Who knows what the future will bring, especially when it comes to the way we live and decorate our homes? As a kid, I used to love picturing myself in a Jetsons world. From a house high in the sky, I'd hop a flying saucer to school, where everything I ever needed to know I could learn with the press of a button. Life in the future looked so easy, especially at home. I mean—why would you ever have to do laundry if Rosie the robot maid could do it for you? Truth is—and I know I might sound crazy—I actually enjoy doing laundry, just as much as I enjoy polishing silver, ironing linens and cooking good food.
In high school, the only subject I never wanted an Easy Button for was Home Ec. And while everyone else thought it was boring, I couldn't have been happier! These days, with Home Ec pretty much a thing of the past, keeping house has become a lost art. Now I'm all for conveniences—my drawer full of takeout menus I can definitely count among my collections!—but I also believe in holding onto the things that give a home a sense of history. For me, that means that a hundred years into the future, my house would be filled, as it is now, with objects created years—and, as with these few things—a hundred years in the past.
It's a little bit of everything I love—china, silver and glass. From the left, a silverplate tea pot, an English transferware plate, a French sterling silver straining ladle and a hand blown glass decanter.
The decanter I found at the flea market here in town, and it's all the irregularities I love most. To me, those air bubbles are beautiful! Another thing to look for in early glass—this piece is probably from the late 1800s—is the breaking point on the bottom after it was blown and spun. I love the glass bands around the neck as well, and the size is perfect for two! In fact, when Jaithan and I sit down to dinner, I use it all the time for decanting wine. A single fern stem in water would be another beautiful way to display it. Hand blown glass like this, with all its many imperfections, will always have a place on my table.
How gorgeous is this pattern on the black transferware plate? Even though it's over a hundred years old, I still think it feels pretty modern. That's probably because similar pieces (with far less detail) have been produced and reproduced for decades. But classic style like this isn't about following trends; it's about going to flea markets, digging through junk shops and finding the truly authentic pieces that inspired all the rest. This piece I found at an antique market in Brimfield, Massachusetts years ago, and though I've never been able to find another for a table setting, I still love it just as much hung on the ebony black wall of my bathroom. The markings too I find beautiful, and I love the name—British Flowers. So rich!
Speaking of, I found this French sterling silver ladle at a Goodwill in Connecticut. It was one of those down and dirty digs where everything turns up tarnished—just the way I like it! This piece was totally black when I found it, and though at first I thought it was silverplate, turns out it's actually solid silver. Love the intricate detailing on the handle and the pretty shell shape of the bowl.
Once it was all polished up (Rosie the robot, be gone!), I noticed markings on the inside of the bowl as well. From my research, it was probably produced in Paris around 1875—perfect for serving cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving a month, a year, a hundred years from now.
And finally, this silverplate tea pot is the most recent find of the lot but definitely a new favorite. I found it a couple of weeks ago at the Knights of Columbus Flea Market in Greenwich. And even though it's engraving is from 1900, I'm willing to bet it's even older! Love the shape, the size and the ebony detailing.
The markings I haven't been able to decode but the crafstmanship I think is incredible. One hundred eight years and counting…
And so whatever the future holds, whether we're living in cities perched on stilts or furnishing country houses on distant planets, I know what I'm bringing, and it's everything I love now.