Reclaimed Elegance

By , June 16, 2008

I was contacted recently to bid on the interior design and decorating of a new European chateau style estate that is being built here in California. Thinking about the possibility of the project, I began formulating ideas to create the perfect space. Where would I begin? Then I remembered a set of beautiful carved panels that I had seen at an antique show.jantonacci1These panels come from an 18th c. home in Antwerp that was designed by the architect Bauerscheidt who had studied extensively in France and was very influential on the buildings of Belgium at that time. These panels are available from Axel Vervoordt, the premier antiques dealer in Brussels. The set of 5 panels are carved in oak and have retained the original finish of silvery grey paint with gilded accents. The beauty of the carvings and the possibility for a fantastic design really inspired me.


Imagine a room constructed in a new estate that was……well….., perfect….. The carved panels would be installed over the 4 sets of double doors in the grand salon. The room would be perfectly proportioned with 12 foot high ceilings and fully paneled. The new paneling would be finished by one of the fabulous artisans I work with regularly to closely reproduce the finish of the antique panels. The Versailles style parquet floors would be reclaimed from France.

And the furnishings! The furnishings would be a skillful blend of contemporary, modern, and classic. Soft seating, like this sofa also from Axel Vervoordt….


Vintage pieces from the best artists of the 40’s, and colors that are cool, silvery, watery shades of blues and greens. In this imaginary room, I would use a coffee table by Gilbert Poillerat….


A gueridon by Andre Arbus…..


a Tom Dixon wingback chair……


and assorted other wonderful and comfortable pieces and paintings that will make the room spectacular! A quick sketch by one of my designers, Stuart Gilchrist……


and Voila! I am soooo ready to present to a potential client!

Oooops! I think I got carried away! Of course, I still need to meet with the potential clients and learn what they want. After all, it is their home. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they will be inspired by my ideas. Perhaps soon, these unique, increasingly rare and unusually wonderful carved panels will have a new home that is truly deserving of their beauty.

Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Jane Antonacci

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