FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

VINTAGE

SPACES | Homepolish Featured Our Apartment!

SPACES, VINTAGE, LIFELauren CaronComment
 The built-ins were built by Jack / the porter chair is my favorite seat in the home. 

The built-ins were built by Jack / the porter chair is my favorite seat in the home. 

Back in October I had my apartment photographed by Homepolish's talented photographer Claire Esparros. She spent several hours in my home capturing every nook and cranny, because there are quite a few! We munched on donuts and bonded over being vegetarians. I was excited because this is something I've been working towards for such a long time. I've taken pictures of our home but never had it professionally photographed until now. 

After 4 years of working on the apartment and documenting it here along the way, I can finally say, it feels 'done'. Which is great because we're now in the midst of moving to Seattle. In less than 3 months the entire home will be packed up a shipped and across the country. It's bittersweet, but I'm very happy to have had the opportunity to properly document it. 

 my favorite gallery wall in the home that holds my favorite prints / that sofa doubles as a guest bed.

my favorite gallery wall in the home that holds my favorite prints / that sofa doubles as a guest bed.

 The Doxie print was a find at Housing Works

The Doxie print was a find at Housing Works

Old New York. It's a style just as much as it is a feeling. Every once in a while, when walking into a Manhattan space, one is overwhelmed with the sense of history. Dark oak-paneled walls, cheetah-print plush carpets, saturated drapery, and antiqued mirrors. All things bright and beautiful from brass to gold are the accents. It's a sense best captured by those ladies who lived through the 60s and 70s, Upper East Side Mad Women. But half a century later and a borough away in Brooklyn, Homepolish designer Lauren Caron has brought that eclectic mix to her 1-bedroom apartment. 

Reading the that intro written by Homepolish's senior editor Matt Powell, gives me chills. It's funny that I didn't intend to have my apartment feel like Old New York, yet it's definitely a compliment considering I'm in love with all the above mentioned.... My goals for the space were for it to be the perfect mix of old and new, collected and curated, and of course to be a reflection of us. 

I think back to my interviews with Bergdorf's when who was soon to be my VP asked, "If you could have your dream home in New York, where would it be and what would it look like?" My answer: An apartment that you might find on Park Avenue, filled with treasures, collections and glamour but set in Brooklyn, so it's not too serious. For this home, I think I've accomplished a hint of that, I'd definitely take one or two more bedrooms and perhaps a dining room, though for the most part it's the perfect mix of what I was dreaming of and what was possible. 

These sorts of projects don't have a start and an end date. Lauren and her husband Jack have lived in the space for four years. Over time, they have amassed a collection of heirlooms and vintage items to fill what was once an empty, blank room. The step back in time begins right upon entry with a wall covered in prancing gilded zebras and arrows. An Indian heritage rug leads you inside to the living room with brass-framed mirrors and a cheetah-upholstered chair. In the kitchen, copper cookware glints a la Julia Child, and farther in the bedroom, a Chinese screen evokes Coco Chanel. It is a perfect reflection of Lauren and Jack, and perhaps of New York life in general. 
 The Scalamandre Zebra wallpaper was so worth it! 

The Scalamandre Zebra wallpaper was so worth it! 

 Max's favorite hang out spot, especially when he know's Jack is on his way home. 

Max's favorite hang out spot, especially when he know's Jack is on his way home. 

 I originally upholstered this chair in a mod floral print, then I went for the Leopard and never turned back. 

I originally upholstered this chair in a mod floral print, then I went for the Leopard and never turned back. 

 I recently wrote about how our little table was a late edition. It's the perfect breakfast nook and work space for when my desk is too cluttered. 

I recently wrote about how our little table was a late edition. It's the perfect breakfast nook and work space for when my desk is too cluttered. 

 Finding that sideboard has added so much storage to once was a useless bar. 

Finding that sideboard has added so much storage to once was a useless bar. 

 A little bit of country influence in the kitchen, and apparently it has a flair of Julia Childs. What a compliment!

A little bit of country influence in the kitchen, and apparently it has a flair of Julia Childs. What a compliment!

It'll be a year in March that I've joined the Homepolish team as a contract designer. It's been a fun ride, taking on a couple dozen clients, remote and local, and have had the opportunity to work with some of the most wonderful people! If you have any questions about Homepolish please feel free to ask! If you'd like to read the whole Homepolish feature about our apartment you can [here].

All photographs were taken by Claire Esparros of Homepolish | Interior design by: Lauren L Caron

VINTAGE | 10 Tips on Shopping for Vintage, Antique + Used Items

VINTAGELauren Caron2 Comments

If you have a taste for vintage or antique furniture, clothing and accessories, you may have already discovered that there's a huge marketplace for those pieces, as well as great amount of confusion for what is good vintage, what is a good price, and what is over priced and/or why it's so expensive. I've grown up with a mother who's always found amazing deals on antiques and vintage pieces, but she's also known when it's worth it to drop a few extra dollars on an item, or when to pass on the "perfect" piece and opt for a good reproduction. Momma Judes (as our family so lovingly calls her) has taught me a few tricks of the trade, on how to be a savvy vintage shopper, and against the advice of my interior design friends, I'd like to share 

 My living room - all of the artwork is vintage or antique | photograph by: Lauren L Caron

My living room - all of the artwork is vintage or antique | photograph by: Lauren L Caron

1

DEFINE YOUR STYLE + START WITH A DIRECTION

The world of vintage and antique can be daunting and many do not know where to start. I would suggest, first and foremost to start creating a collection of images that describe what personally captivates you. This can easily be done through Pinterest by creating boards. Once you start to pull together images of rooms, outfits or items that you love and look at them all together, you'll be able to see a cohesive thread. Within that thread you might start to see a particular design era or genre come to light. When you have begun to understand your own aesthetic, you can move on to my next tip.  

2

RESEARCH

Remember the tagline, "Knowledge is Power" from School House Rock, well its true in the case of vintage shopping, it's also valuable. The number one thing you must understand about buying vintage and antique furniture, accessories and clothing is that you have to know what you're buying. You have to spend a little extra time understanding the background of an item to really grasp the details and the typical price point for each piece.

For example, let's take the ever common, classic Bamboo Chippendale Chair. If you do a quick search for these chairs on Chairish, you'll find a ton of them at a range of price points. You'll also find new replicas from Ballard Designs, and on 1st Dibs, you'll find even more, that are going to cost you a pretty penny. With a little research into these chairs you will quickly discover, that they were originally designed by the infamous, English cabinet maker, Thomas Chippendale. His designs were all the rage in the mid-Georgian, English Rococo and Neoclassical styles of furniture. One of the closely linked designs is this bamboo-turn chair that reached height of popularity in England at the end of the 18th century. The bamboo style chair is strongly influenced by Chinese details, or better known to be within the style of Chinoiserie. 

In the 1960's, these chairs resurfaced in garden rooms and outdoor spaces, thanks to such designers as Tony Duquette, Mark Hampton, and Dorothy Draper.  With that sort of history, of course these chairs are covetable pieces that are going to remain classics for many years to come. Knowing this, you may then decide, paying a little extra will be worth the investment, or you may just decide a well made modern replica will suit your taste. Because these are classic, there have also been a ton of reproductions made through out the years, so it is more likely than not, that originals are harder to come by, and even vintage pieces will be reproductions from the 70s and 80s. Because of that, I would not recommend spending too much money on one of these chairs. 

 Faux Bamboo Chippendale Chairs - A Pair

Faux Bamboo Chippendale Chairs - A Pair

3

KNOW YOUR MARKET

(+ A Little Geography)

This is also, a little more in line with research, but has a slight twist as it doesn't exactly pertain to the specific items themselves. When buying vintage and antique, you will often find better versions of those items in geographic areas where they are a plenty. You will also, find them at lower price points.

For example, Midcentury furniture, let's take the Eames lounge chair. If you were to take a trip to either the mid-west where suburbs boomed in the post war years, or to any retiree locale, you may end up finding a lot more of these chairs than if you were to look in New England. That's because, they were designed in 1956, about 13 years after War War II ended. Now, when they hit mass market retail, wouldn't you guess that's also when many of the boomer babies were beginning to come of age to start a family. Which also means that many of the initial buyers of these chairs were living in the suburbs or now, have relocated to the retiree hubs of the US. In turn, when the market is more saturated with the real thing, prices will decrease. This is true across the board, you will find more shaker style furniture in the North East, more Rattan in Los Angeles, and more Mission Style or Arts & Craft style furniture in Northern California.  

Secondly, understanding the difference between styles of stores will give you an idea as to why sometimes the same kind of items will cost more or less in different stores. If you happen upon an Eames chair in a thrift shop, most often that chair came from donation. In turn the price of the item does not include a finder's or sourcing fee. If you find the same item in an antique store, it will mostly like come at a higher price. Because not only does the value include the price of the piece, but also the time and fees that went into bringing this chair into the seller's store. Antique stores are curated collections, often each item is carefully chosen based on it's quality and the market. Additionally, sellers have to buy these items from their original sellers, pay for any delivery fees and include the value of their time that went into finding the piece. So, although you're paying a little extra for a chair from an Antique dealer than if you were to purchase it from a thrift shop, the price can also come with assurance that this item is quality and has been carefully regard before it came into your life. 

 Eames Style Lounge Chair Reproduction

Eames Style Lounge Chair Reproduction

4

SEARCH HIGH, LOW, DEEP, NEAR + FAR

Thankfully we have the internet these days to take a lot of the leg work off of us. But no matter what, if you want to find good vintage or antique pieces, you have to search everywhere, have no restrictions (don't be a snob) and don't give up! Also, you have your eyes open at flea markets, consignment shops, Goodwill Stores, Salvation Army stores, Housing Works shops, and Antique stores. I can't tell you home many vacations we've planned around flea markets and when there are 'cute little vintage stores' in the area. My favorite sites for finding pieces are: Onekingslane.comEtsy.com, Ebay.com, Chairish.com, 1stDibs.com, Craigslist.org, Housingworks.orgBidsquare.com (a site that pools together all current and upcoming auctions), Moveloot.com, and the latest discovery - moderndesignmarket.com. If you're always keeping your eyes open, you'll never know what you find. It may be an amazing discovery that someone else passed by.

A great example of this, my coffee table. I wanted a brass and glass coffee table for sometime. I searched everywhere and found a few on Chairish that are around the price point of $600, give or take. One day I came across one for $300 at a consignment shop, I literally called them in minutes to see if I could buy it over the phone and come the next day to pick it up! I haven't seen one at that price since... (however, I recently found out that Eddie Ross found his at a yard sale for $10?! - talk about someone who is always looking)

 Vintage Oval Coffee Table   

Vintage Oval Coffee Table

 

5

BE PATIENT

If you're looking for a specific item, you have done your research and know the market, now you may have make the decision between, purchasing new, or to practicing restraint. Which would entail, waiting until the right piece in the right price point comes along. Many of my great finds, have come from waiting for a very long time until I've seen the right one. I've had to pass on a few almost, but not perfects. It can be challenging to wait, but the reward is great!

I had been wanting brass turned candle sticks for a while, but never had the need to purchase them. I scoured flea markets for a over a year to find ones that were flawed, or too expensive. Recently, I saw a pair on Etsy that was under $100. After looking at these for as long as I have, I had enough knowledge to know that the typical going rate is about $125 to $200 for a pair (this is in the NY Metro or North East region), so when I saw them for $80.00, I put them in my favorites pile and waited. Finally, one day came along that I decided it was the time to purchase them, I hadn't found any for a better price, so I bought that pair. 

 Pair of English Victorian Brass Double Twist Candlesticks, circa 1875

Pair of English Victorian Brass Double Twist Candlesticks, circa 1875

6

IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, BUY IT

This may seem like a contradiction to Nº 4, but if you've been buying vintage long enough, you'll start to learn when to pull out the credit card (or check book) and when to put it away. I can't tell you how many of my clients have lost amazing pieces because they passed or waited on items that they loved, but thought, "Oh maybe I'll find something better at a better price," even after I begged and pleaded with them to buy it! In the end we had to spend more money on the not so great alternative or the second best option. If you see something that is especially special, or if it has something unique about it, as long as you can afford to, buy it! Just this week I saw a brass shopping bag on Charish for $85. It wasn't something I needed, but a quick search on 1st Dibs enlightened me to many others selling for $650 - $850. I mean, hot damn! I hesitated, and it's been sold!

 Vintage Italian Brass Shopping Bag Magazine Holders

Vintage Italian Brass Shopping Bag Magazine Holders

7

CREATE ALERTS + REMINDERS

If you have an item that is close to the price you liked to pay, but is still a little too high, create an email alert that will notify if that item becomes lower in price. Or at least put it on your favorite's list so that you can set yourself a reminder to go back to it. Each website has a different system to allow you to do this, and if they don't put a calendar reminder on your phone. If you found the item in an antique store, take a card, ask for the item details, and also asked to be put on a call list for if the item happens to be marked down. My recent purchase of the kitchen sideboard - I wrote about it [here], was purchased in just the same fashion. I put an email alert up on the website, and when the price came down within my price range, my inbox dinged at midnight and I bought the item, just like that!

8

DON'T BE AFRAID TO BARGAIN

One thing that you'll learn after search high and low for items, there's never a standard set price for anything. So if at all possible, set your own price. Once you have the knowledge of the going rate for an item that you've been hunting for, you should at least asked for them to take 20% off the price. Most often, sellers will agree to 15% or 10% because they'll consider taxes and shipping. Or if you offer to pay cash, they'll remove the tax. Don't worry, you will not offend anyone, and if you know your market, you'll be confident enough to know that you're asking for a reasonable price. The only IF, if the item is unbelievable undervalued, buy it immediately, and politely walk away as quickly as possible, jumping and screaming with joy inside, because holy crap you just found the most amazing piece for the most amazing deal!

9

HIGHER A PRO

After reading through all of these tips you may be thinking "I can totally do this!" or you may be thinking the exact opposite. Hunting for vintage and antiques comes naturally to some of us and for others, it doesn't. In either case, that is totally fine! Did you know there is a entire industry dedicated to helping people design and furnish their homes? No, well I guess you've never heard of the industry of interior design and architecture. Like any niche market in this world, there are professionals who spend their lives on this work. I'm one of those people and this is something that I love to do! If you feel like you can't do this on your own, well then you are in luck. You can pay a professional to do it for you. They will find you the best pieces and the best price possible for such pieces. Please note however, in addition to paying for the cost of the item, the price of the designer's time will also be included. The vintage hunt is hard work and a designer's time and knowledge is valuable. 

Another option, that is similar, is to build a positive relationship with an area antique dealer or vintage seller. Tell them what you're looking for and what you're willing pay. With that knowledge in the back of their mind, if they happen upon said item on a buying trip or at an auction. Remember, their time is valuable as well, the price will have to include their time and the cost of the item, also known as a finder's fee. 

10

NO REGRETS

Once you've purchased something or haven't purchased it. Take joy in your decision and have no regrets. If you've purchased, stop looking! You'll always find something cheaper or better down the line, but that won't make you feel better. You'll only wished you had waited. If you didn't purchase it and you lost the item, brush it off and keep looking. If you're patient, you will always find something better or cheaper down the line, or you will decide that maybe not cheaper or better is right for you! If you make the mistake of buying an item that is not right for you or home, no worries, you can sell it! You may lose out on a few dollars but you will have gained a little knowledge. Perhaps learning what does or does not work in your home, or if vintage/antique items work within your space. 

In the end, this is stuff and we buy it because we love it. We are not all auctioneers or living in museums, we don't need to have items that are the best specimens or the best buy. We just need to have items that we love and speak to our souls, and represent who we are as individuals! Thanks for reading!

SPACES | "New" Kitchen Sideboard + Bar for the Apartment

SPACES, VINTAGELauren Caron2 Comments

Our kitchen has been a slow going process. Taking months at a time for little tasks to be accomplished. Take our backsplash that I created a whole bunch of hubbub over when I finally had it tiled a few months ago. One of the last projects for this room is the hallway/niche that leads into the kitchen. It's the next space you see when you walk into the door of our apartment if you continue straight rather than turning right to go into the living room. 

 Dahlia's from the Farmer's Market | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

Dahlia's from the Farmer's Market | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

Last winter, Jack and I replaced the glass panels in the cabinets of this niche, to mirrors to bring in more light and to also bring it up a notch in style. We can't afford to replace the cabinets nor do we want to remove them, they're so useful for a small kitchen like the one that we have. We did want to add a little extra storage and to define this space as a place for a sexy bar and perhaps a better showcase surface, so up until recently there was a butcher block bar mounted to the wall below the cabinets. Last weekend, we replaced it with a very exciting "new" piece of furniture!

 The new Sideboard installed |  Photograph by Lauren L Caron

The new Sideboard installed | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

For months I wanted a credenza or sideboard for this space, but the depth that could fit was less than 21" and it had to have tall enough legs for our dogs to fit underneath. With the bar, we placed their beds underneath when we left them at home. This has become their safe space that acts as a crate. We also replaced the kitchen door with a screen door that we close, so that they have visibility of the entry, living room and front door. This makes them especially happy when they hear a noise at the front door. Which means it's very important to maintain that space as a place for the pups. 

My options were limited but I know that federal style sideboards often have tall legs and are typically narrow in depth. Their original purpose was for formal dining rooms to be used a server, they have drawers to store silverware, serving items and linens. Which is exactly the sort of items I would like for my bar. I also have noticed that there are sometimes really great deals on these pieces since not that many people have formal dining rooms these days. 

 Max napping under the new sideboard. A success!  | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

Max napping under the new sideboard. A success! | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

One day I happened upon just the right server, just out of my price point at a consignment shop in Massachusetts. I decided, what the heck, I'll put it on watch and if the price comes down to an amount I'd like to spend, I'll figure out how to buy it myself. Two months later I received an email at midnight on the dot, that this server's price had dropped down to $350! Immediately I emailed Momma Judes (my mother) to ask her if she would please, please, please pick up this item if I were to purchase it. We called in the morning and they put the item on hold and my parents drove to outside of Boston to pick it up - I know, they're so nice!

One month later, they finally were able to bring it down to the city on a visit. The three of us, my father, mother and I, with a broken arm spent most of Saturday afternoon drinking rosé and pulling out the bar. It was a little stressful as it always is doing anything in the city. But in the end, it turned out beautifully. Now my mother has #FOMO and is on the hunt for her very own sideboard for her home.

One last improvement I made was to purchase a mildly attractive radio for the dogs. I wanted something that was unapologetically a radio, but also looked pretty good on the counter. This one by Crosley had great ratings on Amazon and fit the bill for size and look.  

 Crosley Radio  | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

Crosley Radio | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

Ultimately, I want to wallpaper the back wall with a fun pattern which will really set it apart from the rest of the kitchen. In a previous kitchen post [here] I created this rendering to show what I was planning do at the time. I'm still thinking along the lines of a fun classic paper, but now I'm narrowing in on the Queen of Spain pattern by Schumacher in silver and white. This paper is so chic and I just love the scale in both large and small spaces, designed by Michael Taylor in 1963 it still feels very modern today.  

 Kitchen Rendering  | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

Kitchen Rendering | Photograph by Lauren L Caron

Another thought is to paper this space with the removable paper from Hygge & West. I'm really loving the Diamante patten since I used it in a project at Bergdorf's. They have just the right color way also. It would make so much more sense if I put this in because it would be so much less work, but we'll see if I can come to a decision.

 Diamante Pattern in Grey and White | By Hygge & West

Diamante Pattern in Grey and White | By Hygge & West

Thanks for reading!

SPACES | Beds: New & Old, What You Should Know Before You Buy

SPACES, VINTAGELauren CaronComment
  My Parent's bedroom, The bed is my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1840's. It's a 3/4 sized bed with a classic full sized mattress. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

My Parent's bedroom, The bed is my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1840's. It's a 3/4 sized bed with a classic full sized mattress. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

Antique and Vintage beds are one of life's beautiful things. They can add charm, romance, glamour as well as sophistication to interiors, which often is difficult to evoke with your mass-market or even designer reproductions. Particular sized vintage or antique bedframes are easier to find than one would expect and even more surprisingly, they can run at a fair price. What many of us don't know however, is that these frames often come along with "issues" that must be dealt with before they can suit a modern lifestyle.  The most important issues to consider are size, support and proportion (which could also fit under size but I'm mentioning this more from a design perspective.) If you've ever looked at any of my bedrooms on the blog or from my instagram feed of my parents house, you can see that I'm an avid owner of antique and vintage bed frames. From the exterior one might think that I've had it easy and everything has worked out perfectly with every bed that I've owned. Unfortunately, that isn't true and I've been keeping a secret from you, as I'm sure other antique bed frame owners have as well. They can be a pain in the a**. . . and there have been several instances where I wish I could have just bought a new bed instead. Which finally, after years of sleeping on antiques I have recently purchased a new. But before I go into those details, I want to inform you about antique beds and if you are considering the purchase of one, what you should know before you buy. 

  Our Vintage French Style bed from the 1930's. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Our Vintage French Style bed from the 1930's. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

SIZING

The number one issue that I have learned about antique or vintage beds stems from their sizing.  Standard American mattresses today run accordingly:

Twin - 39 in. X 75 in.

Double/Full - 54 in. X 75 in.

Queen - 60 in. X 80 in.

King - 76 in. X 80 in.

New beds are made to accommodate these widths and lengths. In other countries and in the past however, mattress sizes vary from these standards. In the past fifty years mattress sizes have changed, I'm not sure exactly when but the why I am guessing is due to the size of people. People are taller than they were in the 50s, they're also heavier. So for anyone who buys an antique bed frame, beware.  To start, the twin and full sized beds of yesteryear are sometimes up to a full 6 inches narrower than today's standard frames. Surprisingly, this issue has seemed to not come up in my home but if you do perchance buy one of those sizes, Army/Navy surplus stores sell these size mattresses. Additionally, Military Supply House offers a selection of 30" and 36" width mattresses in both regular and extra long lengths.

  Rita resting on my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1850's. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

Rita resting on my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1850's. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

The next size of double or full mattresses have replaced "Three Quarter" sized mattresses or as they used to be called "regular" or "standard". These typically run 47 - 48" in width which is up to six inches narrower than current full sized mattresses. Three Quarter sized mattresses can be found through some companies as custom orders from US Mattress and Antiquebedmattress.com.

Queen sized bedframes are on average a painful 4 inches shorter in length than today's standards. I say painful because lengthwise they fit a full mattress, but widthwise, a queen. That is the scenario that we ran into with our current antique bed. The only option here is to have your side rails lengthened or to live with the smaller difference (which is actually what we ended up doing.) There are some companies that specialize in lengthening and even widening antique bed frames [here].  You can see when you look at the picture of our bed how the mattress goes about 2" beyond the footboard pole. It's not totally obvious, but enough to drive me slightly crazy.

STRUCTURE

Structurally you have to consider the support system and construction of these antique and vintage frames. As one would guess, a 200 or even 50 year old bed (especially if the people sleeping on the beds have a good marriage ;) ) suffer from wear and tear. Also, in many of the vintage iron beds the supports no longer exist. That is because some of they came with that awful gridlike spring system, while others were made with ropes. The solution we found to fix this problem was to cut two pieces of plywood and rest 2 x 4's along the metal siderails. The Ikea bedframes have a similar system. Additionally, you may have to create a center support structure underneath the bed to ensure it will not cave in, which is something that we did. Last but not least, the joints may need to be restored and re-worked so that they are still in working condition.

  Shown here is the center support structure Jack built to hold up the mattress, he also affixed two plywood boards for additional support so that the mattress would not sag. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Shown here is the center support structure Jack built to hold up the mattress, he also affixed two plywood boards for additional support so that the mattress would not sag. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

SCALE + PROPORTION

The final issue which deals with both size, scale, and proportion is in regards to the headboards. We discovered that the headboards of today accommodate the ultra-thick mattresses and box springs of today. When I finally upholstered my headboard and we went through all the trouble of creating a new base for the frame, we discovered the mattress I purchased was not only too long, but also too thick. It was heartbreaking to see the beautiful Louis XV headboard that I sought out covered by pillows. To resolve this problem that we came across we had to search for a new mattress, one that was thinner first of all and we were hoping the length would be better as well. In the end we settled on a Simmons Beautyrest, which is the 11" depth a full 6" shallower than our ultra puffy one. It's just a comfortable and looks so much better. You can also see the same issue has arisen in my great-grandmother's bed. My mother has decided to ignore the fact that the headboard is completely covered and added a crown with drapery to pull the eye up, which also solves the issue of scale. One other, easy solution to consider, would be to only use the headboard and to mount it to the wall. However, in our case that wasn't going to work, since we have the chinoiserie screen mounted to the wall and the bed could not be mounted on to that.

  Our bedroom with our antique bed frame | photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Our bedroom with our antique bed frame | photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

After sleeping on our current vintage bed for the past 3.5 years we decided to purchase a new bed. I have been eying the Vienne Caned bed from Restoration Hardware, for what I think may be the same amount of time. It wasn't until recently that I decided to splurge on it, especially since there was an amazing sale the last week, which brought the price down from a whopping $2,000 to $1,400 (before taxes and shipping). I've decided hey, we're adults and we know we want a quality bed that will last us the next 30 - 40 years so whats the harm in spending $1500 on a bed? For your information, the details for size and finish: we purchased a queen Vienne, caned bed in weathered oak. I'm in the process of writing a follow up post specifically about foundations (box springs) next, so check in for that very soon, because after purchasing this bed we learned a few other very important details about that aspect!

  The Updated Look | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

The Updated Look | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

In the end, I definitely still have a soft spot for antique and vintage bed frames and I no doubt will be putting my current frame into storage for when we have a guest room or (don't gasp) children... the latter is not in the plans but you never know. Hopefully, this information hasn't scared you too much and that you may still consider a vintage or antique but, please only do so if you know that's truly the look you're going for. My greatest advice would be to make the decision regarding how you would like to invest in your bed, if it is money, purchase new, or pay for a company to adjust an antique to fit a modern mattress, or you will have to invest time into making all of these adjustments yourself.


Bedding Details

I've moved away from any color with my sheets. I've been inspired by the crisp, white hotel sheets.  I have added a throw with a hint of color that I will be able to switch up on the foot of the bed, depending on my mood, but that's it. At some point I may also buy the sheets that have black edging. I'm definitely considering for my next investment and/or treat myself moment, the scalloped sheets by Crane & Canopy. I mean, the tiny bit of detailing is so chic! 

Currently, the quilt, blanket and sheets are from Target & the Euro shams are by West Elm. The silk velvet pillows are from Bergdorf Goodman, Dec Home and the Leopard pillow is something I made myself. 


CREATE | 10 Tips On Building A Personalized Art Collection

CREATE, SPACES, VINTAGELauren Caron2 Comments
  Gallery wall in our living room - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Gallery wall in our living room - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

One of the most common questions I am asked on Houzz.com is how did I build my art collection and where did I find my artwork. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer to that question, 1. Because my number one resource would have to be my mom. And 2. She did not find all the artwork in one place, but through being a collector for many years. However, all is not lost, because I can suggest the best place to start, and what to look for, and what to be thinking about when you're trying to build a collection of artwork that is unique, personal to you, and elevated in style. Below is my top ten list:

1

START WITH ETCHINGS AND PRINTS

Many of the pieces that I and my mother have are prints and etchings, which are much easier to come by than original paintings or drawings. Many of them were pulled from old books and sell for considerably lower prices than singular works of art. I have a favorite Zebra etching that I purchased at Brimfield for less than $20. I framed and matted it, and it looks much more expensive than you'd ever expect (see below, it fits quite well in my entry).

  The Zebra etching, framed in our entryway - photography by Lauren L Caron

The Zebra etching, framed in our entryway - photography by Lauren L Caron

2

INVEST IN ORIGINAL PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS

Nice, original, and quality paintings and drawings are hard to come by, and most often are an investment. My mother has a few gorgeous portraits, these were works of art that she invested in - nothing like a Picasso, but something that took a thoughtful considered decision, not an impulsive one, to make the purchase. If you want a gorgeous painting, you're really going to have to love it! You can sometimes find good prices, but no one is completely naive these days, quality is valuable. 

  Image from Elle Decor - William Frawley's Manhattan Apartment

Image from Elle Decor - William Frawley's Manhattan Apartment

3

MIX IN MIRRORS

Mirrors are a beautiful way to fill space and add another layer to your art collections. They're frames alone can be works of art.  Frames even have the ability to change the mood and direction of a collection. The mirror inset is added light and glamour. Another positive, you can find mirrors at a range of prices, sizes and shapes.

  Image from Domino   -  photography by WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

Image from Dominophotography by WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

4

LOOK FOR UNKNOWN ARTISTS

Budding or unknown artists are often going to sell artwork at a better or more affordable price. There are several new companies starting up, aiming to educated us of these new artists. A perfect example is a friend of mine, Katie Armor who recently started Buddy Editions. Buddy Editions is limited-edition fine art prints, many of which, start at $50.

  Abstract No. 4 by Natalia Roman - Buddy Editions

Abstract No. 4 by Natalia Roman - Buddy Editions

5

SHOP & LOOK IN UNNEXPECTED PLACES

If you're on the road and see a shanty thrift or antique store, stop in. You never know what you'll find. Look for yard sales or estate sales that are near you to visit on the weekends. And if you live in the city, keep your eyes peeled on the sidewalk. You truly never know what you'll find. I actually picked up an original, limited edition, signed Shepard Fairy, Noam Chomsky print on the sidewalk waiting to be trashed. The print isn't worth thousands but it is worth hundreds (thanks to the 2008 Election, Hope prints that Fairy designed).

6

MIX & MATCH NEW WITH OLD

You don't have to spend 20 years of your life scouring fleas and antique stores or auctions to call your collection complete. First of all, a collection is never complete, but secondly, you can also think about mixing in some new pieces in with your old finds. As I mentioned before, there are several companies that sell new artwork that is very reasonable. The mix adds a little style and builds a more personalized collection.

  Image from From The Right Bank

Image from From The Right Bank

7

COLLECT WHAT YOU LIKE - NOT WHAT'S COOL

Remember when the Keep Calm & Carry On posters were all the rage? Did you buy one because everyone else had them? Do you still have it up? Just make sure, when you purchase something that is massively shown in all of the blogs and magazines, it is not something that you've just grown to like due to popular decision. A way to tell if you truly love a very popular piece of artwork, is to think will you still love this even when it's on the uncool list? Because if it's on trend, it will most definitely be off trend at some point. If the answer is yes, then no holds bar. 

Also, have friends or family members ever sent you a beautiful greeting card or post card? Taken an amazing photograph on Instagram? These types of images are also considered works of art, especially if they're something that you find beauty or value in viewing. Frame them. They're yours, they are a part of your personal style. You do not need an art critic to tell they're good. 

  Design by Roman & Williams

Design by Roman & Williams

8

BUY FRAMES SEPARATELY & ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR GOOD ONES

My mother taught me to look for frames whenever I'm at a thrift store or antique store - the trick is to look beyond the empty frames, at the ones that are holding ugly or bad artwork. Often, stores will mark up the cost of an empty frame considerably over an awful piece of artwork that is framed. 

9

FIND A FAVORITE FRAMER AND BUILD A RELATIONSHIP

If you make a great relationship with a framer not only will they support and help you in your matting and framing decisions, they also may be a source for future art purchases. If they know what you like, they can be on the look out for you. I mean what they do all day and everyday is frame artwork, some of those pieces that walk in the door will be getting framed to be sold. Also, if you have a great framer, you can buy printed copies of your favorite works and have them matted and framed to meet your personal aesthetic. This way, the artwork will be original because it has been interpreted according to your tastes for your home. 

10

NEVER STOP LOOKING

There isn't one answer on where to find artwork. The best single suggestion I can offer is to never stop looking. My mother has been collecting artwork for over 50 years and she is continuously looking at artwork whenever she enters an antique store, flea market or shops online. Some of my favorite shopping destinations, where I've had the best luck are: Housing Works, Brimfield, The Chelsea Flea Market, Estate sales, Etsy.com and several antique stores in North East Connecticut (where I grew up). Other friends of mine have found gorgeous portrait paintings on Ebay as well.  

  Max on the couch - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Max on the couch - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015


I hope this list has been helpful and will aid you in building your wall art collections. Do you have another suggestion or favorite places to dig? Ever had an amazing dumpster dive experience? I'd love to hear about it!