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Mixing Antiques With Different Styles
It is not always possible to furnish a house completely in one style, nor is it a sound idea to do so. Individuality is as desirable as privacy in any home. With so many varied activities taking place under the same roof and often including different people, it is an only natural outcome that there should be a change of styles from room to room.
A "family room" or "game room" done in casual country pine is ideal for suburban moderns. Lately there has been a trend for this separation, this room apart from the living room, positioned near the kitchen or in the basement. This allows the living room proper to be used for entertaining and for "dress up" occasions much like the old-fashioned parlor, rather than for the daily play and T.V. area. With your pine and maple furniture taking the daily wear and tear, you can then put your finer carved mahogany in the less used living room. If, however, you have only one room for both purposes, then you have the choice of using either casual or formal or a median between the two, depending upon whether your family consists of all adults or adults and small children.
For other rooms you might choose entirely different styles.
Different periods and styles for different rooms make an interesting house. When several people live in the same house, the change from one room to the next can allow for individuality as well as to provide for different activities. Dainty furnishings for baby sister; bolder, rugged furniture for brother; nostalgic for Grandpa if he lives with you: subtle little changes in personality from the body of the house.
A lot of thought must go into the mixing of different styles in order to have a pleasant blending of one to another. Careless mixing will only result in a hopeless hodge-podge confusing to the eye and the intellect.
In choosing antiques for your home pay heed to the similarities of styles. Periods which followed each other generally overlapped styles, often resulting in the making of more than one style simul taneously. The style changes were never abrupt. Duncan Phyfe, the cabinetmaker, was turning out Sheraton furniture along with his Directoire and early Empire. There are chairs which show characteristics of both Queen Anne and Chippendale, which generally are referred to as Georgian, after the King Georges' ruling subsequent to Queen Anne. Hepplewhite and Sheraton used the same designs and details many times, resulting in confusion on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, since it is difficult to tell one from the other in certain pieces of furniture. Later Sheraton styles melted into Directoire, which in turn flowed uninterruptedly into Empire. In fact, so dose are the styles that in many circles Directoire is not differentiated at all, that furniture just being called early Empire. Late Empire is dose to early Victorian in many instances.
The transition from one style to another occasionally produced furniture examples which defy classification and can properly be used anywhere they look good.
In combining antiques with modern furniture-if you musttry to use restraint. Extremes of each kind will not look good together, so if you must have some modern pieces use those with similar lines. That is, avoid having a straight-lined, square, angular article next to a curvacious, heavily carved one; or a small one dwarfed by a huge neighbor. Choose woods of the same kind or finish. Similarity will help overcome differences.