Sunday, March 28, 2010

Children and Antiques

I get this all the time -- "How I wish I could have antiques at my house, but I can't have beautiful furniture in my house because I have children."

I'm here to tell you that children and beautiful things can co-exist. Actually, I find that a mix of antiques and new things are actually more forgiving with children than say, Pottery Barn furniture. Take those mass produced furniture pieces, put a little crayon or marker writing on them and, well, you have a piece of furniture that has crayon and marker drawings on them. Chances are you'll stash that in the play room and close the door when guests are over.

But there is no need. Take a farm table that has survived over 100 years of children, and wonderful family dinners and goodness knows what else, and a bit of crayon markings only adds more beautiful patina on it. No kidding. My kitchen farm table has markings on them that wipes right off. If it doesn't, well, it just looks like it was always meant to be there.

So with three dogs and 2 young children, trust me, I'm living proof that you can have beautiful things and children at the same time. In fact, my linen covered sofas and chairs have withstood the test of time -- muddy tennis shoes, chocolate stains, etc., just come right off in the washer machine. Linen is a natural fabric that has existed for ages. Dirt just doesn't settle in its fibers the way it does in white denim or white cotton duck slipcovers. Even red wine comes right off of natural linens.

So go ahead and use belgian linen for your beautiful upholstery!!!! There is no need to wait until the kids are in college to have the house you always dreamed of.

And, yes, kid stuff and gorgeous antiques do mix!

How beautiful is that mirror in a little girl's room???? I love the way Jeanne's little aqua chair contrasts the gorgeous gilding on that mirror. Now, there is nothing wrong with having a little pizzazz even in a play room. You won't want to close that door when guests are over!

And matching antique convent beds make a wonderful alternative to mass produced children furniture. Look how whimsical antiques make this room. And the plaid on the empire chair looks like it was made for this room.

These twin beds (there were matching pairs) were painted by me and upholstered in a natural muslin. They were purchased to go in a 2 year old's bedroom.

And for the older girls, well this is quite the refined look. I just love the color combination of the reds and pinks and whites.

Local designer, Melissa Ruftin, designed this guest room for a local client. Now, I could see this in a kids' room. And, believe me, although it looks expensive, you'd be surprised as to how this compares to other mass produced furniture.
So go ahead and dare to mix children and antiques! I can promise you it will be the most fun you'll have searching for those gorgeous gilded pieces and mixing them with pinks and blues and teddy bears and cars. And when your children are playing cowboys and indians, like my own Liam and Roma did just this weekend, well, the worse that can happen is that your little dainty antique chair may end up looking like this. And that, my dears, is priceless.


  1. What a great post. And yes it does teach them to appreciate beautiful things!

  2. Thank you, Dawn, and you are so right about that!


  3. Hello,dear Karina!-)*

    You has for all of us SO valuable advice here in you great post!
    That's absolutelly true what do you says about kids and so expensive antique things at home...

    You photos are so stylish and tasteful!-)))*

    Wish you whimsical,sunny Easter week,my friend!

    Much Love,

  4. Violetta, you have a wonderful Easter week as well! Thank you for always reading.

  5. Our children (and dogs) have lived with a mix of antiques, vintage and just plain old all their lives and now their children do the same. Polishing a piece of furniture they had scratched was a wonderful punishment!!!!

  6. Well said! People ask how I can maintain my home white, and my antiques (although not expensive) intact with chihuahuas and a son :) Well, it's as you said, older pieces withstand more and children who are taught early on the beauty of things will learn to appreciate and respect everything and everyone around them. My son is into King Henry style furniture now! Too masculine for me but I feel I have raised him well :)


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