09/13/2011 05:33 pm ET | Updated Nov 13, 2011

From Novice to Tastemaker: Don't Be Afraid of Antiques

I live my life by the rule that anyone can do anything, regardless of your starting point. There is nothing you can't learn, nothing you can't do, if you are willing to put forth the effort. Fear, is always what holds people back. Nine out of ten people I come in contact with are living in homes they don't adore simply because they think they can't do it.

If you want to live in a home that makes you happy, isn't it worth it to take the time to find out what that is? You take the time to put on makeup, go to the gym, keep up do date on current events but you can't take the time to find your personal style? Come on! When I was 11 years old I was in a little town called Ahun in the middle of France with my mother and I bought my first antique for four francs. And so began my appreciation of all things old.

When I got older, I started reading books, visiting the Louvre and trolling garage sales in Miami on Sunday mornings. I learned a lot just by talking to people who were more knowledgeable than me. Being a young woman with an eager spirit can be a disarming and charming trait to otherwise uber-snobby antique sellers. I became fond of French porcelain, Cuban art and glass. But, I was always afraid my house would look like an old lady's house. Besides, I come from the school of thought that too much of anything is never a good look. If you know how to mix antiques and other styles together you can create spaces that truly highlight who you are and how you got there. It's not that hard.


If you have an old painting or a pair of antique lamps, don't be afraid to use them with a contemporary table. Maybe you have that old chair you got from Grandma, but the fabric is in some horrific pattern and shade. Find a good upholsterer and revamp it. One of the chicest look around is the use of modern fabric with antique furnishings. It's also considerably less expensive. Don't turn your nose up at the local Salvation Army or thrift shop. My most sophisticated antique peeps don't, nor should you, honey.

A contemporary sofa takes on a completely different look when you place interesting pillows on it. Custom made pillows don't have to break the bank. All you need is a contact who can sew and a piece of fabric. Don't be shy to ask the dry cleaner seamstress, really.


An easy way to get started in working vintage and antique pieces into your home are with accessories. They're less intimidating, less expensive and just plain easier to work with for any newbie. Start with pillows, lighting and little decorative accents. Only buy things you love, not just for the hell of it. Lose the mindset of filling up a room.. please!


Near where I live, there's a huge thrift shop that is 90% crap. I mean crap, the smelly thrift store kind which is the worst. But, on a good day you can score vintage Limoges, mid-century chairs and amazing books. The best part about these haunts is they often are unaware of the true value of items. if you have a keen eye, it's a treasure trove.


The internet has made buying (and selling) antiques a much more user friendly experience. You have so much more access, authenticity is readily verifiable and there are some serious scores just waiting to happen! 1stDibs is a popular one, as is One Kings Lane. Both offer a daily variety of fabulous pieces. One Kings Lane also offers Tastemaker Sales a few times a week where respected designers curate events for the subscribers. This week, my curation goes live and I couldn't be happier. 10 years ago I just liked walking the flea markets in San Telmo and Paris. I took that passion and ran with it and now I'm a Tastemaker on One Kings Lane. If you decide to venture out into the world of collecting antiques, don't be intimidated. Just buy what you love.

You are a fabulous curator in the making. I just know it.


Check your local TV listings for more of Courtney Cachet's style ideas and tips. You can catch her frequent appearances nationwide on TV, where she dishes out all the latest in home and lifestyle! Keep up with her on Facebook, and join the conversation!

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