• Studio Kate

Living with antiques

Ask an expert: Antique know-how

House & Garden Interiors editor Kate Nixon shares ways to weave pieces of the past into a contemporary space.

“I firmly believe there’s always a place for a classic piece in a modern room.”

Antique furniture holds a nostalgic place in our hearts, yet can appear awkward place in many homes. I love the history and craftsmanship inherent in antiques, from heirlooms to bargain buys and even the sturdy workhorses known as ‘brown furniture’ which can often be picked up for a song. I firmly believe there’s always a place for a classic piece in a modern room. Making it work is all about balance: choose one key item as a statement and accessorise with other elements that have simple profiles, keeping your walls fresh, the art modern and accent colours strong. Add textiles in softening prints or gorgeous shades to surround these time-honoured beauties with energy and give them new relevance.

Interior design by David Hicks (above). Photograph by Shannon McGrath (above), Maree Homer (below left) & Elouise van Riet-Gray (below right).

Fresh ideas and easy updates

Re-cover antique seating in a modern print or classic linen.

Try bleaching a Victorian mahogany table for a softer look, or give it a dramatic Feast Watson Black Japan finish.

Balance classic pieces with contemporary art and lighting.

Pair an antique bedside table in dark timber with an upholstered bedhead in a statement fabric or colour.

Freshen up a sideboard, console or side table by popping on a marble top.

Look no further...

Gumtree A great site for quality style steals; gumtree.com.au. Lawsons This Sydney auction house holds regular sales of fine and antique pieces;lawsons.com.au. Antique Mahogany Find a wide range of classic reproductions here; antiquemahogany.com.au. Hudson Furniture Handcrafted, solid mahogany furniture at affordable prices; hudsonfurniture.com.au.

Feature written for House & Garden magazine