Consider Buying Something At Auction

See how much more interesting Will Truman's Apartment looks with the addition of an antique desk with a broken pediment top than it does with the rather ordinary bookcase.

Whenever I imagine buying something at auction, I picture a room filled with Audrey Hepburn-looking people dressed in Givenchy, raising paddles to bid on priceless works of art by Cezanne and the like. That is to say, it seems like an activity reserved exclusively for the uber rich. But that's just not the case. With the recent frenzy for mid-century modern furnishings, plenty of good old English, French, Italian and American furniture in a variety of traditional styles has gone at auction for mind-bogglingly low prices.

Last fall, I was watching a George III sofa in a lot offered by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. It needed some reupholstering, but was in very good shape. They estimated it would sell for between $800.00 and $1200.00, but after the bidding was over I found not a single bid had been made. I understood, because George III is not exactly a style that's been on everyone's radar lately. I was remorseful I hadn't bid though, as I had found a really abstract fabric called Rain Dance from Mulberry home that I still think would have completely modernized the piece. The thing about furnishings from certain periods like George III, Regency, and French Empire is that their surprisingly straight, confident lines can play nicely in more contemporary or Modern rooms.

It's important to incorporate at least one item in a room that has some heritage, otherwise it feels really stagnant and expected. The great thing about good antiques is they can be unusual without being weird. Being unusual is what everyone hopes for. Being weird is a badge worn proudly by only a select few. Be unusual, and go to an auction today.

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