Monday, May 20, 2013

La Cienega Design Quarter Keynote: Buy New or Buy Vintage

A week or so ago, I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion called "Integrity vs. Ingenuity: Buy New or By Vintage?" It was hosted by Beth Brenner of Traditional Home and featured three panelists: Thom Filicia, Molly Luetkemeyer and Oliver Furth.

My first thought was that the title was a bit off. I mean, an antique or vintage piece not only has integrity, but also ingenuity, and the same logic can be applied to certain new pieces as well. Confusing title aside, it was interesting to hear these designers speak of their love for vintage and antiques as well as how they incorporate them into their projects.

I thought the most interesting line of thought came when Molly said that homes should tell the story of the people that live there. I think this is something everyone should keep in mind, whether they hire a decorator or design themselves. It is the reason why I find visiting people's homes so interesting. You get to see a bit more of their personality, at least most of the time.

I like to think this is why it is taking me so long to decorate my own house. I don't like to buy things just to "fill a space," and I also don't like buying something cheap just because I need it right away. I'd rather wait for the right piece or the money to buy the right piece. This is why I still have the too-small dining table and chairs I bought ten years ago in my dining room. I know WHAT I want;  I just can't afford what I want right now. :)

This idea of keeping the interior true to the people that live in the house is huge design challenge. I  often see a final vision for clients that doesn't include the 1980s blond wood dining table the client's mother in law bought them, but sometimes these items are non-negotiable. (This is when refinishing or reupholstering comes in handy - "We're just going to "freshen this up" I say.")

The other, opposite end of the spectrum are those people who seem to only want "sets" of furniture that can be purchased as shown from a catalog or showroom. Luckily, with the advent of Pinterest, Etsy and the wide array of images now available for consumption on the internet, I think this way of thinking is going a bit by the wayside.

To summarize, I found this speech inspiring me once again to try and design from a place of true expression, and to help guide people to furniture and decor that really speaks to them and illustrates their tastes and lifestyle.

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