Design Hints

Affordable Period Style

Blend reproductions with period antiques to create a decor-driven lifestyle.

Affordable Period Style

Antiques dealer and homeowner Timothy Northup (whose home is featured in "Handing Down History" in our January 2017 issue) has a lot of authentic old treasures, but he also appreciates high-quality reproductions. "My whole business revolves around blending reproductions with period antiques to create a lifestyle," he says. Here are some of his history-minded hints:

1. Take advantage of the market. If you want to add to your collections, now is a great time to find deals, as prices have dropped in recent years. "You can buy some wonderful things for half the price they were 10 years ago," Timothy says.

2. Do a field study. Take advantage of any museums in your area that focus on the Early American period, including living history museums, historic sites and the like. That will give you a good idea of what pieces were typical and how they were originally displayed and used. It will also help guide your palette choices and inspire decorating ideas.

3. Settle on a style. Keep a look in mind, such as formal country or primitive, that suits the era or design of your home (or just your personal preference), but feel free to blend pieces from different periods. People of the past would have purchased or made new things but also utilized family heirlooms and hand-me-downs. "That's what America is -- a blend of old and new," Timothy notes.

4. Seek out salvaged goods. Track down architectural salvage companies that can supply everything from decorative pieces to functional finds, such as a staircase banister or fireplace mantel. These items can be displayed as is or retrofitted to become part of a rehab project.

5. Respect quality. When buying reproductions, focus on those that are constructed in the same manner as the original pieces on which they are based. Also, examine an item's surface and make sure it is distressed in such a way that it looks as if it has been worn naturally over the years. Quality costs more but will stand the test of time.

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed by Gridley+Graves