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Arts & Antiques by Dr. Lori – Decorating with Family Heirlooms

Ironstone mixing bowl in foyer atop repurposed chest.

Ironstone mixing bowl in foyer atop repurposed chest.

By Lori Verderame

Let Them Make A Statement

An abundance of home makeover TV shows and blogs exist about redecorating, redesigning and reconsidering the objects with which we live. Antiques and family heirlooms are front and center when it comes to innovative design. Here are some tips from my experience as a museum director and expert antiques appraiser that might prove fun and interesting.


Arrange Collections

Architect Mies van der Rohe was onto something when he said, “Less is More.” Even large collections can look organized if they are arranged well. Put antique collections together by size, material, color or texture to show both a collection’s similarities and differences. An organized collection shows that you have given some thought its arrangement.


The Front is Foremost

When you enter any room in your home, there is one wall that you focus on the most. This is the starting point for any design concept; in museums it is aptly named the confrontation wall. This wall shouts out for something important, big, colorful, bright or sexy. This is your statement wall. Put your best object right there with pride.

Family Friendly

If you have an object that has been handed down in the family over the years, consider designing a room around it. If you have your grandmother’s Regina music box dating back to the early 1900s, feature it proudly where everyone can admire it. Is that antique parlor chair from the Victorian period or cut glass punch bowl looking for a new space to show its stuff? Take it out of the living room where it may get lost in the array of other furnishings and make it the featured antique object in a guest room, powder room or foyer.

Feature a single antique object with family significance, like grandma’s 19th century ironstone mixing bowl, in a prominent area of your home. Use objects to let your family history shine. Talk about the origin of these special old pieces and let your history speak through heirloom objects throughout your home. For instance, I have my father’s war medals proudly displayed in my home library along with World War II literature and military scrapbooks.


Fall Home and Garden in The Woodlands

Bring Your Item
To Be Valued and

Get One Free Appraisal! 


August 13-14

at the Woodlands
Waterway Marriott Hotel
and Convention Center

The 14th annual Fall Home & Garden Show welcomes the return of the always-popular Dr. Lori Verderame. Dr. Lori will be on-hand both days of the show to provide one free appraisal – complete with her comedic twist – to each of those in attendance who bring an item for her identification and valuation. Come and find out the true value of that vase or painting or jewelry item you’ve always wondered about!

At some of her previous appearances at the Home & Garden show in The Woodlands, Dr. Lori says she identified these antique “finds”:


  • Spanish Colonial illuminated manuscript from the 1500s
  • a rare Civil War battlefield quilt from a wounded soldier
  • Mary Cassatt Impressionist pastel drawing
  • a collection of West African totem sculpture
  • Silver and turquoise antique Native American jewelry
  • an authentic Tiffany table lamp
  • an authentic desk set made by the famous Arts & Crafts artist guild of New York, the Roycrofters


The show will be held Aug. 13-14 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center at 1601 Lake Robbins Drive.

Show admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free for children 12 and younger. For more show information, call 832-274-3944 or visit WoodlandsShows.com, where a downloadable discount coupon for $1 off admission is available.

Arts & Antiques by Dr. Lori –  Decorating with Family Heirlooms

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