Expert Advice: Downsizing a Collection

Victoriana aficionados share how they downsized their collections for a unit in a prewar building.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Custom shoji screens widen the dining room

Custom shoji screens widen the dining room, developing the theme (and blocking a bad view). A mah jongg table is the site of all meals.

Our previous homes have been Victorian period pieces. But when we downsized, the approach had to change. We decided to keep our 19th-century Chinese and Japanese collections, and sell everything else.

Pianos visually read Occidental, and ours was on display. Clearly, Japanese period decorating was out. We envisioned “Eclectic Oriental.” Our Meiji-era (1868–1912) pieces are timeless, as is the Japanese aesthetic. Multi-purpose chests (tansu) serve storage needs. Woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) and scrolls (kakejiku) decorate walls. Electrified oil lamps (andon) act as table lamps. Qing Dynasty chairs and tables fill in the blanks.

Muted antique tribal rugs work well with our furniture. By focusing on pieces that fit the space without fighting each other, we’re as comfortable now as when we lived in the Victorian past.

Bonus: Tour the author's previous home.

Related Articles

Products of the Week

mark-e-tub

Mark E Industries, Inc

GOOF PROOF SHOWER installations made easy. Mark E Industries manufactures products to simplify the art of shower and tile installations by focusing on some of the more difficult and time-consuming tasks.

chelsea

Chelsea Decorative Metal

Chelsea Decorative Metal is a manufacturer and supplier of tin ceiling tiles, cornices, moldings, friezes and copper sheets. Specialties include hand-painted faux finishes and stamped walls, back splashes, wainscoting, and ceilings.

crown point kitchen

Crown Point Cabinetry

Crown Point Cabinetry offers custom cabinets for period style kitchens, baths, offices, laundry rooms, home bars and more. Styles include Shaker, Arts & Crafts, Early American, Victorian and Transitional.