Category: Antiques


Regular readers of this blog will know my issue with buying vintage and antiques in Hong Kong, and will be equally familiar with my love for mixing furnishings and art from various eras and styles.  Well, I’ve met a kindred spirit in Authentiques founder, Kate Davies. Not only do we love to mix and antique and modern, but we also share the same maiden name, and we’re both from Melbourne!

Kate started out as a TV news reporter in Australia before making her way to Hong Kong and transitioning to public relations and events in the banking world. 16 years later, Kate is now embarking on a new venture, although the passion and experience with antiques is hardly new at all.

Raised in a home decorated by parents with an innate sense of style and a genuine passion for antiques and history, Kate says she is never happier than when in their home, and tries to find a similar ambiance wherever she is in the world.

The Authentiques gallery space in the colourful neighbourhood of Sheung Wan opened earlier this year after years of Kate offering a personalised antique shopping service and a successful pop-up store at the beginning of the year.

By specialising in one of a kind pieces of furniture and decorative arts from the 18th and 19th Century from the UK and Europe, the gallery is also a one of a kind in Hong Kong.

Kate plans to host educational discussions about valuing antiques and collectables, antique appreciation, restoring antiques, the furniture of Kings and Queens and their servants, plus in-depth conversations with well-known collectors and experts. Made-to-measure personal purchasing services, unique overseas trips, buying at auction or from dealers are all topics on the agenda as well.  


The gallery is open on Sundays or by appointment, or head over on a Wednesday evening like I did, for a naughty mid-week drink (or two).

Chen Mi Ji

I’m excited. I’m REALLY excited. Those of you who read my blog on a semi-regular basis will be familiar with me lamenting the fact that there are no vintage furniture stores here. Well, there is now. I discovered Chen Mi Ji during the week, so there will be no prizes for guessing where I’m heading to today. Here are a few pieces I’m keen to see in person –

For my Hong Kong readers, Chen Mi Ji has just relocated from their Central district location to the Start Street Precinct. They are now at 4 Sun Street, Wan Chai, so go check them out. I’m off to do that right now…

Design Bloggers Challenge…

Am I up to Maison 21’s design bloggers challenge? I’m not sure, let’s find out…

It all started with this little beauty…the style has been called everything from “mosco mafioso” to “bordello chic”. I was actually kinda suprised that it didn’t remind me of either of these things when M21 first posted it. I actually thought it was quite cool as far as chandeliers go – which normally aren’t my thing. So, where to start? I think, like Mrs Blandings, it definitely needs a double height ceiling. I was originally thinking it would look a bit fab in an entry, and I know that’s already been done, sorry, but here is my take on it!

I would love to see this in a room with white walls, using a framing technique I posted about last week, here. The frames around the walls definitely need to be in black, like the picture above. Oh, and a few of those black candles and chic sconces would be nice too – perhaps on either side of the entry to the main house. (Image from Vogue Living Australia, May/June 2006).

The floors would be black high gloss stone or timber – whichever you prefer – inlaid with chrome in a geometric pattern – like above. I think to stop the chandelier taking over and looking all a bit too much it needs a room thats a bit masculine looking and a little architectural. (Iimage from the book “Frances Elkins” by Steven Salny).

Then simply add a few choice pieces to the space, like a pair of these stunning Austrian Biedemeier chairs either side of this De Coene Frères console like so. Just add a big bunch of red roses for colour and voila!

What do you think?

Bond & Bowery

There is a collective conciousness of bloggers it seems. I’ve been meaning to do a post about Bond & Bowery for weeks now, and while I procrastinated and racked my brains on what to write about Bond & Bowery I was beaten to the puch by House of Beauty and Culture, AND Alkemie. So go check out their posts for the scoop. But to put in my 2 cents worth…

This TH Robsjohn-Gibbings chair at $1800 is a steal.

And this? This is exquisite.

Hi, my name is Suzy, and I’m a chairaholic…

My latest bidding…10 hours left to go on these 1940’s Ole Wanscher armchairs…fingers crossed!

or this?

This one has 7 days left…

*UPDATE* I won!! My lovely new chair, which now has to find its way to Hong Kong from Sweden (minor detail)…yay!


I’m thinking of bidding on these 1940’s Carl Malmsten armchairs….only 6 hrs and 25 mins to go until I know whether they’ll be mine or not! ~ if I decide to make a bid, that is…

I’ll keep you posted 😉

Double take…

I saw these cool Italian 1950’s chairs on 1st Dibs this morning and realised they looked familiar…

I found this chair on the Williams-Sonoma Home website a little while ago and fell in love.

The originals are $7600 (US) for the pair…the WS version….a mere $995. They’re pretty close…don’t ya think?

What I wouldn’t do…

…for $28,000 to buy this Parzinger Cabinet listed on 1st Dibs today…

My Loveseat

Reading Stylecourt‘s guest posts about Ruthie Sommers and Carla Lane and their vintage furniture rescuing on Design Sponge today made me even more depressed that there are not many vintage goods stores here. When I was in Melbourne one of my favorite pass times was checking out second hand, vintage and antique goods stores for pieces to rescue. Most of them have since found other homes – mostly because I’ve moved so many times (twice internationally) – but also because my tastes change so fast. That’s the beauty of buying cheap and cheerful though, you don’t need to spend a fortune, so it doesn’t need to be a lifetime investment. One particular piece I’ve rescued has become a companion, travel and otherwise. The antique Sheraton-style loveseat that is now at the foot of my bed was picked up from a vintage furniture store on High Street in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. This was the condition it was in when we first saw it….

When I said I wanted it my husband first reaction was to call me crazy. Then, because he’s learned to trust me on these things, he relented. And we bought it. It took a bit of deliberation to finally chose a fabric, but once we’d agreed and had the frame restored and the seating re-sprung we finally got it re-upholstered. Didn’t she scrub up nice?

It might be a while before he lets me do that again, the cost of the fabric was more than the cost of the loveseat and the upholstery put togehter! Oh well, she’ll always be with us, so I think it was a good investment. If anyone is interested, the fabric is from Zoffany – “Rossini” VEL01008.

As you can see these photos were taken two years ago now, just before we moved to Hong Kong, in the midst of renovating our little Victorian townhouse…for someone else to live in..*sigh*(hence the nasty looking floorboards and rubbish bags etc.)

Does this look familiar?

This green lacquered parchment desk is currently up for grabs on 1st Dibs for a mere $7800 US. I thought it looked familiar when I saw it, and now I know why. It looks remarkably similar to the one that Kelly Wearstler used in the show apartment she did for the Eastern Columbia development in LA that I posted about a while back. Don’t you think?

Actually, now I look at it again I realise it can’t be the same one, this one has less drawers..

Thomas Hamel

The apartment of Sydney-based interior designer Thomas Hamel and his partner, antiquarian Martyn Cook, was featured in this months Vogue Living (Australia). It definitely has a very masculine feel about it, and I’m loving their ensemble of mixed antiques and the neutral colour palette. This to me has an Australian feel (although not uniquely) about it – the furniture is from various parts of the world – and the colonial pieces definitely look right at home.

In the living room two gild Italian Neoclassical side chairs (c 1790) and a French bureau (c 1890) in front of an imported 19thC Chinese wallpaper panel.

A syrian teak and bone inlay coffee table on a woven leather rug from Nth Africa. Portuguese mahogany bureau (c 1750), flanked by a pair of Anglo-Ceylonese carved ebony armchairs (c 1880) on the back wall.

Four antique doors open up the living room to the sitting room. On the far wall is an English neo-gothic bookcase.

18thC chandelier hangs above the dining table, behind is an English George III neoclassical mahogany chest on chest.

English Goerge III giltwood mirror (c 1750) hangs above the fireplace. Wing chairs are French, and upholstered in linen.

Sth African mask sits on a wicker chest in the guest bedroom. The hanging lamp is Recency style.

The guest bedroom features a 19thC Anglo-Portuguese carved ebony bed which is flanked by custom-made georgian-style bookcases. The bed sits in a niche that was created to showcase a 1730’s map of Paris printed on cork (what an ingenius idea!).
This article got me thinking this week about how many stunning homes we see featured in magazines around the world that are owned by gay male couples. I love that magazines feature interiors based on the style, regardless of whose they are, but I’m beginning to wonder why I have never seen an apartment owned by a gay female couple. Where do they all live? Do they not have equally the same style as their male counterparts?

Small space style

Believe it or not but this grand looking apartment is only 10 x 5 mtrs (32.8′ x 16.4′). What I find even harder to believe is that it is part of a conversion from a warehouse space in an ultra modern and hip part of Melbourne. It’s super tiny, but it has one great thing going for it – 5 mtr (16.4′) high ceilings. All of the mouldings you see were added by the owner (an antiques broker, in case you can’t guess) to this standard-issue development. It just goes to show you don’t’ need a huge space to create something palatial looking, or an old building to create a look with character and history. I know I’ve been guilty of writing off newish buildings that have no mouldings and look boring as hell, but these photos prove that you can create the look you want (of course the high ceilings help), and you can do it yourself with a little know how.

Two Louis XVI style chairs and a 2 seater sette – covered in venetian silk damask – sit in front of a pair of 200 year old doors that were rescued from an ailing chateau in Normandy.
The doors open to reveal a cleverly hidden hotel quality fold-out bed.

A brass inlaid tortoise shell clock made for Louis XIV sits above a Louis XV set of fruitwood drawers.

View of the living/dining area from the entrance. The kitchen is hidden to the left, and the black spiral staircase leads to the bathroom above. The owner uses small console tables together and is able to seat 8 for dinner parties.

View of the Main room, with bed hidden.
Images from Vogue Living (Australia) July/August 2007 edition.

1st Dibs

Oh how I love Thursday mornings. I look forward to my weekly updates from 1st Dibs all week. For those not in the know, 1st Dibs is an amazing resource of antiques from all over the world, from mainly US antique dealers. Pieces range from art, to pretty much any kind of indoor or outdoor furniture, or architectural elements. Prices range from reasonable, to ridiculous. Here is a range of my pick’s from this weeks new listings….

I love the shape of this 19th C Flemish mirror. It would look amazing above a fireplace. I’ve seen more modern interpretations of this in bone/ebony which is a bit not PC but looks amazing…

This beautifully feminine 19th C daybed would look equally sensational in a bedroom, library or a sunroom/patio.

These 1940’s french wrought iron chairs are beautiful! I would love to have a pair of these and a small table on a private terrace off my bedroom. Perfect for a Sunday morning cuppa…

I love these 1960’s brass nesting tables.

This 1960’s brass tripod table is very Gio Ponti (although the description didn’t mention if it was). I think it would look fantastic in a very modern or a traditional interior.

These Billy Haines side chairs are very handsome. Perfect for perching on sipping cocktails…

This black lacquered campaign-style chest is very sexy with a hint of history. Should we call it modern colonial?

I am a fan of traditional starburst style mirrors, but I have never seen one made of bone before – as this one is. A modern take on an old favorite that would work in most interiors.

These brass garden stools are very cool. They look a little exotic to me, but I love the hand-made look, and think they’d look fantastic in a tropical style garden.
These sky blue Dominique boudoir chairs are so elegant. Need I say more?

This English leather and bamboo chest has a wonderful antique look about it, and I could see it in a chinoiserie styled bedroom, with a blue and white lamp and other asian styled bric a brac.

I love these French bergeres, even without fabric! How cute would they look used as dining chairs, or upholstered in a pink silk velvet for use in a dressing room.

Black and brass Jean Royere nesting tables. Classic shape, and still as modern looking today as when they were created.

This Tommy Parzinger dresser is timeless. Love those handles!

Another Tommy Parzinger piece – a drop leaf dining table. Perfect for a small partment. Beautiful woodwork. And sexy legs to boot!