Gift Giving Season: Try Antiques

Beautiful French vignette. The settee was covered in a gorgeous yellow linen. I may be going back for this!

I always have my daughters fill out a little list of things they would like for Christmas every year. When they were little, we would take them to stores like FAO Shwarz and HearthSong and watch their faces light up with wonder. Things are a little different now. That kind of magic is fading to a degree, and I am apparently less equipped to surprise them, at least in a "good" way. Their lists have becomes much more specific of late. It can't be a white t-shirt from Target. It must be the V-neck "perfect t-shirt" from the Gap. And I have pretty much been banished from getting any "surprise" clothing. (And I thought I was one of the "cool" Mom's who had a handle on what kids were wearing.)

So this is my dilemma. What can I get them that they will remember and care about. An iTunes card is fine, but not a memory builder kind of thing. They are becoming young women with tastes of their own. They are well aware of the economic hardships we and others are facing this year and are very thoughtful about that. They are asking for a few necessities and a couple of books and some theater tickets. And we will be adopting a family this year from the Sunburst Project. But what is Christmas without some surprises?!

The girls are getting to an age where they think about their rooms and how to decorate them the way they want to. I was thinking that perhaps it is time to get them things that will stand the test of time. Things they can take with them into the world to feather their own nests.

Sienna Antiques

Last week I took you on a little tour of Chelsea Antiques, a wonderful shop in Petaluma, California. I had gone with my Mother to see her friends from the shop. We also had a chance to visit Sienna Antiques, which is right across the street. At the time, I was not thinking about Christmas. (One holiday at a time please! )But I have started to think about antiques as a perfect way to give my girls gifts that are more than the expected items on their lists. Antiques can be so much more: they can be stories and memories, they can be something worthy of carrying with them into their lives.

Spectacular Stained glass window. Couldn't you see this in a loft space?! And the settee and leather chest were very handsome.

I suppose in the past, young women built up a "Hope Chest". That sounds so crazy old-fashioned doesn't it?! Maybe the idea just needs a new name. (If you come up with one, I'd love to hear it! )

This dealer had so much to love in a tiny space: Vintage leather chaise with mattress ticking cushions, monumental concrete lamp, copper tub (!), and leather chairs....all wonderful.

So....what could I start putting together for them that is portable, useful now and in the future, and classic enough to translate into many different styles? Right off the bat, I come up with silver candlestick holders, decorative boxes, and plant containers. Perhaps mirrors or wall sconces would work as well.

The staircase is even used for display. The combination of the gilt mirror and concrete troughs...perfect!

But I am not just thinking about my daughters here. A gift from an Antiques shop may well suit almost everyone on your list. It will always be something no one else can give, and it can many times work double duty for you. For example, there are beautiful trays that can hold glasses for you bar, or accessories for a coffee table, or perfume bottles on a make-up vanity. There are mirrors that can be used in a plethora of different situations. There are pots that can hold an orchid or wooden spoons in your kitchen. I am thinking that a weathered metal box like the one in the photo below might be the perfect bread box I have been looking for. Imagination is all you need.

Industrial chic metal boxes paired with Empire styled mirrors and a silver patina dresser.

Pretty settee with garden gate as art. Love the sconces!

In going through the photos of the vignettes at Sienna, I was thrilled to see how things were displayed in ways that were not immediately expected. Case in point: the garden gate above is being used as a room divider and "art" above the sofa. Below you can find Streetlamp glass globes used as accessories. I can also see that they might make wonderful lamp bases.

Streetlamp Globes paired with Asian ans seafaring inspired decor.

I think many of us feel the pressure to go to a mall to buy gifts, like it is the "go-to" shopping experience of the season. I don't know about you, but the anticipation of the crowds, non-existent parking and the mass market homogeny of it all just knocks the seasonal joy right out of me.

The colors are what drew me into this space. So different that the other spaces with the graphic Zebra art, vibrant rug and bright fuchsia pink walls.

Time to cut the ties and try a new kind of shopping. Sienna Antiques is a grouping of individual antique dealers sharing the same space. But that is where it's similarity to a "mall" ends. There are three floors of personal magic here. Each object was picked with care and is wholly unique. And the styling is just beautifully done by each dealer. Each space has it's own distinct personality.

I wanted to just sit and have tea in this charming room with it's Empire marble topped table and white and gilt chairs.

Boat model with it's own trailer. So very cool for a beach house!

This rolling table is so, so cool! And column fragments always work. Lots of Ironstone here.

These religious plaques would make a great wall grouping

LOVE these lamps!

More Ironstone on a beautiful green metal table

Great grouping of objects: bamboo chaises, chest of drawers, and I love the pagoda candle holders

Beautiful colors: apple green walls, marine blue chaise cushions, the cobalt blue elephant, turquoise pots and moss green fish.

I thought the unexpected periwinkle blue chair perfected this otherwise traditional vignette.

Lots of collectibles here, and one dealer specializes in all things wine related.

Using the gates on either side of this huge mirror - loved it! Again, this periwinkle blue cabinet freshens it up.

The candelabras here on the table and the carved chest were beautiful, and I loved the green inside the black shelves. And the capitals on top of the shelves, great idea!

I hope you all have a chance to get out and try a different approach this year. I'll let you know how it goes for me! It might be a little too soon for a couple of teenagers to appreciate, but a mother can always hope!

Sienna Antiques, Open Daily 10-5:30

119 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA 94952