Everyone has an antique piece of decor in their home that they love: an old side table they found in a vintage shop, a figurine belonging to their mother, a chest that has been passed down in their family for generations . We asked 10 local interior designers to share with us their most treasured possessions and the stories behind them.
Jan Showers, Jan Showers & Associates
The ancient: An old sideboard
The story: “I call it our ‘Sister Parish’ buffet. I saw it at one of our favorite retailers in Paris and it was love at first sight. It was such a perfect yellow gold and had gorgeous antique decorative paint. I like antiques to show their age, and so I’ve never touched it – it’s perfect as is.
Ellett Miciotto, EJM interior design
The ancient: A 19th century floor bevelled glass overmantel
The story: “My parents often made the short trip from Shreveport, where we lived, to Dallas, where my mom, who was an interior designer, did all her sourcing. I remember knowing we were close to town when we passed a long row of antique warehouses on Highway 80. I always dreaded this stop as a kid.
One of the warehouses sold French antiques, which was his favorite. Little Red’s, I believe. It was there that she found a nine-foot French gilt-bronze overmantel that she coveted. The price was exorbitant. Undeterred and in keeping with her Creole aesthetic, she put down a deposit and used the now-extinct “lay-aside” tender. Two years later, the mirror was paid for and delivered to Louisiana, where it stood proudly in three of our homes.
I inherited the overmantel after my mother passed away and proudly display it in my two-story stairwell, admiring it and using it daily.
Heidi Arwine, Heidi Arwine Interiors
The ancient: A collection of old walking sticks and walking sticks
The story: “My husband’s grandmother collected them over the years from all over the world, and they were always located near the front door of every house she lived in. Each one is unique and some have secret compartments . One of them even has a knife.”
Tori Rubinson, Interiors by Tori Rubinson
The ancient: A turquoise farmhouse table
The story: “A friend gave us [this table] when we first got married. It was over 100 years old and was already painted that turquoise blue color. It’s perfectly worn and we’ve had it in every house we’ve lived in. We took it to our favorite antique repairman to make it more stable. Other than that, we just let it wear naturally.
Erin Sander, Erin sander design
The ancient: A family heirloom mixing bowl
The story: “This mixing bowl was the container for my grandmother’s homemade cookies and summer fruit pies. It’s a darling piece that takes pride of place on my kitchen counter. He’s even made an appearance in a photoshoot or two, because I think there’s nothing more photogenic than a piece that means something to your soul.
Paul Draper, Design by Paul Draper
The ancient: A pair of carved Japanese shishi, or guardian lions, from the 12th to 13th centuries
The story: “I was attending the Armory Show in New York in the late 1980s when I came across [them], rather hidden on the floor. I inquired about them and was introduced to the owner of the stand, Axel Vervoordt. At the time, I did not know Mr. Vervoordt or his work, but we had a good discussion and I ended up making the purchase.
We placed them side by side on a large chest in our living room. When our children were small, we received a pair of felt reindeer antlers that the shishi wore at Christmas.
They have always been one of our favorite finds. These wonderful pieces have passed through many hands over the last 800-900 years and we have loved spending time with them. In a sense, every owner borrowed them over time. A few years ago we decided it was time to part with it. Today they have a new home at the Dallas Musuem of Art, where they flank the entrance to the Asian galleries.
John Liu, Jean Liu Design
The ancient: A porcelain collection from Old Paris
The story: “I have been collecting for over 20 years now. This is only a small part of it. The collection was amassed from a variety of sources, from estate sales, eBay and local antique shops to gifts from friends and flea markets in Paris. Every piece in the collection has a story, and that’s part of the fun. I intentionally left some pieces with cracks or chips. For me, they give character to the room. I’m sure there was a story and hopefully a good dinner involved!
Margaret Chambers, Interiors & Associates Chambers Inc.
The ancient: An English chinoiserie server with shelves
The story: “I started buying antiques when I was 17, and I’ve never seen another piece like this in my entire life and career. I bought it 21 years ago in England on an antique shopping trip through Europe. It was in perfect condition – even the fabric behind the brass grilles are original. It is also a practical piece of furniture, with ample space presentation and storage.
Kara Adam, Interiors by Kara Adam
The ancient: Round pedestal table in rococo marquetry from the 19th century
The story: “I found it on 1stDibs when we bought our house. It was absolutely perfect! Our entry hall has an inlaid wooden floor, so it was the right piece to complete this design, keeping it on the same level The only change we made was to reduce the height of the center post by two inches, so the ladder was more suited to the rest of the furniture in our great room.
Pam Kelley, Design by Pam Kelley
The ancient: A collection of antique silver napkin rings
The story: “You ask a girl who has a house full of treasures collected from near and far – picking my favorite is impossible. My collection of napkin rings is one of my most treasured. I’m looking for those with old monograms or names that match our surnames.