The Cross House
Yesterday, I did a post about furniture.
There will be few antiques in the Cross House when I am done and I wish for such pieces to fulfill two criteria:
- That each piece be period-correct to the house. So, early 1890s.
- That each piece complement the house, in terms of quality and style.
I rarely see this approach when people decorate old homes. Normally, I see interiors with antiques from all over the place, era-wise. An 1890 parlor, for example, will have sofa from the 1920s, a pair of chairs from the 1860s, a rug from 1910, and lighting from the 1930s.
And all the above pieces will exhibit a huge range in quality. The 1920s sofa, for example, might have originally been intended for a very modest house. The pair of 1860s chairs might have been intended for a very grand mansion. And so on.
And nothing actually complements the architecture of the room.
This is what I am determined to avoid at the Cross House when selecting antiques.
Now, I am NOT saying that everything in a house must fit a very narrow timeline. I am fine with an eclectic approach, as is obvious from my having a table in my parlor which was designed in 1957, modern art on the walls, and contemporary upholstered pieces and a rug. The only antique in room however is from the early 1890s and is also, from a quality and style perspective, the same as the architecture of the room. The chair complements the mantel and trim, and buttresses the historical timeline. It does not compete with the mantel and trim, or confuse the timeline.
Today, we value antiques. This was not so in the 19th-century. In the White House, each new President thought nothing of auctioning off old furnishings. Today, White House curators would be horrified at the thought. (Jacqueline Kennedy discovered a Monroe-era pier table, created for the Blue Room, being used in the carpentry shop.)
The Cross House was highly forward-thinking when built. It was full of new-fangled technology and its very design, a Queen Anne Free Classic, was advanced for the era. I suspect that the Cross Family would have ordered all new furnishings, for at least the first floor.
In looking at archival images of Victorian-era interiors, I am often struck at how up-to-date many of these interiors were. I also note a consistency of quality. Expensive high-quality items tend to mix with others such pieces. The same for modest pieces in modest homes.
All the bedrooms in the Cross House will be like the parlor: an eclectic mix. But any antiques chosen will complement the architecture of a room, and be of the same level, price point-wise.