The Future Of Green…Is Old?

Though green design has come a long way since the days when the term brought forth images of rustic off-the-grid dwellings, the same isn’t true about “eco-friendly furniture.” One envisions inexpertly recycled materials and an overall look that would feel more at home in a 70s hippie commune, rather than something high style. Yet, many design lovers have been embracing recycled furniture without realizing it — just look to the antiques that are already in your home.

Buying antiques is a natural (though not immediately obvious) way to go green, as you’re giving new life to something that’s already been created, whether 50 or 300 years ago. An exceptional 18th-century Chippendale-style desk, for instance, also saves precious environmental resources, such as the wood originally used (no new mahogany trees needed to be cut down for its construction).

Jason Stein, Viyet’s co-chief curator, expounds further on the appeal of investing in antiques, beyond the green benefit. “Antiques are not just purchased, they are collected,” he says. “They bring character, depth, and patina to our environments.” Stein can especially speak to this, as he has been immersed in the auction realm for nearly 25 years, holding positions at Butterfield & Butterfield, Christie’s, Bonhams, and Paddle 8. He’s a generalist appraiser in furniture and decorative arts and a specialist in 20th-century design, and also is an authority on the designer Tony Duquette.

For aspiring collectors, the opportunities are endless to find that special piece. But unlike other design purchases that are purely decided upon based on style, Stein says that the key to a great purchase lies in condition. “Good antiques tend to be well-constructed, visually appealing, and have nice/true signs of age,” he says. When assessing an antique, Stein lists the things to look for: Condition, quality of construction, beauty, rarity, if there were any restorations or repairs, and the provenance of the piece. If a potential piece passes this extensive examination, it’s likely a worthy investment.

You’d also be surprised that trends affect the antiques market (and prices of individual pieces). According to Stein, right now the demand is for pedestals, desks, pendant lights, bold mirrors (particularly for the bathroom), fireplaces, and antique furniture upholstered with patterned fabrics. You can expect stiff competition for prime examples in these categories.

However, thanks to the ease of online consignment and auctions, it never has been easier to find an exquisite piece for the home. To see an eclectic array of antiques from virtually every period — or, conversely, to consign your antiques — visit Viyet.com.

Shop Some Of Our Vintage Picks: 

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Row One: Barley Twist ArmchairsBlack Ceramic Table LampsBritish Colonial Ottoman 

Row Two: Tribal DrumLeather and Mahogany ChairsFolk Art Weathervane

Row Three: Swedish Painted ChestSouth Indian Service TrayGeorge III Mahogany Sofa Table

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