Monday, November 13, 2006

Much Ado About Antiques

I was positively suckered in to reading an article in the New York Times H&G section last week, merely because the accompanying photographed included Joan Rivers and folk art. Not that I have a particular interest in Joan Rivers and folk art, mind you, I just enjoyed the juxtaposition.

(Here is the article, in case you didn't see)

Well, not only was there scant information about Ms. Rivers and her folk art, the article turned out to be a very serious investigation on what well-heeled people worry most about: What their designers think of their family hand-me-downs and antique purchases.

To wit, "You know these pieces: The baroque, over-size bedroom set, fit for the home of a mountain king; the circular mahogany table that seats 14. Angèle Parlange, who grew up in an 18th-century Louisiana plantation house and is the author of “Creole Thrift,” just published by ReganBooks, calls it “big brown furniture.” And unlike the mistakes you make at a flea market and can unload on eBay, when you take this stuff home, you’re stuck for life."

What a limited and dreary world view to have. I was highly appalled by the glaring lack of imagination that I felt a need to give some soothing tips on what to do with your antiques:

-Paint it gold. Unless Aunt Mimi wrote a brilliant manifesto on her writing desk, feel free to paint it gold, replace the hardware and use it as a mini-bar. Aunt Mimi probably used it in that respect, albeit informally. If you're short on space, take the doors off a closet and place in there. You can always stuff your ill-fitting sweaters and stretched-out bathing suits somewhere else.

-Make a dining room. Even if you have the most microscopic apartment, it will behoove you to make your own dining room. If given the choice between some clunky entertainment center and uncomfortable futons, and a circular mahogany table for are better off with the table, a deck of cards, and the phone number of the nearest hotel for your dear friends. Throw caution to the wind, when it comes to scale.

-Burn bridges. Some people WILL be cross with you if you start painting "antiques." The resulting grudge will only be short-term, and really, you probably needed a break from their presence/phone conversations anyway.