featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda to an Irish mother and British father. She’s lived in Germany and Austria and now resides in Wuthering Heights territory. She joins us today to share her love of decorating with antiques and tell us about her latest novel. Learn more about Helena at her website. 

Decorating with Antiques

Buying and selling antiques has become a popular pastime, and using antiques in your home is a great way to provide individual style.  Antiques are also more affordable than you might think.  Most antique shops don’t just stock the more valuable items such as Royal Worcester vases or seventeenth century oak furniture.  You will find an array of items covering a range of prices…and there’s nothing more fascinating than picking your way through the display!

Incorporating antiques into a modern home might seem like a contradiction in terms, but one or two vintage items of furniture can make a striking addition. If you are not keen on bringing in larger items, then a few vases, a bowl or an antique print can add interest.

It’s easy to get carried away in antique shops (or maybe that’s just me!), so to prevent your house looking like a mish-mash of styles, try to concentrate on your color scheme, or perhaps on one particular period whose style you love.

My terraced house in the north of England, for example, was built during the Victorian era, but I personally find the typical Victorian style a little too ornate and fussy.   The Victorians were great ones for frills and bows and tartan dresses, parlors cluttered with ornaments, and showy jewelry. 

The art nouveau period, at the turn of the twentieth century, swept away all these frills and furbelows, and it's a style I love.

Art nouveau is French for "new art."  It's hard to sum up in words what this new art meant, but I'll try!  To me, art nouveau is all about dramatic, curving lines with themes and colours taken from nature.  Sadly, the original stained glass windows in my house are long gone :( , but I have a replica which encapsulates the art nouveau style.

A stained glass window is one of the more pricey ways of incorporating your chosen style in your décor, but having the style you want needn’t cost a great deal.  For example, I picked up a cheap, battered wardrobe in an antique shop and covered it in a modern wallpaper.  It’s also possible to buy replica antiques, such as the replica lampshade which hangs in my hallway.

Buying antiques for your home is a great way to show your individual style.  And who knows…one day the piece you bought for a song might be worth a fortune :)

The heroine of my latest novel is a woman who knows all about the world of antiques, but maybe a little less about affairs of the heart…until she meets my gorgeous hero!

The Antique Love
One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book. Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realize it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…


margaret mendel said...

I love to go antique shop hopping!! Rummaging around in second hand stores is exciting and you never know what you will fine. I agree that a nicely position antique in a modern home, or even a traditional home makes a wonderful statement. Happy hunting!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Margaret, you're right, you never know what you might find! I think that's the excitement of antique shopping. All the objects are individual, and have a unique history. Thanks very much for your comment - glad you like antiques as much as I do!

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Helena, isn't it great when we can use something we really enjoy in our fiction? I also live in a Victorian house and it has almost no cupboards. Our antiques are necessary chests, bookcases and china cabinets. Fortunately the rooms are big enough to hold them. Anne Stenhouse

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great post, Helena - I love browsing in antiques shops and markets! Art Noveau is a great period.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne, your antique cupboards sound wonderful! And your home city of Edinburgh is full of a marvellous Victorian townhouses, and the perfect place to go antique hunting. I envy you!

Thanks for your comment, Ros. I love the clean lines of the art nouveau period. And what a turning point in history. Thanks for coming by!

Heather Brainerd said...

Lovely post, Helena. I love art nouveau. One of my favorite antique store finds was an emerald ring in that style. My husband and I were on a romantic getaway, I tried on the ring and fell in love, but was too frugal to buy it. After we returned home, my husband secretly arranged to have the ring shipped to us and surprised me with it on our anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Heather, what a lovely story! I love antique rings, and emeralds are my favourite stone. How romantic - thanks for sharing the story!

Marsha said...

How fun to find you here at Lois's site! Lovely post, Helena. I've actually got a couple of pieces we found at antique stores. Never would've done it until I started watching HGTV and learned everything doesn't have to be matchy-matchy! LOL Your books are lovely, too!

Helena Fairfax said...

Hi Marsha, It's lovely to see you here too! My house is defnitely matchy-matchy. I've collected too much "stuff" over the years for that! But I guess that's waht makes a home. Thanks so much for coming by, Marsha, and for your comment

Susan Bernhardt said...

Great post, Helena. I used to live in antique shops! :) Love the Rennie Mackintosh style window in the blog or is it the real thing. It looks like the real thing. Fun blog!

Susan Bernhardt
The Ginseng Conspiracy coming 1/14

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks, Susan! It's not a real Mackintosh window sadly (I wish!), just a replica. Glad to know there's someone who loves antiques as much as I do. Thanks for coming by!