Thursday, March 26, 2009

High End Victorian style on a low end budget

M ost of us who own and are restoring a Victorian era home dream of the day when it is done and we can actually live in it not "camp out". To actually have company come over and not be tripping over sawhorses and tool boxes.

The problem is that by the time you have restored that home, most people are broke! It always costs more than you budget and well decorating? Where is the money for that going to come from? It doesn't HAVE to be an expensive proposition to have that grand parlor. It does take some planning and a sharp eye to get those bargain pieces.

Take lighting. This exquisite chandelier is the "Best of the best". Period original Victorian lighting is prohibitively expensive. This chandelier cost 7500.00! It is a six arm chandelier probably originally gas and converted later on. It does have the finest of detailing and is a work of art as relates to Victorian era lighting. This is a Mansion Piece and because of its large size would likely look out of scale for a more modest residence. Certainly a piece that we all would covet but not terribly practical for most homeowners.
Contrast that with this reproduction chandelier based on an original design priced at 500.00, not much more than you would pay at say a Home Depot or Pottery barn for a "suburban track home' chandelier. It has a similar look to the original and paired with a nice ceiling medallion everyone will assume you spent thousands on it. This is a four up/four down light and represents that period when many homes had both Gas and electricity as a form of lighting.

Settees do not have to break the bank either!
This lovely (if not somewhat ratty) settee, attributed to Jelliff is priced at 4500.00 with one of the premier Antique dealers on the west coast. They will happily reupholster it for you for a few thousand! It is done by one of the premier furniture shops of its day and would have been a high end piece bought by someone with the financial means to have the best. The wood is walnut and the carvings are outstanding.
Contrast that, with this lovely gold upholstered Renaissance settee we bought FOR LESS THAN 300.00! at an Antique mall. Same high style look, nice walnut woodwork and useable upholstery for most Victorian decorating schemes. It is also button tufted on the seat back. Personally , I like this one better and so does my pocketbook!

Side Chairs:

Side chairs can often be a pricey proposition as well. For most Parlors you may need 2 or 3 of them to fill the space properly.This nice gentleman's side chair is on the market for 3500.00! It is attributed to Jelliff ( I am not so sure about that claim). It does have a nice needlepoint upholstery but that may be too limiting for many. It has a nice scale and it is large enough that you could actually sit in it. Though I doubt many of us would at 3500.00!
Contrast that with this Victorian Side chair, upholstered in a nice red color , It has a tufted back with nicely carved woodwork along eh crest and it has its original castors on it. We recently sold this chair to a client that was putting together a parlor set for 195.00! A point to consider, while many of us would love to own a six or seven piece parlor set you can take similar style pieces and if they have the same color upholstery you can pair them quite nicely.

On one hand we have HIGH END Parlor, where we would spend an incredible 15,500.00 for 3 key pieces, OR. the Budget where we spend LESS THAN 1000.00! We could go out an buy another "fixer' house for the 14,500.00 savings! So bringing together that Victorian look doesn't have to "break the bank". We offer a variety of period design services for the Victorian home buyer 'On a budget".


John W said...

The topmost sofa that you have pictured was made by M & H Schrenkeisen

Paul Wilham said...

Thanks for the Comment. As you are aware there may be more furniture "attributed" to Jelliff that the company ever manufactured! I can't tell you how many times I've seen things "misattributed", often by dealer who frankly should know better.