4/7/2010 3:32:00 PM
Get the Look--Affordably
April Veranda magazine features the gorgeous Texas Lehne family home. Interior designer Eleanor Cummings has done of beautiful job in this house, placing everything perfectly. The walls are white, the floors are pale stone and the furnishings are antique, fabulous and sculptural.
In looking at the photo below from the Lehne house, I was struck by how easy it would be to duplicate this look on a budget.
A little quick research into prices on French settees showed me that 19th century pieces are running around $5,000-12,000 and, of course, 18th century pieces would be much more. However, there are lots early 20th century versions around that have the right antique look but are available for under $2500.
In my recent posting on Chelsea and Sienna Antiques in Petaluma, I mentioned that I had seen a number of wonderful affordable settees. Here are some that I photographed that day, below. All were priced under $2500.
The price on this settee (above) was $1250! The mirror was $850.
A quick browse through the 1stdibs.com settee selection turns up a number of similar pieces at reasonable prices. It's a buyers market these days!
One last way to go on the settee is flea marketing. I know that with a few months of searching at my favorite market, the Alameda Flea Market, I could come up with a suitable settee. A lot of old French settees are in brown stained wood. If I liked the lines of a piece, I would not hesitate to buy it and repaint it a white or pale French grey color, sanding the painted finish in places to let the brown wood show through for an aged and worn look.
For the upholstery, I've pulled three fabrics from one of my favorite affordable fabric houses, Stout Bros., which would all give a pretty look on any of these settees at a price you can afford.
This is Norge and it is $17 per yard.
Plimsol is $50 per yard.
Hayfever has beautiful embroidery and at $72 it is a bargain compared to similar fabrics from European companies at twice the price.
As for the mirror, here are a few choices I found at various price points.
1stdibs.com had many beautiful trumeau style mirrors but most were above $5,000 and therefore too expensive. For example, the one below was $6500.
A version I've been admiring at the Summer Hill showroom in San Francisco is not much less at $3600. I love the old barn wood mixed with the rubbed antique gold moldings, however. This mirror has the "rustic and aged but elegant" look down perfectly.
I also like this mirror from thebellacottage.com for $2200:
And this mirror from Big Daddy's for $1000, below.
The best price I found was also from thebellacottage.com at $338.
A good mirror could be a little more difficult to find at a flea market than the settee, but for those determined die-hard hunters, it might be possible. If you love a challenge, here's a good one. Happy hunting!
And if you really want to do it on a budget, check out the Susie Harris blog for instructions on how to make this do-it-yourself version.
For the final element, you'll need a chandelier. Here are two from 1stdibs.com. Both are $1200.
The first one is from Olivier Fleyry, Inc. It's French and from the 1900's.
And this is the Chateau Beaulieu chandelier from Aidan Gray. The price is $1200.
A chandelier is definitely a flea market item. I'd look for the most attractive shape and price I can find, keeping in mind that it needs to be large enough not to look like an earring hanging up above your large mirror and settee. Don't worry about the finish. Wrought iron, or a funky 60's guilded style can be easily fixed with a can of spray paint.
Voila! You've got the look at the price that's right for you.
And finally, just for fun, this is a photo of my grand-daughter, Luna, in a dress my mother hand-knit and sewed for my daughter, Hallie, when she was Luna's age. The chair is a directoire bergere with vintage Fortuny toss pillows (that I've had for so long they would be vintage even if I had bought them new) and next to it is a lyre-style French directoire side table.