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How to Age Your Furniture and Make it Look Antique

Tuesday, 22nd April 2014 1 Comment

Time-worn furniture pieces give added character and personality to our homes. Their aged, distressed look offer an elegant glimpse into history and commonly blend well with the rustic, old-world, nature, or country aesthetic.

If you don’t possess authentic pieces aged by time, you can opt to “age” them manually. Through faux finishing methods, you can give your furniture an antique look that realistically imitates weathered pieces. Giving your furniture an aged look can be achieved by following these steps.


Wearing your furniture down with sandpaper can give the most authentic antique look. Using a coarse grit paper, sand the surfaces that would most likely be worn out through time. Pay special attention to the chair seats, armrests, edges, and surfaces near drawer pulls.  Be sure to follow the grain.

Sanding also helps paint adhere to the surface. After sanding make sure to wipe the piece down completely. Only apply primer after sanding and wiping. This helps paint stick to the surface and also provides a better finish.

Simulate Wormholes, Scrapes, and Dents

Authentic antiques often have woodworm holes, scrapes, and dents. This effect can be achieved using regular household items. Holes can be reproduced using a drill with a small drill bit, an ice pick, a nail, or even a fork. For the distressed look, use a chisel to knock chips into the wood or slam an assortment of heavy objects onto it. Anything that makes an indentation will effectively age wooden pieces.

Paint and wax

Paint furniture using brush or spray. Black and brown are usually the preferred colors for antique furniture but you can also experiment on white, red, blue or just about any color that will complement the space the piece is going to live in. These colors will give a fresh and new look to your furniture and can really make it stand out.

Spread a thin coat of wax over the paint and allow it to set for an hour. Paint a faux finish glaze over the wax and repeat the process as necessary, until your desired effect. Let it dry for a day.

Sand, Again

Sand the furniture again to make the wood shine through. Emphasize on the edges and the details to give your furniture a distressed look. Finish with a crackle-medium, which creates the look of sun-crackled paint.

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Pets Rule,

Part Six

Thursday, 17th April 2014 No Comments »
Miss Violet posing in her Milo Baughman chair.

Now here is a glamorous dog!  You would think she was born with a silver bone in her mouth, but it’s really quite the opposite. Meet my second grand dog, Violet Buxbaum, a pit bull from the depths of Indiana that my daughter found on the Pet Finder website. Of course she asked me first if she should even adopt any dog other than a Shar-Pei, but from reading all my emails, everyone pretty much knows I give in too easily, especially when an animal is concerned.

At first I was taken back by the mere idea of a different dog in our family, much less the thought that my daughter was in love with a pit bull. Well it didn’t take long—about a minute passed, and we were in the car on a long ride to meet the canine who my daughter already named Violet.

We walked into the Animal Welfare League and Violet was at the door, acting as the meet and greet dog.  She was alarmingly a lot larger than she appeared in the copious amount of photos the shelter supplied to us. My daughter took her for a trial walk, but I knew they were meant for each other. With her cow-esque coloring and very feminine looks, I knew Violet would fit in to the new world she was about to be a part of.


“Wearing my purple bandana to show my support for anti bullying.”

Once we cleaned the pee stains off her tail, and recovered from a few ailments, she became the beauty my daughter always saw in her. She goes with her to work every morning and can be seen shopping at all the Gold Coast stores on the weekends. Her picture has been in many magazines, including Elle, Lonny and CS. Violet can also be found on many a blog.

Wherever she goes , she makes friends because that’s just the way she is—she’s most lovable dog I have ever met. Since Violet is in the design world, she has different taste in furniture than her Shar-Pei cousins. When she comes to the store she prefers our sleeker looking furniture. She loves high style and the color black.

Here are Violet’s picks.

#jr7639 – Vintage ’40s Brass and Black Glass Coffee Table


#j1478 – Original Ebonized Antique French Louis XVI Console Table w/ Drawer & Opaline Top


“I forgive them for not being black!”
#j1473 –Pair of Mid-Century Modern Mahogany Tables w/ Brass Legs & Drawer


“My mom’s design”
#opc41 – Hand Made Upholstered King Sized Bed with Bronze Feet


#opc76 –Custom Blackened Steel Industrial Style Commode with Bronze Casters


#opc72 – Custom French Mid Century Tufted Back Sofa with Gold Plated Feet



Hope you like my picks! Love, Violet

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How Antique Gilt Mirrors Are Made

Tuesday, 15th April 2014 1 Comment

Antique gilt mirrors are often considered collectibles and treasures because of the beauty they possess and the value they hold. Here is a look at how antique gilt mirrors are made.

Original Gilt Framed Antique French Sugared Mirror


Antique gilt mirrors are made with reflective glass and adorned with various materials as frames. Frames are made of hard and sturdy materials. Wood is one of the most used materials for antique mirror frames because they are easier to manipulate in terms of structure and design. Gold, silver, and other metals are also used for antique gilt mirrors because they provide a grand and sophisticated finish.


The process of gilding is considered an art form. This involves laying a whisper-thin layer of gold or other materials into a surface. Since it is a very thin and delicate layer, the process requires both technique and artistry to accomplish. The layer is applied into the surface with an adhesive. While gold is a very popular material for gilding because of its aesthetic quality and value, other metals can also be applied.


The designs used in antique gilt mirrors are reflective of the era they came from. The patterns such as floral or leaf carvings and how ornate the designs are represent the trends and preferences of their times.

Slender Rococo Style Gilt Framed Mirror

For example, a Gothic piece will have its characteristic topped with a pointed arch and elaborate carvings.  An antique mirror from the Georgian period will focus emphasis on symmetry and is shown in various pale colors. These applications and design influences are exhibited in the furniture here at Antiques on Old Plank Road.

Antique gilt mirrors often date as far back as the 12th century and is reflective (no pun intended) of the times and history of its era. Adding them to your favorite spaces is a great way to add depth and character to your household.

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Pets Rule

Part Five

Thursday, 10th April 2014 No Comments »


Meet Jake, our grand dog and assistant shop keeper to Charlie. The craziest looking and acting Shar-Pei ever. My daughter, (the photographer) sent me an email one day to buy her this dog that she found on the internet. Not having a strong record for saying no, the writing was on the wall. To O’Hare I went to pick up this very designer colored dog. There he was, beautiful I might add. Loads of wrinkles with a nose that matched his unusual fur color. Quite the handsome guy. But there was something different about him. He was cross eyed and drooled like a Saint Bernard.

The drooling, me his grandma, may never get over, especially when he is around silk. The eye problem, we thought would work itself out as he got older.

Now that he is seven, his eyes are still crossed and has a habit of walking into things. Jake has no idea what the world really looks like, but that’s just fine by him and us. He has crazy energy, and keeps Charlie on her toes. To Jake play time is all the time. He comes in the store every morning full of energy and leaves exhausted. Being part of the store and its operation is fun for him. His job is to watch and bark at every neighbor’s dog that walks by. The rest of his work description entails begging for food in the lunch room, and greeting customers with Charlie.

Jake is a toy guy. So his picks for furniture would definitely be storage. He carefully chose several chests and a few commodes. We think Jake Lucas has great taste!

“To make my mom happy – ‘out of sight but not mind'”

#j1141 – Antique French 17th C. Carved Coffer

“Nice wide drawers that can hold lots of toys”
#mon3048 – Antique French Directoire Cherry and Walnut Three-Drawer Commode
“A more casual look”

#crjb83 – Vintage American Tradesman's Trunk

“When I want to display my good toys”

#j1537a – Vintage French Directoire Ebonized Fruitwood China Cabinet or Vitrine

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English vs French Antique Furniture

Tuesday, 8th April 2014 No Comments »

One of the benefits of owning antique furniture is having a connection to the point of history which the piece was made from. Aside from its function as important daily objects and art works, furniture pieces tell a story of its life and times.

The styles, materials, and artistry of English and French furniture tell a story of the different eras. Here is a look at the two most coveted antique furniture origins.


French antique furniture did not begin as polished and ornamental as it is now. It drew its large and crude beginnings from Gothic influences. Over time, the style evolved to more decorative and elaborate pieces that show a combination of its different European influences as well as the distinct style of French craftsmanship.

In the 15th century, floral and animal-based patterns were added. Aside from the usual dark and bold colors, pastel colors were also included. Greek, Roman, and Italian design influences can also be seen.

Antique French Walnut Throne Chair

English antique furniture, on the other hand, lies in the combination of its functionality and elegance. For example, pieces from the Elizabethan period which are known for their strong and sturdy structure. Whether it is in the large four poster beds, chairs or any other piece, the quality and durability is shown through the pieces from this era.

Antique English Lady’s Slipper Chair

Another prominent era is the 17th century. The rise of the French King Louis the 14th has also spawned pieces that are still functional but also focused on furniture being works of art. This period gave way to pieces that featured elaborate gildings and extravagant engravings. In short, English antique furniture is characterized by its quality of being serviceable while also being elegantly ornamental.


French antique furniture is made with select materials. There is preference in durable wood such as oak, ebony, and walnut. These are often carved, engraved, and adorned with gold, bronze, and other metals. As for color, gold is considered a sign of opulence and became one of the most popular hues for paint. These materials gave French antique furniture its characteristically rich and extravagant appearance.

Antique French Center Hall Table with Marble Top

It is for the traditional English oak that we still have the majority of English antique furniture which we have today. Most of the pieces from the earlier eras were made of English wood because of the material’s impressive durability. In the late 18th century, mahogany, teak, walnut, and cherry were being introduced as popular materials for English furniture because of its fine qualities.

17th Century Antique English Oak Stool w/ Carved Aprons & Stretchers

The common ground for all eras of both French and English furniture is its successful combination of functionality and style. This principle is seen across all eras and is still being followed by modern artisans today.

We at Antiques on Old Plank Road can show you the finest strengths of both antique origins. We have high quality pieces that can last many lifetimes and add depth and character to any space you add it in.

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