The continuing popularity of Old World style is about more than just antiques and Europhilia. What makes this aesthetic so appealing is its underlying spirit of fine craftsmanship, dedicated artistry, and high-quality materials. We love European antiques not merely because they are old and beautiful but because they represent a time when artisans were committed to rendering even the most utilitarian of objects as works of art. In today’s modern, sped-up world, we tend to sacrifice much of this quality in favor of affordability and availability. True quality takes time, but I believe unique custom features are worth the extra effort.
When designing a space that calls for that timeless, Continental aura, many designers go straight to the antiques. My approach, on the other hand, is to honor the same spirit that inspired the artisans of long ago by commissioning custom creations from modern craftspeople who bring a high level of devotion to their work. We’re fortunate here in New Mexico to have a number of such people, many of them the product of several generations of woodworkers, furniture makers, stoneworkers, and tile artists. With the help of their talents, I’m able to design furnishings and architectural elements that capture the warm, traditional ambience of stately European homes or rustic country retreats while introducing contemporary sensibilities.
I use the same time-honored materials that the workers of old employed—wood, stone, tile, and glass—and incorporate many of the features that characterized their work: arches, columns, intricate floor designs, beamed ceilings. These I enhance via carved wooden insets, painted panels, distinctive doors, and furniture that’s perfectly scaled to the rooms’ proportions. This doesn’t preclude introducing the occasional fine antique, of course, and often a particular piece of antiquity can serve as a focal point for the overall design. The rest of the features can then be designed to complement it, providing new ideas that are faithful to the older idiom.
Whether inspired by a Tuscan villa or a Spanish Colonial hacienda, I build on the essence of the style to create something new rather than merely reproduce the old. In this way I construct for my clients a tradition that is uniquely theirs, one that reflects today while becoming tomorrow’s heirloom.