Create The Classic Mix

There’s something so appealing about a home that incorporates the old with the new, mixing soulful, antique pieces with fresh, modern finds. Even if one tends to lean more toward a traditional or contemporary style, having pieces that span various periods creates an eclectic, expertly curated look. To help us achieve the perfect mix, we asked Jacksonville, Florida-based Stephanie Jarvis for some expert advice on adding antique and vintage pieces into our interior decor; here are her recommendations:

Mirrors: A great mirror is the best way to add a dose of unexpected style—think of it as a piece of art. We look for mirrors that are different than the pieces around it. Vintage Venetian mirrors create instant glamour, fabulous antique gilt mirrors add weighty worldliness, and a great modern mirror in Lucite or chrome can temper even the stuffiest of mahogany chests. Keep an eye out for unexpected items made into mirrors or gorgeously degraded old mercury mirror that is dark and uneven.
Old gilt, bronze, and vintage brass: This magic trio is always on our shopping list! Think of them as the ultimate neutrals; when you can use them all at once together they are at their best. Look for things like Mastercraft brass chairs, period gilt wood frames, Lucite mounted architectural fragments, modern bronze sculptures…the options are endless and easy to put together successfully.
Chinoiserie: Who doesn’t love a dash of the exotic? From whimsical Palm Beach style to the most serious living room, Chinoiserie is a category we always include in the mix. For instant cottage style a great lacquered pagoda lamp or chandelier is fun and stylish (they are easily reinvented with a new coat of paint). Antique Chinoiserie lacquer pieces are a “must have” for adding weightiness and depth in any room. We often use them in very pale schemes; the deep, soft blacks, browns, and old gilt actually accentuate the paleness of a room.
Antique and vintage lighting: Hands down the most overlooked category. The key here is making sure you find a shop with someone who is comfortable with rewiring antique fixtures or making up lamps. Once you have that, the sky is the limit. Anything can be wired to be a fabulous lamp or sconce or chandelier. Antique chandeliers and sconces will really bring a house to life, and can often be a fantastic value as well. Look for unusual combinations of materials or unexpected scale to have lighting that is both memorable and unique.
Lucite: Whether it is an un-pedigreed vintage lamp or console or a highly sought after signed piece, Lucite has unlimited appeal. We put it almost anywhere. Condition is a big issue with vintage Lucite, so look to make sure there is no crazing (tiny hairline cracks), discoloration, or bad scratches. After that, just have fun—put a great Lucite lamp on a highly polished mahogany chest, add silk tiger velvet to the cushion on a waterfall bench, use it in front of a window to keep both function and view. Keep your eye out and bring it home, there will always be unlimited ways you will find to mix it in.

TSG Tip 107: from Stephanie Jarvis of Stephanie Jarvis Inc. in Jacksonville, FL.