By Alexandra Ganipeau
My heart truly flutters with anticipation every time I enter my favourite or discover a new op shop or auction house. There is something addictive about searching for and hopefully finding, a new favourite new old thing, a great bargain or a perfect unique piece. All homes should have a few vintage pieces as they soften and give some curious and unique character to any interior.
They are always plentiful and easy to find. Small ones can be purchased cheaply but often have an interesting appeal and work so well in any décor or any room.
I adore a large old mirror against a wall on the floor in a bedroom or a living room, or any room for that matter. It creates a focal point and I believe can be a piece of artwork on its own.
An old mirror, even in a modern bathroom above the sink, suddenly gives a sense of drama to the room. I went a little bit miror-obsessed for a while and ended up with these cuties everywhere.
Finding art seems to be the most difficult part of furnishing a home for most of us. As much as I would love to be buying from artists, the price tags unfortunately often stop me. I am not a fan at all of generic posters you can find in big chain stores. Decorating with vintage artwork has become a fun, creative and inexpensive way to give interest to any of the rooms in my home, even the kids’ bedrooms.
I often find unframed pieces, which I really like and I believe look amazing on the piano, on a small stack of books, or bundled if you have many. Go for it instinctively; once you find a style of paintings you like, you will soon develop a collection that will really work and give so much interest to your room. It does take time; ones doesn’t just go shopping for any vintage artwork, but when you see one you like at a price that suits you, do not hesitate. It probably won’t stay up for grabs for very long.
Oh, do I love an old chair! A bit like with art, when it was time to get chairs, I simply couldn’t afford a set of the ones I liked, so I bought one of a kind here and one of a kind there until I had more chairs than I could fit around the table !
Old and non-matching chairs are now found everywhere and my house truly plays musical chairs! They have been used as bedside tables, bathroom utility, living room décor items, bag holders in the entrance. The possibilities are endless and since I’m not precious about them, they can absolutely go outside when we have a big gathering of friends.
There is a “je ne sais quoi” about an old frame that always seems to grab my attention. I love them empty, damaged even. A modern little piece of artwork looks darling in an old frame, so do childrens’ drawings. They are also the perfect short term solution to anything that you want to display. Taking a work of art or a photo to be framed professionally is quite an investment, you want to be sure you will be happy with it for a while, I am afraid there are many photos or children’s drawings especially that I won’t commit to for very long.
So often I have had the best intentions of repairing these old frames, or using them to actually display an image but somehow, most of them end up living a life on a shelf looking spectacularly empty and gloriously unrestored.
— Alexandra is the owner of The Roaming Atelier, an interior decorating company that focuses on using the beautiful, sentimental pieces you already have, to make your home as unique as your family.
Photography of Alexandra’s home by Kate Collingwood