A surprising new look in home furnishings – on display in a crop of new stores in New York – is emerging this season, and it’s light-years away from the bare-bones modern of recent years. Call it 18th-century Euro-American Mod.
:The most exciting rooms mix 18th-century French with midcentury American modern,” said Jeffrey Bilhuber, the New York decorator. “Just think of a Karl Springer lizard-covered table next to an 18th-century French bergere. Now that’s chic.”
For years savvy Americans have crossed the Atlantic to comb the flea markets and elegant boutiques of Paris and London for antique chaise longues and the like. Now the European vendors have some here, eliminating the hassle of overseas delivery.
Herve Katz, who runs a family business in the famous Clignancourt flea market in Paris, has opened a branch, Lavalier, in TriBeCa. Later this month he expects a shipment of 130 dining chairs from the Ritz Hotel in Paris “in the Louis-Philippe stlye of the 19th century.”
Although the American home furnishings industry may be experiencing a downturn, there is apparently still a market in New York for antiques with a pedigree – even among the young consumers. “I have clients in their late 20’s and 30’s who are suddenly besotted by 18th-century French furniture,” Mr. Bilhuber said. He described his style of the moment as “Louis XVI-Jansen-Chippendale-a-go-go.”
The new stores are stocking 20th-century European furnishings, too, advising customers to mix them with everything from Louis XV to English Regency. In the area “I think of the Lower East Dide as an emerging neighborhood,” said Todd Merrill, who opened his shop there this summer. The inventory is one-third American. It includes a 19th-century French walnut secretary, $8,500; four French neoclassical walnut chairs, circa 1820, $12,000 for the set; and two 1960’s club chairs (foreground), $4,800. Todd Merrill, 100 Stantin Street (Ludlow Street) or www.merrillantiques.com.