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BOLD & GOLD: Part 1

Neoclassic parcel gilt mirror, late 18th century

We opened a new location in LA in 1989. It was an abundant time.

And that time had a scale. Remember? Oversized glitter balls and disco, hyper-pleated trousers, shoulder pads to the sky… Are you giggling? We are, too. And the influencers of that time. Remember Dallas? The small screen was all gold, and what we saw in those homes was sought after. With a fierceness. The gold was shiny, and the aquanet was strong.

JR Ewing-forbid if you had this enormous linen press or side board that was beautiful mahogany with carved details, but without gilt. No fear! The moment pieces were “refreshed”, and gold was added to the details, they would sell immediately. Amongst ourselves and within the company, we came up with that tag line of “Bold and Gold” because the sales simply proved that if you had a piece that was over the top and had gold on it, it would sell. Bold and Gold was real, and it was the lexicon of the wealthy.

Bold and Gold was also responsible for the revival of Baroque in the 80's. If it was original (or even “refreshed”) gold, it was quickly claimed by the most discerning clients. In fact, for the antiques themselves, it was a great time. It didn't matter if they were Italian, Portuguese, or German. As long as there was gold, they'd be swooped up into a new luxurious home. Rooms went from being impressed by time period and locale to glimmering collections of new wealth.

As we know, everything is cyclical. We had just come out of a period when all could sell were Neoclassic pieces. Everything was clean and simple. Still old, but dating to the end of the 18th century. We were bringing in furniture from Scandinavia (and remember, that was tough back then!), and the shiniest we got was a bit of polished brass. Then, we moved away from the post-60's dark ages, and landed in the sparkling oil fields of Texas, vacationing with the sunsets of the Pacific, and a new wealth under Regan. Our Neoclassic beauties were suddenly upstaged by mirrors on steroids.

And then the fakes ushered in. It was quite ghastly - and quality was forfeited for shine. Sound familiar? Even the homes felt as if they were made only of sheet rock. The roots of design were challenged for what might have been the first time. Since then, it's been a curious mash with cross sections of originals, quality reproductions, and new design.

So, what's happening now? We are starting to see a maximalist moment again, but in a different way. Where once there were rooms entirely made of golden mirrors and side boards (think all of Versailles jammed into one sunken suburban living room), now we have focal point pieces. A wonderful 17th century mirror that speaks to being a mirror and holding reflection for hundreds of years (not easy!) over a very simple clean-line piece of furniture with straight legs, for example. Or maybe, two different periods of chairs, connected by a mid-century painting. This new mix feels fresh. It feels more meaningful. Refined.

In a world that seems out of balance, it seems as if design has found some of that elusive equilibrium, and come into perspective. A reflection again, of where we are now, in this great cycle of design. We are starting to see pieces for what they are: furniture as art. These pieces have transitioned from an over-the-top experience into a more thoughtful place where we can appreciate and build relationships with them again.

When it comes to bold and gold, our header mirror is one that stands alone. This Italian Neoclassic parcel gilt mirror (late 18th century) is it so beautiful, and to keep it in alignment with what we are talking about, how wonderful will it be when paired with this 1930's French mahogany table?

That's what we thought. The stunning golden curls of this Italian hand-carved gilt with the original mirror, positioned above this hefty and long (78.5"!) plank piece by Pierre Jeanneret (you might have heard us talk about this one about a year ago- it still steals our hearts) is a fine example of the contemporary mix.

Jeanneret was a Swiss architect who collaborated with his more-famous cousin, Charles Edouard Jeanneret (who assumed the pseudonym Le Corbusier) for about 20 years. They worked famously together to plan and build the Indian city of Chandigarh later on.

It's the selection and juxtaposition that we are after these days. The unexpected somehow draws a thread through time in a way that allows for a newly refined moment.

Won't you join us?


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