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DecorBook Classic : Are You the Oldest Thing in Your Room?


So fun to read in Veranda magazine, "My adage is always to have something with age in a room - and you don't want to be it!" I know when I walk into someone's house and everything is new, there's a different feeling. Where's the soul? Maybe it's a generational thing. Honestly, not everyone wants someone's old furniture but I love the pieces I have. What I didn't get from random relatives, I've combed used furniture stores and estate sales to find. Recent example : I wanted something old for a 20' long living room wall (above). I bought two wooden benches (on Nextdoor, $80 for both) made by a local carpenter out of old barn wood. Works for me. Let's take a look at how older pieces look modern in our rooms.

jake arnold /AD


A room needs experience. Age matters. I'm guessing your rooms show "experience" too. The trick is to make something old be a star while keeping your rooms modern. I want to keep up with the times but I do want a bit of "soul" thrown in.

sherry hart


This 1930's drop-leaf table looks super modern sitting on a natural carpet and against dark walls.


Whitewashed rooms and light floors set off the owner's antiques.


Don't you love this closet featuring an old vanity? If you don't have something old in your room, consider buying something used. You can find a similar chest of drawers/vanity/desk for under $200 almost everywhere.

anders krusberg for Nate and Jeremiah Home Project (HGTV)


On HGTV"s The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project show, rooms are redone but the guys ask the homeowner to keep a few items they love. Then, they invite the homeowner back midway through the renovations to view those items in situ. Most times, the owner decides they only want to keep a couple of items from the pile they thought they loved. Clearly, the homeowner is over their keepsakes. Nate and Jeremiah take care to place the beloved items in a special space. The keeper cabinet (pictured above ) was updated, lining the back with textured wallpaper. Beautiful!

tomas espinoza for Luxe for Less (HGTV)


"That pristine pair of mustard-colored swivel chairs was passed down from this homeowner's grandmother. They’re a perfect way to inject a little generational history into a young family’s home — and add some priceless, vintage luxury in the process" wrote HGTV about the room designed on "Luxe Space for Less." That's another source of furniture - what's in your relatives' basements?


An old painting looks super modern in this dining room.

In Oakland, we had typical late spring weather yesterday - May Grey.. I was reading the papers online when I glanced over my screen and noticed my1940's chest of drawers. In this case, a maghony chest from Oregon's old Meier&Frank department store. Originally belonging to my Auntie Bea, this chest has witnessed happiness and unfortunately, great tragedy. I've had it since the early 70's and by now, it's part of my history, too. Guessing if you look around your rooms, you'll see furniture with your family's history as well. Congratulations to you if you're not the oldest thing in the room! I'll be off for Memorial Day weekend. See you in June!

me in the first room I designed myself. oh, gosh!


P.S. A few years ago, my niece called me. Growing up, she had used my teen furniture (remember "French Provincial?") as had her daughter. Now they were moving across the country and her daughter wanted something new. Would it be OK if she gave it away? I was so touched she even asked and of course, it was time for it to move on. Turns out, her neighbor wanted the set for her daughter. I believe it was going to turn a pale lavender. I can't tell you how happy that made me.

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