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Decorating with Style

Decorating with Antique Mirrors

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Whether we’re taking private clients or trade clients on Antique Buying Tours, there are a few key items that people are ALWAYS looking to buy!. Antique mirrors, large or small, are one of the most sought after pieces.  Not only do they work in nearly any space – enhancing it and reflecting light – as we age (yes, I’m talking people, not antiques) we look better and better in old, mottled mercury mirrors!  My theory is:  if you can’t turn back the hands of time at least you can turn back seeing the wrinkles!  Antique mirrors allow us to see ourselves in new ways.

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An entryway is the ideal place for an antique mirror, preferably a large one so that you can check yourself one last time before you leave the house – it also imbues the home with light, making it feel immediately welcoming.

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Above the mantel is obviously a traditional place to put a mirror and my theory is that this is where you should GO BOLD.  The bigger and the more ornate, the better.  In the evenings, light a slew of candles and watch how the flames flicker in the reflection.   On this cold day in February I’m dreaming of snuggling up next to the fire with the candlelight reflected above.

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While we’re talking about candlelight, try to hang mirrors any place that candles can be reflected across the room, etc.  Think about a long mirror hung horizontally above the sideboard in the dining room. Then you can fill the sideboard with candles that will make your dinner hour sparkle or it can catch the light from the dining table as you entertain.

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If you have a strangely placed electric panel, why not prop a mirror up against the wall in front of it? This can also be a great way to use a mirror if you’re a renter and don’t want to put holes in the walls. Propping a large mirror against a wall creates a sense of depth and space and also makes a room feel casual – in fact in my bedroom at home (which has brick walls) I’ve propped an oversized trumeau.

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Hanging a mirror at the end of a dark hallway or in a closed stairwell will reflect light and give the illusion of a continuation of space. Mirrors make cramped spaces less claustrophobic so anywhere that feels tight, just add a mirror!

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Mirror Mirror on the Wall… Who’s the Fairest of them All?

The Antiques Diva®

Ringing in the New Year Diva Style

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>I hope you’re enjoying the holidays – I simply love this time of year – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Now that Christmas is over there are still last minute things you must do to prepare for New Year’s Eve. Whether you’re still entertaining your extended family or plan to host friends, New Years tends to be a bit more glam than Christmas, which is usually family-oriented. And even if you’re planning to be a guest at someone else’s party this year, I’ve got a few tips on how to make this New Year’s Eve the best ever!

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

I love New Year’s Eve because I love all things that come along with it. Everyone gets to dress up and put on a glamorous outfit along with glitzy jewelry and a pair of killer shoes. Typically there’s a fun and exciting atmosphere that people bring with them to New Year’s parties and there are certainly tried and true ways to set the stage for this atmosphere.

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

First things first- everyone knows that Champagne is a must for ringing in the New Year. However, with this holiday being pretty much back-to-back with Christmas, money may be a bit tight. Don’t fret! Sparkling wines, Cava and Prosecco are wonderful substitutes for Champagne and cost less. Of course, being The Antiques Diva, I like to have antique & vintage Champagne buckets at the ready to serve the bubbly. If you’re going to be a guest at someone else’s home this year, why not take a vintage champagne bucket along with a bottle of Prosecco as a hostess gift? It’s a lovely gesture that’s also affordable. And your friend will be able to keep the champagne bucket long after the party is over!

art_deco_champagne_bucket

If you’re hosting a party, keep it easy on yourself! No one likes a stressed out hostess. I love The Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks for finding a good recipes – however I’m a firm believer that having a host of pre-made snacks is the recipe for hosting a stress-free party.  You can never go wrong with cheese and baguette and some pate.  Olives are a MUST but pretzels, wasabi nuts and pistachios are also perennial favorites.  Ready-made mini quiches only require you to heat and serve. When hosting a party think about where you want to invest your energies and use a combination of home-made, partially-home-made and ready-made.

Also keep in mind that guests will be mingling, often holding a drink in one hand so be sure that most hors d’oeuvres are mini and can be held and eaten with one hand. Serve them in individual size serving dishes!

The truth is, presentation is key at any party. Instead of focusing on difficult and complicated recipes, focus on HOW you serve ready-made nibbles. When it comes to serving these little delights, use antique silver trays, wood cutting boards and other beautiful serving pieces to make the evening feel special.

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

Of course there are three elements that can really make a party feel special and set the tone for the entire night. These are flowers, candles and music! If your budget allows, have a florist create arrangements and deliver them right to your door. But if you want to do it yourself (as I often do), grab a few interesting containers—think crystal bowls, antique trophy cups, silver urns— and fill them with the same flower. Clustering of 3 Euro roses look fabulous when presented in the right way.  It’s easy, effortless and oh so elegant.

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

Sprinkle candles throughout your space and dim the lights a bit for some added drama.

And of course, create a custom playlist ahead of time so that the background sound never stops and keeps the party flowing.

However you choose to celebrate the New Year, do so with style!

Cheers to a prosperous and happy New Year and I look forward to bringing you all more antiques and inspiration in the coming year!

The Antiques Diva® 

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The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

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