Genres of Antiques for Rustic Décor
The Adirondack Museum Antiques Show & Sale, held every fall in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, is a perfect place (in an inspiring setting) for rustic home owners to find the types of antiques they favor.
On the last morning of the show this year, I had a little time to shoot photos in many of the booths to gather images of the array of antiques for sale. This selection is not exhaustive of the categories of antiques that we and other dealers seek and sell for rustic homes, but it represents some of the typical offerings at this long-running show in the Adirondacks.
The antiques show is held outdoors on the Museum grounds, which presents challenges for setting up booths that are evocative of the upscale indoor spaces that are the ultimate destinations for many of the antiques. Despite the potential wet grass, uneven terrain, low light, rain, dew and (sometimes hurricane force) winds, customers who know what they like can see past the conditions and home in on individual objects that catch their eye. So here is a sampling of things that caught my eye as representing popular categories of rustic décor.
Landscape paintings are a natural fit for rustic homes that are nestled into their own beautiful surroundings. Paintings of lakes and mountains, whether depicting an identifiable local region or simply evocative of one, are understandably popular in the Adirondacks.
Prints and Posters
Plants and animals can look almost as appealing in ink on paper as they do in real life.
There are all kinds of vintage trade, cottage, and roadside signs at the show, ranging in age from the 1890s to the 1970s. Their creative and quirky presence is a refreshing respite from the standardized, too-good-to-be-real reproductions found in gift shops throughout the Adirondacks.
Snow shoes vary widely in age and style, whether hand-made or manufactured. Older Native American snow shoes especially have aesthetic appeal, and can also have high value depending on their rarity, decoration, condition and historic importance.
Paddles with colorful paint, as well as those with sculptural forms such as Native American and Adirondack guide boat paddles, can make a striking decorative statement hanging on interior walls.
The muted hues and stylized geometric and floral designs of antique oriental carpets make an elegant base layer to set off rustic furnishings.
Traditional Adirondack Great Camps always included Native American art within their décor, and Navajo rugs with crisp geometrics and simple color schemes continue to be popular floor coverings for rustic abodes.
Hickory furniture is always well represented at this antiques show as it typically forms the core furnishings of great rooms, bedrooms and porches of rustic homes in the Adirondacks and all across the country.
Arts & Crafts
There has been a long tradition of mixing Arts & Crafts/Mission furniture with rustic furniture in Adirondack Great Camps, so that style can usually be found among the offerings at the show.
Comfortable seating that harmonizes with lodge aesthetics, such as French leather club chairs and ottomans, are another furniture option for buyers.
Surprisingly, one of the least common forms of furniture at the show tends to be early, one-of-a-kind rustic pieces, such as this circa 1920s table by Adirondack craftsman Lee Fountain. Unique rustic pieces have never been as prevalent in the antiques market as manufactured rustic furniture, but even at this specialized show they are becoming increasingly rare.
Some wild animal lovers are as happy to live with the creatures’ inanimate but life-like forms indoors as they are to see the living beings in the outdoors, so antiques dealers aim to please them.
Black Forest animal carvings are a good alternative for people who love being reminded of animals, but prefer them to be smaller than life-size for displaying inside their homes.
Another style of carving done in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe and North America is notch carving, also known as tramp art. These accessories come in an amazing variety of forms including boxes and frames.
Colorful Indian-motif blankets add visual and tangible warmth to any room.
Hotel china decorated with the logos of old Adirondack resorts (including pieces that divers have retrieved from lake bottoms), as well as elegant porcelain accessories painted with nature themes, make stylish enhancements to rustic dining spaces.
Scaled-down versions of the full-sized components of rustic estates, such as boats and log cabins, have timeless appeal.
Fishing and Hunting Equipment
This category includes lures, reels, flies, creels and traps.
Ash splint pack baskets were the traditional carry-all for hikers, trappers, loggers and hermits in the Adirondacks and other northern regions. Outdoorsy types still use them as back packs, but they are now more commonly used for display.
Interior designers regard books as an important decorative element of rooms, but collectors value antique and vintage books for their substance as well. If you want to read about days-gone-by as well as live with the artifacts of those days, you can fill a library room or a single shelf with books about your local region, such as these rare Adirondack titles.
Although it is rewarding to exhibit at a show where people enthusiastically appreciate your aesthetic as a dealer, it is invariably the shoppers who have the most fun. Visitors to the Adirondack Museum Antiques Show have a once-a-year opportunity to make selections from each dealer’s specialty offerings, then put them all together in ways that bring personality, warmth, style and history into their own rustic homes.
Tags: rustic decor