We can't help but fall in love with pieces that are hand made and hand painted! Often, clients will ask us to sift through their kitchen dishes and their fine china cabinets in search of what we call priceless heirloom pieces. Now, you might be reading this and saying.. I have nothing of the sort. I only ever shopped at IKEA for my dishes and nothing has ever been passed down to me! And although, we might want to challenge you there (because we ALWAYS find a piece or two in each of our clients homes even with the most unknowing and weary!) we won't, and we will assure you that these types of pieces can still be found and collected today.
We recommend searching local antique stores, estate sales/auctions and flea markets when trying to build your collection of heirloom pieces. At first, it may seem tricky and hard to identify what you are looking for. And for us, there are a few simple steps that if followed make the entire process less intimidating.
First and foremost, we look for item's we love - that includes colors we find dreamy (the above is such a pretty in pink collection and it really happens to be one of our favorites) or designs we admire (we love floral patterns in just about everything.. pillows, bedding and here! why not!) and of course, a detail that elevates the entire piece (here the gold detailing makes these pieces appear regal, and abundantly rich (just the way we like it!).
Second, we recommend flipping the piece over and looking for a stamp or a trademark. Often vintage pieces have this and although, you may not know what it means at the time it does add to the authenticity of the piece - and it can even help date the piece for you. Sometimes, if you are looking at a pricey piece that you just fell in love with unexpectedly, you can take a picture of the bottom of the piece and go home to google what you can about it. This can often help with decisions when it comes to whether it is worth the investment or not. Keep in mind, our golden rule is that more money doesn't mean more valuable and it certainly, doesn't mean more beautiful. The beauty of these pieces really is in the eye of the beholder.. so don't be fooled. If you aren't drawn to it, that piece isn't for you - regardless of how valuable someone claims it to be. And most importantly, you don't have to spend a fortune to collect these types of pieces. If you are fortunate enough to travel, spend the time roaming the streets to find little hidden antique stores. Or go to flea markets (these are especially wonderful in Europe - Paris and London have several) and they are such gems. You can barter, and you can spend hours upon hours looking for pieces that appease you and your collection! Is this heaven?! We think so!!
As always, we our attracted to the details on these pieces. The more details the better. And perhaps the most fascinating thing about these items is that they are hand painted. Some pieces you can run your hand over and you can truly feel where the gold detailing has been outlined over each flower. Others, you may have to look closely to see the fine paint work being completed. The general rule is that if there is a piece with an elaborate design, a machine wouldn't be able to paint it with such precision and attention to detail. If the piece you are looking at is vintage and has lots of fine detailing - you almost always have nothing to worry about. Machines were mass produced to do this type of work (almost recently - if you really look at how old the world is and how old some of this pieces are, 'recently' does appear to be the most appropriate word choice!)
Once you start collecting, you will identify some of your favorite repeat brands, or your favorite patters and details. And soon enough, you may even stop flipping the piece over to see what is on the bottom of it! Because at some point, you just start buying and collecting what you love - regardless of its so-called value. And that itself is the secret ingredient to life, surrounding yourself with people and pieces you just cannot live without!