Paintings, rugs and treasured family heirlooms

Audi Snÿman | Interior Designer - Paintings, rugs and treasured family heirlooms imgWhen I first enter a room my attention is immediately drawn to paintings, loose carpets or rugs, vases, ornaments and any unusual items of furniture. These items usually tell a story about the home-owners – where they are from, where they have been, and what is important to them. They are usually also great lead-ups into riveting conversations!

Works of art and loose carpets are definitely investment items, and if my clients’ intention is to invest, I’m happy to advise them on how, and where, to spend their money wisely. Collectibles (such as wine and antiques) and passion investments (art) are respectively ranked as second and fourth highest global investment choices, and people with the desire to invest in visible and tangible pieces are certainly spoilt for choice.

On the flip side of the coin, I have a few clients who prefer to change their interior decor on a regular basis and don’t want to spend vast sums in one go. If this is the case we create a neutral, high quality canvas with wall colour, fabrics and curtains. We can then overlay this with dynamic wall art, picture frames, shelf decor, cushions, accessories and so forth. The possibilities are endless! However, I do stop short of saving a couple of Rand by compromising on quality. Things do need to last, and I would have the biggest hole in my heart, if I ever had to take a call from a client asking me why I let them spend their money on poor quality items. It won’t happen!

There are also many interesting things one can do with existing items of furniture or old-fashioned heirlooms that may have a priceless sentimental value, but look a bit worn or even well past their sell-by-date in their current shape. I love to bring these heirlooms to life again – more often than not though this will be in an entirely different form.

It is such a thrill to ensure that a part of someone’s history remains in their home, in a way that possibly reflects their personality more now than it did previously. Take for example that old, threadbare, barely comfortable antique chair that has been in the family for decades. Over the years it has taken on the shape of your father or your husband’s seated form, but it’s difficult to throw out. We’ll always try to find a compromise and have re-upholstered a number of antique chairs for clients, using what we could save of the existing fabric elsewhere. In the end, everyone is happy.

We’ve also used sections of unique hand-embroidered items on scatter cushions or incorporated them into table cloths. Other ways we have kept history in a room include reframing existing art pieces, while still keeping the original frame, or manufacturing new shades for antique lamps. We’ve found new locations for collectibles, placing them where they can shine, rather than gather dust. The possibilities are endless.

I do love browsing in antique shops, visiting high-end carpet sellers, or meeting clients who have a passion for antiques. Although there is great appeal in the modern interior trends, you can definitely still make magic with history.