I have always loved and collected antiques. You will likely find at least one antique in every room. In my current home, I mix my passion for antiques with a love of European country decor to achieve what I hope is a warm, comfortable style. It is definitely not a minimalistic style, and I realize some people might find it too cluttered. But it works for me.
I firmly believe that everyone should have a home or a least a room that is warm, inviting, and relaxing; a haven. I do not live in a mansion or a million-dollar home, nor do I entertain the rich and famous. So like the rest of us, my house only serves the purpose of bringing me, my family, and friends a feeling of peace and welcome. Everyone is different, and everyone should have the pleasure of making their home work best for them.
When you first enter my house you immediate look into my great room. This elongated room has a long open entry hall, which I call the foyer. When you step in, you have stairs leading to the downstairs on the right of the hall with the family room, kitchen, bed & bath, and workroom, and egress to the back patio and garden. An immediate right takes you to the laundry room with access to the garage.
My foyer has my new joy; an antique gilded mirror, a redesigned antique table crafted by John from an antique treadle sewing machine, a couple of vintage artworks, and an antique mahogany games table in the Empire fashion.
Antique Gilded Mirror
I was delighted to have the antique cast iron mirror I had bought in Ireland that was shipped over to my Ohio home. Sadly, the mirror and the cast iron frame were damaged, and I had to find a restorer. I have a tremendous local art frame & gift shop near me, called 143 Gallery. I have used Joan and her staff for years to make great frames for my treasure, plus her gift shop has been a great find when I am looking for a unique gift.
However, you cannot see the repairs, but it did require new glass. When we took part in the mirror, I did notice the back was not made from old material, but rather a new thin density fiberboard that was not available for purchase in the early 1900s. We assume the mirror had to be replaced in the past. However, the metal, gilded frame was old and that frame is what appealed to me.
Most gilded frames and mirror frames are actually made from wood that has been painted and embellished with gesso decoration.
Simple History of Antique Mirrors
Originally ancient man discovered polished metal had reflective quality but real mirrors that we acknowledge today- the “looking glass” mirror first became popular in Murano, Italy, and then silvered in Venice- all in the 1500 hundreds. SEE HERE. England began the production of small hand mirrors in the 16th century. However, by the 18th-century one began to find larger mirrors in France, Germany, and England. Wood was prepared to house the mirror glass, allowing for bigger mirrors. SEE HERE.
Stylized with carvings in mahogany and the addition of hand-carved or molded gesso, mirrors became more and more elaborate and took on the furniture style of the era. Later, particularly in the late 1800s mirror frames were also made from molded metals: iron, tin most commonly. The metal could also be gilded.
Styles of Mirrors
The style of the mirror was influenced by furniture styles of the times. Baroque, Regency, Neo-Classical, Regency, and Victorian are all styles of mirror frames SEE HERE
In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later half overlapped with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. Wikipedia
My Antique Mirror
I believe my mirror frame is from the Victorian period and likely dates from 1890 to 1905. I say that because of where I purchased the mirror. I bought it in an antique shop in Ireland. At that time, Jo Thorpe, an antique dealer currently in Killkenny, Ireland. SEE HERE; she had a shop in a farmhouse cafe and garden center, in Castledemont, Kildare near Kilkenny, called The Old Yard. John and I use to take a weekend drive to the place to look at antiques, buy some garden or home supplies, and have a tea and scone afternoon break. I also use to buy homemade lemon curd there. Anyway, one day I saw that mirror on the wall in the shop and fell in love with the carving. I bought it and took it home to our cottage in Oylegate, Wexford. John hung it at the base of the staircase for me.
After John passed, and I moved back to Ohio, his daughter kindly posted the frame back to me. Sadly it was damaged but I found out that the mirror must have been broken before because it was modern glass and the backing modern. So I had it repaired knowing that the frame only was old. The wood gilded mirror in my living room is authentic, you can tell by the frame, but also by the mirror which has hazed due to time. I’ll show you that another time.
The Victorians became great artists in the ornate casting of metal, especially iron. This mirror is extremely heavy and not made of plaster or gesso. It has been gilded and maybe there is some gesso on the metal. Again, will have to ask the appriser when I see him. I just had it hung in the foyer and I just love having it back in my home again.
I also have a couple of art pieces next to the mirror. One is a painting by Thomas Kincaid, the Painter of Light- 1958 to 2012. I especially liked his old cottages and church paintings. Next to that, I have an Amish, artist unknown, painting of a Maple Quilt pattern which I purchased here in the 1970s.
Toward the sitting room, I have a pair of panel-style Oriental paintings of birds – signed but artist unknown. Really need to get these evaluated. I bought these back from Ireland- maybe Victorian.
My Galley Wall
Anyone coming to my home will notice I love art. I have framed paintings, oils, watercolors, prints, and fabric art on most of my walls. Art, like music, and nature, is a gift. It allows us, humans, to share, and feel moments, emotions, ideas, and desires, more fully than we can express.
Antique Games Table.
Finally, the last antique item is a mahogany Empire Style games table. By the way, I found a great concise post on the various styles of American Antique furniture HERE
We found the games table at a local antique dealer we know quite well. It was broken, the base separated from the top. The dealer was heartbroken because it was an antique he had purchased with a larger group from an estate of a local mansion. John told him, he would buy it for the beautiful mahogany at scrape value and he did sell it to us. John was able to simply use a wood dowl to repair the break and we now have it in the foyer.
A games table opens up to a larger table for cards or games. you can rotate the top and find a compartment under the table to hold cards, chips, and other gaming items. Our table was a real find and one of our more valuable pieces. I think it looks great in the foyer under a set of Oriental panels.
I’ll take you into other rooms to share our other antique finds with you at another time. Do you like to have a few vintage items in your home? Have a favorite?