Water Street Blog / Vintage Wall Art

My Butler  . . . . Desk

My Butler . . . . Desk

There are some antique pieces that I've come across, true antiques, that I likely will never part with because a) it will be too costly to purchase another one and b) I may not find another one exactly like it. This is always the dilemma with antique pieces.  If you walk away it might not be there when you go back.

I found one of my favorite pieces, a butler desk, at an antique shop in Townsend, Massachusetts and immediately fell in love with the style, the wood inlay, and like a child, all the hidden compartments.  A butlers desk would have been used in a wealthy household for just what it sounds like, the butler.  The top drawer, of mostly graduated drawers, would open to reveal a desk with many small drawers, pigeon holes and compartments.  My piece is from New York State from the late 19th century.

When I saw the piece I immediately called my top antique resource, my mother, and asked her if she thought I should buy it since I didn't have a spot for it. Her response was to grab it right away.  That was about four years ago.  A week ago, when my mother was visiting, I went to the desk to retrieve something and we began looking at all the compartments and drawers. My mother picked up a pencil and started to jiggle what I thought was part of the molding. She pulled the piece out to reveal a hidden file drawer, then a second and then a third.  I was flabbergasted because I consider myself kind of a detective when it comes to the details of an antique piece.

We did not find a precious document or any other treasure but what it did confirm for me is how special these antique pieces are. How lucky that after 150 years I am able to keep this history going by preserving this piece.  I'm able to share a story to someone younger who might appreciate the craftsmanship, appreciate the fact that this desk has been in many hands and its still beautiful and useful.

When I'm pulling together a room I probably don't follow the rules correctly (I'm not a designer so this would make sense) but I usually start with the piece I love which is always an oversized antique piece.  

My room design always incorporates vintage and new pieces. If you're shopping make sure you're buying quality antique pieces and if you follow this rule the piece will never get "old". The butlers desk was purchased from a shop in Townsend, Massachusetts called My Husband and I Antiques.  They have a mix of cased pieces layered with unusual smalls and always lots of large shells. A beautiful mix.

 

 

 

Tracy Foley
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Old and New: Mixing it up

Old and New: Mixing it up

Mixing the old with the new has always been my style but I also love to find new uses for old things.

My husband gave me this beautiful pine window frame from Danish Country Antiques, located on Charles Street in downtown Boston.  He gave this to me when we were dating so it was 25 years ago.  Back then I lived in Boston and was always in and out of local antique shops.

Fast forward to our home that many years later.  We inherited some finishes in our kitchen that I would possibly change but I do love the built-ins originally from Scandia Kitchens. To warm up the all white look I took the antique pine window, blew up a few black and white photos of our children and had them matted into the window.  It's one of my favorite pieces in this kitchen.  It fits the space at the desk perfectly.  

I find it's sometimes challenging to display family photos or a collection because it can look messy unless you know what you're doing.  I often hang very symmetrical collections of frames because it looks clean but this is a nice alternative if you have a window frame that is in good condition and is an unusual or larger size.

Tracy Foley
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Roberts House Nantucket

Summer is one of my favorite seasons. Lot's of beach time, boating, antiquing and a few trips to Nantucket.  

The Roberts House on India Street is part of a collection of lovely Inn's with a wonderful boutique style.  On our trip over to Nantucket yesterday I stopped into the Roberts House to see their new interiors and was excited to see my wicker bike so perfectly appointed and hanging in their lobby.  I love the vision Annsley Interiors had when she decided to use this WM wicker bike for wall art. Annsley's great touches throughout the Inn are fresh and snappy. Lot's of fun to see where my pieces end up.  A quick stop into Nantucket Looms, lunch at Crew then back to Chatham. 

Tracy Foley
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Vintage Vignettes at the Boston Design Center

Vintage Vignettes at the Boston Design Center

Beginning April 1st at the BDC a " Vintage Vignettes" exhibit will be on display through April 29th.  This event will feature display's on the second floor in the Market Stalls area that is filled with antiques and vintage pieces for sale as well as display's throughout the building in the showrooms. The displays of “modern design meets old world charm.” are an opportunity to showcase design that mixes the old with the new. along with the sample sale that is going on this weekend it is a fun time to visit the BDC. The public is welcome!
Tracy Foley
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