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Antiques Versus Modern Living
THERE IS NOTHING INCONGRUOUS about combining antiques with the most modern surroundings. We human beings are complex organisms that can enjoy all sorts of divergent notions at the same time. The man who roundly curses out his business competitor, shouting, "They can't do that to me," is the same man who will think nothing of drying the dinner dishes; the gentlewoman of the past is no more, today it is the same woman who dons faded blue jeans to scrub the kitchen floor in the morning who will emerge in the afternoon, bathed, polished, and fashionably dressed at the P.T.A. meeting, looking for all the world as if she had done nothing but primp all day. The timid white-haired lady you see sitting in the park on a spring day crocheting daintily, is the same woman who attends the wrestling matches every Friday night and screams for blood; the girl roller-derby champ listens to symphonic music on her stero set for relaxation.
With such apparently contradicting interests in other fields of daily living, it is not strange to find any type of antique collected by the most unlikely people.
Collect what you will enjoy. Use your antiques. Display them attractively. If you like anything enough to spend time and money collecting it, then it belongr; it is as much a part of you as the way you wear your hair, and will fit into your home beautifully.
It is unnecessary to duplicate antique living with exact replicas of the rooms as furnished years ago. You do not use oil for your lighting, nor rely on open fireplaces for heat, so there is no reason to feel bound to furnish your home exactly as our forebears did just because you appreciate their fine furniture that has been handed down as antiques.
By taking the spirit of the days gone by, along with the furniture, it is possible to adapt antiques to modern living and have the best of the past along with all the comforts and conveniences of today. Thomas Jefferson, with his constant improvements and modernizations in his home at Monticello, would have been the first to agree that the fine furniture and interesting accessories culled from the long ago can be completely compatible with the miracles of modern living.
Gracious living, as the magazines write about it, refers to no special era nor period. Comfort, pleasant surroundings, and livability are always in fashion.
You need not have an old house to provide authentic background for your antiques. The Cape Cod house with its familiar block shape and symmetrical roof is a common sight even today; its simple design has endured in the middle- and lower-cost housing field because it is comparatively easy and economical to build. Shingled or clapboarded, white or any color of the rainbow, it is still popular with contractor and owner alike.
Even sprawling ranch houses need not be a barrier to collecting and using antique furniture. Lovely old furniture will give substantial character to an otherwise unexciting house.
Buying a house is in many ways the same as buying a pound of hamburger. A woman buys both for the same reasons: because her family likes it, because it is the best buy for the money, and because there is so much she can do with it. There are so many ways to suit your family's taste, from substantial meatloaf, through ever-popular broiied hamburger patties. It can be extended with bread, oatmeal or rice. It can become fancy Swedish meatballs or spicy Italian meat sauce, or whatever else you like best. So it is with a house.
Antiques allow for a greater range of individuality even in tract houses. A builder erects a row of tract houses which are all alike except for the color and the numbers on the door. The houses will remain alike until they are sold and the new owners move in, then they begin to show changes. Drive down a street of tract houses that are five or ten years old and you will notice how different they look from the new rubber stamp appearance they first had.
Your home is an extension of your personality. Every woman should have the opportunity to express herself and to see to the comfort of her family in tier own way. This is what changes a house into a home. The use of antiques in decorating that dream home allows for the greater expression of individuality because there is a larger area from which to draw-all the past.
Like attending a party to discover another woman wearing the same dress, finding the exact suite of modern furniture in her neighbor's identical tract house, can embarrass a woman.
A particular antique might be found in another's home, but certainly not a duplication of your whole room of antique furniture. The selection of individual pieces and the groupings and arrangements are all your own.