An antique dining room set can cost less than a 52-inch LCD flat screen
In case you’re skeptical about this, I thought I would show you an example to prove my point. I spent a delightful afternoon choosing antiques just for you. I was so pleased with the result that I had the room photographed for your own chairside tour.
I chose my examples carefully, as not just any would do. These antiques had to be good buys and handsome as well as practical. I began this fun adventure at one of my favorite middle-priced emporiums, the Middletown Antiques Mall in Middletown, Ohio. With help from my friends — owner Carol Croake and dealer Don Havens — we created a setting that emulates those you see in swanky stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. Our collection achieved a major breakthrough, however. Not only is this display completely decorated with authentic antiques and semi-antiques/collectibles, but it’s affordable to boot. When I reveal the total cost of this room, you’ll be amazed at how inexpensive antiques can be.
A Vintage 1930s Room
Take a good look at our vintage 1930s display room. The dining suite is crafted of walnut, a timeless and ever-popular wood you’ll learn more about later. The style was the pinnacle of fashion for furniture in the late 1500s, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The design was dubbed “Tudor” in honor of her last name. And now, in the new millennium, these 1930s Tudor-style pieces are highly esteemed by collectors.
The china closet displays a beautiful set of Japanese Noritake china. During the Great Depression, brides really adored this brand, and new sets by this famous maker continue to be a favorite wedding present. The table is large enough to seat six people comfortably.
However, the bad news for the seller (but oh-so-favorable for us) is that it no longer has its original leaves, which once greatly expanded its seating capacity. That so-called “defect” helped stretch our purchasing power. And besides, as you’re cleaning up after your company, you’ll probably realize that six chairs are plenty.
Note the matching armchair and side chair positioned at each end of the table. They’re original to the set. Now check the other four chairs. You’ll have to look very closely to see that although their backs are similar to the armchair and side chair, they aren’t exact duplicates. Selecting a dining suite lacking a complete set of matching chairs is a shrewd buying strategy. How that really stretches your budget will be made clearer later when I explain the advantages of selecting odd chairs.
The table is arranged for Thanksgiving dinner, a celebration that gives us the opportunity to use china, flatware, linens and other mementos from bygone days. Notice the 1880s castor set with its various bottles for vinegar, oil, pepper and other condiments used to spice up meals. Little details about antiques make collecting all the more enjoyable and show us how people lived in the past.
The candlesticks on the center of the table are Depression glass, a widely collected item from the economically troubled 1930s, which accounts for its name. The cloth napkins and the silver-plated knives and forks add old-time pizzazz. Who wouldn’t feel like nobility when using the hundred year-old silver-plated tea service resting so regally on the buffet?
Even the large sideboard, so roomy for storage, is part of this dining suite. And notice the world-famous white Wedgwood china bowl from England resting near the tea service.
Can you believe this room even has artwork? On the wall you’ll find an original oil painting from the early 1900s.
Perhaps you have seen tapestries such as ours near the picture, dating from the early 1900s, in your own local antiques shops.
Here’s another bonus of our treasures. Not only are these keepsakes good looking, but they’re practical as well. We usually think of antiques as priceless objects to be roped off or encased in glass, only to be admired from afar but never used.
Here, guests are encouraged to sit on the chairs, dine from the china, or sip a cool drink from the glasses. This just shows that beauty, value and practicality go hand in hand.
Take Out Your Pencils, Please
Now that you’ve finished your tour, you’re about to take your first and only quiz. What’s your estimate of the total cost of this room:
? $4,000-$5,000 ? $5,000-$6,000
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