Anyone who has perused an antique store knows that there are usually hundreds, if not thousands, of small items for sale. Often cheaper (but not always) there’s something about purchasing a small antique piece that doesn’t feel quite as intimidating as committing to something larger – a dipping of the toes if you will. But there’s no denying that a well-placed, statement antique can have major impact in both modern and retro interiors alike; but where does one start when setting out to purchase one?
I caught up with Sydney Fair exhibitor and antiques expert and purveyor Robbie Carter (of Eclectic Find) recently to glean some expert tips.
Like most things in life, good things come to those who wait, and this maxim is especially true when it comes to finding a fabulous antique. “Patience is often the key. It can take time to find the right piece, that’s why it is called antique hunting! I actually have a customer wait list for people on the hunt for a special and specific statement piece,” says Robbie.
Go with your gut
“Find a piece that really speaks to you and says take me home! if it is painful to walk away then you probably shouldn’t because unlike other mass-produced decor pieces you may never find another one exactly the same,” says Robbie. Like that pair of shoes you just can’t stop thinking about, sometimes it’s best to pounce so as to avoid regret down the line.
I favour this attitude when it comes to most interior decisions but it certainly goes without saying when it comes to purchasing a statement antique. “Don’t be afraid to be bold and daring. The more unusual and rarer the bigger the wow factor and the chance to show your individuality,” says Robbie.
Don’t be afraid to mix old & new
There’s no doubt that antiques have enduring appeal and we’ve spoken to experts in the past who have demonstrated just how amazing they can look in modern homes and Robbie agrees. “Antique pieces often have a time worn look and a beautiful aged patina that make a striking contrast when placed in a modern interior – this enhances the beauty of both the piece and its surrounds. I find these pieces draw the eye to certain sections of the home and gives a modern home character, depth and personality,” says Robbie says that a feature wall that combines antique and contemporary art is one of her favourite looks.
As for what is currently trending, Robbie admits it’s an eclectic mix that ranges from oil paintings to champagne buckets and Hollywood Regency pieces.
“Original antique artworks, especially oil paintings and portraits are very popular. A lot of my customers own Airbnb’s or are stylists looking to create an interesting gallery wall. Likewise, pieces for entertaining and creating a beautiful table scape are popular too – think authentic French champagne buckets, crystal ware, candle sticks and cutlery,” says Robbie who cites bookends, inlaid Victorian boxes and anything Hollywood Regency as popular too. “Especially wall sconces and anything Mid Century bamboo.”
Styling: Alanna Smit | Photography: Simon Whitbread & Dee Gerlach
The Sydney Fair is the state’s largest fair showcasing an exclusive range of antiques, jewellery, arts and some of the country’s most significant and rare objects. The Fair runs Thursday 30 May – Sunday 2 June 2019, at the Kensington Room, Royal Randwick Racecourse. Purchase tickets.