This weekend I took a quick trip to Nashville to visit the Antique and Garden Show. While I mostly went to hear Gil Schafer and Rita Konig speak, the exhibit hall was also packed full of interesting finds and displays. I wanted to share a few photos I snapped on my phone along with some of the highlights from their talk.
Most booths contained antiques, but being an antique and garden show, there were a number of garden displays too. I really loved this ginormous concrete bench. It could feel so cozy in the right backyard. So cottagey! While I didn’t leave with much, I did snag some flower bulbs and seeds we’re looking forward to planting in the coming months.
One thing I really enjoyed was the wide array of antique finds. In addition to the more classical antiques and displays, there were also things like the vintage sports equipment booth with framed retro swimsuits that could really make a statement in the right space. One of my favorite booths was by Eneby Home. Definitely one of the moodier displays.
One fun thing about shows like this is scoping out pieces you wouldn’t buy for yourself but are fun to see in person. The blue and white planters reminded me so much of the planters on display at the Biltmore on our last visit, and while this particular set came with a $16K price tag (!), I enjoyed admiring them.
There was also a great mix of art in all sizes and mediums. The prices on many of the pieces were pretty reasonable, especially considering most of them come framed. I was really tempted by the silk birds above.
The Art of Collaboration: An Architect and Interior Decorator in Conversation
With Gil Schafer and Rita Konig
Now for the main event. My favorite house from Gil’s last book was a collaboration between him and Rita Konig. So when I found they were speaking together on the importance of collaboration between architecture and interior design, I couldn’t miss it. Much of their talk involved highlighting various past projects and how they were made stronger through collaboration. While I greatly enjoyed hearing both of them, I especially loved Rita’s wit and found myself jotting down many of her quotable statements listed below.
“Everybody has taste, it’s just a question of finding it.”
They both stressed that the most important collaboration is with the client because it’s ultimately the people who live in the house who make it a home, and it should be a reflection of how they live in it.
“The point of grey is to add color.”
Rita talked about how many people are afraid of neutral walls or base layers because they want to incorporate color. However, using a natural backdrop creates a perfect setting for colorful art, accents, and textiles to stand out.
“When you’re forced to do things because you can’t have everything you want, you often wind up with something better.”
I really loved this point from the talk. It’s easy to get caught up into trying to make things perfect, especially when you see so many beautiful images online. However, it’s sometimes the unexpected or the cherished pieces you already have that wind up setting a space apart.
“Not worrying about matching period and using the stuff you have creates a cozier environment.”
Echoing the above statement, they discussed how layering in periods, new and old, etc. can make a space more comfortable.
“Slow design is like slow cooking, you add layers over time.”
As someone who loves to cook, I LOVED this statement. Yes!
“Drink trays are a good go to when you don’t know what to do with a space.”
There are always those awkward corners that can leave you stumped on how to fill them. This is a good piece of advice to keep in mind.
“A room full of things no one needs or can touch is as depressing as living in a hotel.”
A good reminder that making a space practical and livable contribute to how you experience it just as much as the looks of it.
When asked about the difference in working with American vs. U.K. clients, “the U.S. is a nation of consumers,” who are more willing to take risks and say yes, while “the U.K. is a nation of hoarders,” who are more likely to want to hold on to pieces and are less likely to say yes. She also pointed out that the U.S. has more readily available, affordable sources like West Elm, while the U.K. has more affordable and available upholstery.
How to create a historic look
Gil and Rita’s spaces often have an old feel to them. Someone from the audience asked how to create that feel in a home without a lot of old charm. Gil gave the following tips:
Hardware: Use antique hardware or hardware created in an older style.
Old wood: If you can reuse wood or use salvaged wood for floors, ceilings, and other wood detail, it keeps it from feeling too new.
Window panes: Keep the panes a bit more vertical than horizontal to help it feel more historic.
Molding: When possible use moldings and trim to add character.
Gil ended the talk by saying that he’s learned that architecture doesn’t have to solve every problem and that architects and designers are the perfect complement because architects are often very exacting and “buttoned-up” while designers are a bit looser and willing to try the unexpected.
The 5 hours of driving were well worth it! I can’t wait to attend in the future!