Furnishing and decorating all at once can end up feeling cold and impersonal, but pieces gathered over time tell a much better story and allow a sense of you to shine through. Take inspiration from these homeowners who display their collections of timeless vintage treasures in creative and beautiful ways.
In southwest England, interior designer and avid furniture collector Kathryn Tyler built her home around the vintage pieces she’d amassed over a decade. A palette of wood, concrete, and painted brick forms a neutral backdrop for Kathryn Tyler’s vintage treasures, including a $30 dining table, $3 poster, and a set of 1950s Carl Jacobs Jason chairs she snagged on eBay for $400. Photo by Andrew Meredith.
Seeking a modern shell for their mid-century pieces, a pair of collectors found a relatively untouched Eichler in San Rafael, California—and a built-in excuse to acquire more furniture. Mark Neely and Paul Kefalides’s living room is decked out with the couple’s vintage finds, including a Hans Wegner Sawback chair (the fur throw obscures an area needing repair), a George Nelson Ball Clock, a DF-2000 cabinet by Raymond Loewy, a light designed by Greta Von Nessen, and a suite of Brian Willshire wooden sculptures, one of Neely’s many collections. Photo by Drew Kelly.
Jean-Christophe Aumas’ multihued Paris apartment houses both the highly sought artistic director and the stunning assemblage of furniture he’s brought back from his travels. Aumas reads on a vintage Swan sofa by Arne Jacobsen. The teal side table is from a Berlin flea market; the walnut stool by Charles and Ray Eames is from an antique store in Brussels; Aumas himself made the art on the wall. Photo by Christian Schaulin.
Located just off the entry hall, this room opens onto a lush garden. The residents commissioned the overhead light from designers Sylvain Willenz and Hubert Verstraeten. “The use of red billiard ball references Charles and Ray Eames’s Hang-It-All coat rack,” says Smith. The wall-hung light is by the contemporary São Paulo–based designers Luciana Martins and Gerson de Oliveira. The rug is a Moroccan patchwork from the 1960s; the teak-and-leather Kilin chair is by Sergio Rodrigues; and the cane-backed sofa is a student daybed designed by Hans Wegner for Getama in the 1950s. Photo by Chris Tubbs.
When graphic designers Jeanette and Mike Abbink left behind their loft in San Francisco—with collected ephemera, a voluminous library, and a parcel of paintings in tow—they didn’t know where they would land in the Big Apple. One renovation and one Welsh terrier later, they’re back on track in Brooklyn. Beneath the windows in the living room and the bedroom is the clever built-in radiator screen/storage system designed by Joshua Pulver and Mike. The bedroom dresser is vintage Russel Wright. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
For Parisian gallery director Didier Krzentowski, the art of collecting has become a career by design. On either side of a photograph by Torbjorn Rodland are Elysées sconces by Pierre Paulin. A lighted Bouroullec vase sits atop a vintage Raymond Loewy storage unit. Photo by Philippe Munda.
For Brussels-based furniture designer Christiane Högner, inspiration comes less from glossy design mags than the castoffs she finds on the streets of Belgium. Högner found the collapsible blue metal Beanstalk Camp Kitchen stands at a flea market, and was immediately attracted to their color. But, she says, her favorite part about the quirky coffee tables in her living room is that "the legs fold up!" Photo by Céline Clanet.
In a South Minneapolis neighborhood of century-old housing stock, Julie Snow’s bold but elegant residential design fulfilled Andrew Blauvelt and Scott Winter’s desire for a loft on the ground. The master bathroom has a bamboo screen and a Deauville tub by Victoria + Albert. A vintage enameled metal sign from the London Underground is framed by the screen and a cactus that sits atop an African stool. Photo by Dean Kaufman.