Inspiration

Styling Traditional Wood Furniture

Monday, May 11th, 2015

I received an email from Sarah with a design dilemma, she like many has inherited a unique piece of furniture, it belonged to her grandmother and recently was restored by her father to its original wood state. Sarah wants to keep the heirloom buffet in her home, it has sentimental value, but her dilemma is how to create a stylish look with this piece that sits in her dining room.

grandmothers buffet

Personally, I love seeing wood pieces like this in a home, they add richness and warmth, and mixing pieces from different periods makes a home feel collected over time. The use of traditional wood furniture like this can be a purposeful placement by antique lovers, or a much treasured heirloom like Sarah’s that a family wants to keep.

In this case my first instinct is to change the wall color to anything other than brown with fresh paint or perhaps a wall treatment, and add a large scale mirror or art gallery  above. I might replace the pulls with something sleeker like these and place a large potted plant or tree to the right.

To style it there is so much she can do with decorative accents to create a layered appealing look. Here are a few examples I found where both bloggers and designers have tackled this same issue and styled traditional wood furniture in a contemporary way.

Below a gilded mirror and trio of classic blue and white chinoiserie accents (two vases, one lamp) introduce shape and color. Books and a smaller work of abstract art balance out the center of the arrangement.

traditional chest modern styling

the pink pagoda

A monochromatic white palette dominates this vignette, from the wall paneling to the shapely accents in an odd numbered arrangement; the purposeful use of white allows the piece to take the spotlight.

antique chest of drawers white objects

traditional home

You can’t go wrong with a pair of sleek lamps, partner them with a few smaller pieces of art in various scales and petite shapely objects, then add a touch of greenery.

traditional chest modern lamps

house seven

Simplicity is another approach, using a large scale mirror anchored by a pair of lamps with modern black shades. Prop another smaller piece of art in front and rotate a bowl of fruit or vase of fresh flowers weekly.

modern mirror lamps on traditional console

mark ashby design

Don’t overlook the opportunity to make a statement on the wall, beautiful grasscloth wallpaper and a glossy bamboo pagoda mirror add panache and a pair of ginger jar lamps introduces a lovely blue and white pattern.

wood buffet jessie miller

jessie d miller

Again a chinoiserie ginger jar always complements the style of the traditional chest, and an orchid in a polished silver champagne bucket adds an elegant touch. Above this chest hangs a mercury leaf mirror flanked by two gold leaf sconces, on top a smaller piece of abstract art and stack of books balances the vignette. 

ashley goforth traditional chest

ashley goforth design

What’s happening with the furniture around the traditional piece can also influence the styling. Below Tobi does an masterful job of layering blue accents in the form of books, artwork, and a lamp on this wood bedside chest, playing off the tones in the fabric on the headboard and wallpaper.

traditional wood bedside chest

tobi fairley

In Jana’s great room she styled her bookcase simply with varied book placement and floating artwork, but also notice the use of contemporary textiles to balance the traditional furniture in the room.

traditional bookcase

jana bek

This antique chest was modernized with lucite knobs then surrounded by a collection of art, and how fresh the space feels with that fabulous pink tufted chair off to the side. The styling on top is eclectic and fun, mixing a whimsical cachepot and fern with a unique sculptural lamp.

traditional chest lucite knobs

house beautiful

Pairing traditional wood furniture with contemporary accents can be done and successfully! How have you included antiques or heirlooms into your home’s design?

Baby Grand Pianos

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

I haven’t written much about the baby grand piano that sits in our living room, but you may have noticed it in off to the side in pictures over the years. We owned a basic wood upright piano for a few years but then gave it away to some friends when we inherited Matt’s grandfather’s black baby grand ten years ago. I was again thinking about the baby grand when the bottom of the bench started to bow at the weight of books of music and as I removed them to repair it, I started thumbing through them remembering all the tunes I keep promising myself I’ll learn to play someday.

Matt and my middle daughter are the only two that play, I haven’t sat down in a long time although I took lessons years ago and got pretty good at chords and scales and even learned to play a version of “Silent Night” at Christmas a few years ago, although if you asked me to play it now I couldn’t! Everyone who comes into our home is drawn to the baby grand, especially children. All of the visiting ones want to play it and it’s never off limits, even to my two year old nephew as long as it’s treated gently.

black baby grand piano living room

The piano is a family heirloom and the first thing you see when you walk into our home. It’s in tune but could use a good cleaning and a polish – it will forever hold sentimental value. Of all the sounds that occur in a home in our media and tech dominated world, the sound of piano keys still remains a favorite, whether it’s a child tinkling with the keys or real melodies being played.

A baby grand piano is an elegant instrument, one that adds an air of formality to a space. When I catch the sight of a grand piano in a home or a hotel lobby, I always pause and smile. Do you?

grand piano in corner

 irvin serrano

 

wood grand piano

rachel belden interiors

 

living room

owens + davis

 

burled wood baby grand piano

louise jones interiors

wall gallery baby grand

 joy tribout design

 

black piano gray chairs

j hirsch interiors

 classic wood baby grand piano

jonathan legate

 

black grand piano

 whitten architects

 

black baby grand piano

blair harris

Does your family have a piano or did you grow up with one? Do you play? Is there a history behind the piano in your home?