Does living in a beautiful space make our lives more beautiful? I wonder if I lived in a grand mansion like Como House, filled with antiques and priceless artwork, would I still want to slouch under a throw rug and binge-watch the Bachelor whilst devouring a bag of popcorn? Or would the space encourage me to pursue more suitable pastimes, such as learning classical piano? I believe that the space we surround ourselves in, be it large or small, makes a strong suggestion as to the way we behave.
In my work as an interior designer, I’ve found most clients simply want to be comfortable and feel good in their home. They want a great atmosphere to entertain family and friends. Often, they will have a few pieces of furniture and artwork that carry meaning for them, and my work as a designer is to extend on those pieces and tap into how they want the space to feel. They don’t want a ‘display home’ that is just filled with trends, or a bland copy of a Pinterest image. A home needs to go deeper than that.
One sure way to ensure an authentic feeling of ‘home’ is by incorporating vintage or antique pieces into a space. The addition of an antique instantly makes an interior space unique and special, it can’t be copied by your neighbours with a quick trip to the nearest store. Antiques are rare, every piece is different with a story to tell.
Antiques instantly add soul and life to a space like nothing else can, and the best bit, they don’t need to be expensive. In fact, a lot of antique furniture is well-priced and ready and waiting for a new home to adopt it. Antiques were handmade at a time when things were built to last, unlike a lot of mainstream furniture that is sold on the market today. Incorporating antique pieces really is the ultimate in sustainability.
At the upcoming Como by Design event there will be a wide range of styles presented in the historical mansion, with a common thread. Twenty-seven of Melbourne’s most renowned interior decorators are participating, all of whom have designed bespoke pieces in each of their projects, produced by local workrooms and artisans. Fabrics are co-ordinated with contrasting piping or trims, they are not ‘off the shelf’ pieces. Antique pieces are reimagined, repurposed and upcycled in clever ways. For example, a French balcony wrought iron decorative grate has been repurposed into a console table by Brownlow Interior Design. Now this beautiful piece can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Mind you, filling up a room with an assortment of antiques in an unplanned, eclectic way is rarely a good idea. You may find yourself living in a space that resembles a rambling second-hand store, rather than a gorgeous comfortable home. Here are some examples of work by the designers showing at Como by Design, and some tips to get the mix right.