the island of Ceylon (today called Sri Lanka). They come in lots of different sizes and shapes, but most were made using porcupine quills, ivory and ebony. They look wonderful alone or layered together. 

Cote de Texas

3. Italian Fragments

These wood and gilt fragments came from Italian churches in the 18th and 19th Century. Cost depends on the condition and size, but smaller ones are usually reasonably priced. I've seen designers mount them on basic iron stands, or recreate them into custom lamps or bookends. In my sister Hayley's home, she simply set them on store-bought acrylic plate holders. They work so well atop her Louis Philippe commode. 

4. Pierced Creamware

These plates were made in England in the late 1700s as an alternative to the more ornate plates coming out of China. A ton of work went into these plates - all of the little holes along the border were individually cut with a metal tool! A collection works on a wall 
Cote de Texas

Or on a console.
Cote de Texas

5. Chinoiserie Boxes

The French term "Chinoiserie" means  "chinese-esque" and describes a style that has a Chinese influence. You can find everything from tables to mirrors, but my favorite is the black Chinoiserie box. Atlanta designer Phoebe Howard was once quoted in Southern Accents saying, "There is something magical and joyful about chinoiserie boxes, whether they are tea caddies, game boxes, or sewing kits. The ornamentation is whimsical, yet the boxes are timeless, and the classic combination of black with gold works everywhere, in neutral or color-filled rooms." Well said, Phoebe. I couldn't agree more! 

Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper

So, which is first on your list to collect? I think I'm partial to the Louis Philippe mirror...maybe I need a third? 

And, before I sign off, a special thank you to Dallas artist Gina Dunn for featuring me on her blog Utopia Parkway this week! 


  1. I recently saw a collection of pierced cream wear displayed in a little girls room. Very cute!

  2. I really like 1,2,3, and 5. Not sure about the plates, even if they were hard to make. My favorite is the age of all the different pieces, that is truly the coolest part.

    Simple, old school mirrors are elegant and my favorite of the group.