In Your Home
People often wonder how Chinese antique furniture will look in their own homes. Always functional, it can be whimsical, dignified, decorative or actually structural.
We have put together some photos, all sent to me by long term customers, which illustrate different ways to use these beautiful and unique pieces in your own home. They are all great examples of how this gorgeous old furniture can work in many different venues and environments.
The first picture is of a Chinese wedding bed, one of the prettiest we have seen. The painting and the carving are exquisitely done, and the bed was beautifully restored. As you can see it is actually being used to sleep in.
These are close up details of both the painting and carving.
The same gentleman also purchased an excellent old apothecary chest. He was fortunate to obtain this one, as these items in their original state are virtually unavailable now. All of this furniture is set off wonderfully by the rustic reddish wood flooring and various animal skins.
Two of our favorite customers from Richmond have an extensive collection of beautiful furniture bought at Oyster House. This piece, a beautiful 4 door Ningbo cabinet, was modified to hold a wide screen television. It looks great in this elegant white room.
The two pictures below illustrate the unerring eye for quality posessed by one of our favorite customers from Richmond.
Even Marco the cat seems to appreciate this elegant piece, which provides him with a favorite place to perch, alongside a friend.
Below are some shots of the homes of “the Bills” and from my own home as well.
This altar table is almost 11 feet long, the perfect item to place under a bank of windows. This home in Crozet is sparsely furnished, and the rooms are painted a sparkling white. The altar is a focal point in the room, playing up the movement of light over the course of the day and providing a lustrous surface on which to place a few precious objects.
This simple geometric screen from Shan’xi is almost the exact size of the window in which it has been placed and is doing what it does best—breaking the light into interesting, shifting patterns and affording the homeowner a bit of privacy. Screens provide texture and interest, and virtually do away with the need for curtains. This screen will eventually be suspended in the window so that there is an inch or so of room above and below.
Here is another excellent use of a simple screen—it covers a fireplace when the fireplace is not in use and beautifully sets off the old brick of the wall behind. There are numerous interesting small objects on the mantel, including an old wooden brush pot and assorted bells for dog, camel and yak. In front of the hearth, notice the rough, arched natural elmwood bench from Shandong. It is just the right height to sit on when feeding the fire and similar ones can be found all over China. They are used extensively by workers, who either squat on their heels to eat or sit on these low benches. For this reason, they are sometimes called “chow stools” in Southern China. The 2 unusually shaped grain measures and the cypress bucket to the left and right of the fireplace are sturdy enough receptacles to hold small kindling.
In the foyer of the same home is another small rough bench and assorted pieces of interesting old crockery, including a Chinese celadon green pot—notice the folding wooden pillow pictured (sort of) sitting on the right hand side of the bench. It was carved from one piece of wood, and is virtually an impossible thing to find now.
Here is a set of screens used in much the same way they would have been used originally. They actually form a wall, dividing this large space into 2 spaces. This is an office in Beijing, China.
This is a small dining area in a Charlottesville home built in the 70’s. A “Ming-style” dining table from Shandong sits beautifully with 2 Shan’xi yoke back side chairs and 2 wonderful old armchairs from Shandong.
A beautiful old painting cabinet from Shan’xi holds more clothing than you can imagine, and is the focal point in an almost all white bedroom. In fact, a very large piece often is the perfect thing in a very small bedroom like this one. Also notice the tea tables from Hebei, which are used at the bedside for lamp, many books and other items.
This buffet from Qinghai is an ideal storage piece for all the antique dishes this collector has picked up. It is a cheerful spot of color in a very modern kitchen, setting off the brushed stainless steel appliances, white cabinetry and sage green tile floor.
Nina is a designer in Charlottesville and has been buying from us for years. She purchased this unusually tall bamboo cage cabinet from us about 3 or 4 years ago—it has been modified to hold a flat screen television. Also notice the small coffer on the right—a coffer is a traditional “winged” form of storage chest, this one is elm from Hebei.
A rock climber in Charlottesville purchased this carved cage cabinet, after very careful consideration. As you can see, it is being used to hold clothing. The gilding on the carved panels is an attractive echo of the warm green and gold walls. Of course, anything goes with a sweet chocolate Lab!
He also purchased this lovely 4-door coffer. This is a great little storage piece with only a small carved detail—the simplicity of the design plays up the warm wood tone, which has an attractive grain and is finished with a natural tree lacquer.