Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016

4.08.2008

The Building Blocks



Many of us decorate not all at once but piece by piece, hopefully acquiring some enduring things over time. So if you can only start with one element, what should it be? It's not a very original question -- the shelter mags have covered this -- but I was curious to know the opinions of a few diverse blogger/interior designers. We begin with Girl Meets Glamour who says she would advise a friend or client to buy Baker's timeless Davenport sofa, top, or Anthropologie's Chesterfield.



Katie DID comes in at a different angle; she says invest in an antique.


"My first choice would be an antique secretary," she adds because "a slipcovered Ikea sofa can look wonderful when paired with an antique. A secretary can be used in so many ways: as a bedside table surface, extra storage, desk, bookcase...I would go with Chippendale chinoiserie or Biedermeier. Classic styles that can be used in traditional or contemporary settings as one's tastes may change." Katie suggests clients on a tight budget investigate estate sales.

[Image of classic mahogany secretary (not a Biedermeier) is from Beaman Antiques in Atlanta and the painted chinoiserie piece below is from The Decorator’s Secret, located in Stamford, Connecticut.]

I'll be back soon with other opinions.

15 comments:

LondonCalling said...

Too funny. We have 2 sofas. One each of Girl meets Glamour's choices.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Darn - I missed my chance. Stupid auction.

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for something like this. Pottery Barn has something along the same lines. Three different finishes. But it's about $1,600. I need something cheaper!!

Be the change..... said...

I think either are the way to go. I myself got a couch first and a fine antique second! I must agree that the antique really spruced up my college furniture more than the good couch did!!! So I would probably recommend someone get a classic, useful antique over the couch! Whats wrong with a handme down or ikea sofa for awhile!

The Peak of Chic said...

Both Kate and Katie made great points. A good sofa will last forever! And a secretary is always classic.

Anonymous said...

Sofa's are wonderful, but antiques are also a good investment(if they're not too butchered). So if money is an issue, for the money, you will do better with an antique. Of course you could combine the ideas...

katiedid said...

Hi Courtney!
Thanks for including me in your post! It is always a bit of a dilemma on how to spend those first few precious dollars. Nice picks on the sofas too!
Katie

Great Dame said...

I started with an antique, but in my case it was my kitchen table! That started me on the redecorating path, and I made do with the sofa I had at the time. I eventually added a re-upholstered antique sofa last year, which was a mixed blessing. Word to the wise, invest in a GOOD upholsterer!

Alkemie said...

I totally agree with both of them! Antiques or a great sofa - they are both great investments.

Karen

pve design said...

I know that I sent a comment from my lap, perched on my heirloom sofa while I was bidding and contemplating reupholstering my life as a couch potato in something chocolate brown.
darn technology.

Mackenna said...

I am in lust with the secretary! I am looking for a similar piece, black with chinoiserie or japanning to hide my husbands television (42") in. I am tempted to try and recreate it myself with gold paint, is that a bad idea?

Style Court said...

MacKenna, that's a good question.

I guess it depends on how confident you feel about your skills! Maybe if you keep the decorative painting simple? Have you worked much with gold paint?

halcyon said...

Courtney, Thanks for posting about that Baker Davenport Sofa. Of course I wanted the George Smith, but this is a sofa I'd be more comfortable spending 5-6k on than a Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn or W-S Home. It's just the sofa I've been looking for.

Style Court said...

Oh good Halcyon, glad to help. (But Kate deserves the credit!)

Claudia said...

Another great post! My (very humble) opinion is, as well, that you can get away with a more inexpensive sofa to start with (and eventually later in life, purchase a good quality one) but one should never make compromises in the quality of a piece of furniture, be it a side table or a bigger piece like an armoir.

It's the equivalent to buying a cheap suit or a cheap pair of jeans. It will always look bad, no matter how adorn it. But if you invest in a good pair of jeans or suit, you can wear a $10 t-shirt from Target and still look fabulous!