Sunday, October 23, 2011

New England Finery at the Antique Show

The New England Finery hosted space at
The Boston Antique Design Show & Sale

Last weekend was the Boston Antique Design Show & Sale at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. I was asked by the show producer, Marvin Getman, to design a 20 x 20 foot space to promote both New England Finery Magazine and the art of using antiques in interior design.

New England Finery Magazine
February 2011 p. 28 – 29

Location: The Steven’s Estate
Photographer: Elizabeth Wertz

My dining room gallery mixed traditional antiques with modern pieces. On the walls were large photographs taken from the pages of New England Finery Magazine. Next to each image, was a QR (quick response) code that when scanned into a smart phone would link directly to the photo on its page in the online issue. QR codes are being used in all sorts of marketing and advertising efforts these days, and I wanted to see what kind of response they would get. I will have to try it again at another show ... even I couldn’t get a good read off my vintage Blackberry, but visitors with the latest iPhones were able to instantly connect to New England Finery online without having to type the web address. It was pretty cool.

Carpet: First Oriental Rugs of Danvers
A set of 8 Mirage Chairs were borrowed from
Peterson Party Center in Winchester

The Mirage Chairs, a reproduction of the Kartell Victoria Ghost Chair designed by Phillipe Starck, were a BIG hit. Everyone had to touch them or sit on them (they are remarkably comfortable). I thought these would be a nice tie-in to the whole feeling of antiques having a sense of history that brings with them ghosts from the past. These see-through pieces seem to float when combined with the heavy wood furnishings of the antique world, keeping the designed space looking fresh and inviting instead of overly formal and imposing.

Transparent stacking chairs like these can be purchased through Peterson Party Center or check online (StackChairDepot,
AllModern, etc.) Prices range from around $100 for a reproduction, to around $330 for the Kartell version.

Tableware was borrowed from Peterson Party Center

When I was little, my parents ran a catering business – mostly weddings. My job was to place the silverware and occasionally be the coat girl. We always set the table the exact same way. When I was setting the table for the show, I stopped myself, and decided to mix it up. I decided to go with a non-conventional table setting. Traditional with a twist. Silverware was placed with two knives on the left, two forks on the right and the teaspoon on the saucer as if it had just been used. The rest of the silverware was put away. This got a lot of visitors talking! Some guests who were brought up with Emily Post and formal dinners were visibly upset and had to restrain themselves from, ahem, “rearranging. I gently tried to explain that it is okay to break the rules every now and then. Plus it is a fun way to get the conversation started – I certainly met some interesting people at the show this way : )

Vintage and antique pieces were borrowed from The Queen’s Vault in Wakefield, MA. They carry a blend of antiques, furnishings, decorative accessories and gift items at affordable prices. I discovered them when I was researching Cordani Shoes – which is right across the street – for issue one of New England Finery. A couple weeks before the show I stopped by and selected the items I needed to fill out my “curated space.

Settee available at The Queen’s Vault

While this wasn’t a painted furniture kind of show, I chose a couple of pieces in this style since our cover shot featured antiques mixed with white woodwork, which really captures that fresh take on tradition.

Corner chair from The Queen’s Vault

I had an inkjet copy of New England Finery on hand for visitors new to the magazine. For future events, I really should have some printed and bound through MagCloud, which is able to turn online magazines into traditional magazines. On my to-do list.

New England Finery Magazine
February 2011 p. 70 – 71
Designer: Rosanne Palazola
Photographer: Wynne & Mintz

Since I had to work with the existing dark cranberry carpet that was on the main floor of the auditorium – plus not the best interior lighting – I chose a sunny gold color for the walls (which is great behind dark woods) and then picked up the red, yellow and blue of the carpet in the rest of the space instead of fighting it.

Flower arrangement created by Laura Thomson Designs
Lynnfield, MA • 617-966-0161 •

One shopper wanted to buy my antique shoe forms that I found at Brimfield but they were just for display. Sorry!

Frank Hodge of F.D. Hodge Interiors, whose work was featured on the cover of our Autumn issue, was one of my first visitors on Saturday morning. He is talented, charming and SO funny! I have always loved his designed spaces at the York Decorator Show House ... I was thrilled to have him come visit me in my space for a change!

Michael J. Lee Photography

Check out New England Finery on facebook
to see who else came to visit.

And now for one last designer trick ...

Can you guess what makes the antique lace table covering unique? Look closely. One end is finished with a dropped hem, the other is straight across. Many people loved it and asked “how much? Along with the mahogany table (taken straight out of my dining room) the table covering was not for sale as it was from our personal collection. My mom found it at a yard sale years ago. It is actually a four-poster twin bed coverlet! That is the beauty of re-purposing antiques for use today. If you are shopping for antiques – whether at a tag sale or antique show – and discover something that you like, chances are good that you will find a special spot for it. And then you will have a “treasure hunt story of your own to tell.

SOLD: this pair of lamps from The Queen’s Vault
went home with one of the visitors to my space.

Thank you to everyone who helped me put this space together (it took a crew, and my family barely complained about not having a dining room table for two days) and special thanks goes to the dealers and designers who inspire others to celebrate antiques everyday.

What kind of antique treasures have you brought home lately?


  1. Wish I could have been there!! I love those Ghost Chairs and the turquoise wine glasses! And as usual, your sense of style shines through!

  2. I wish you could have been there, Rosanne, but I had to settle for just a photo of your space : )

    Kate, I loved the tableware, too. How nice it would be to dine like that everyday!


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