Blending Classic Design with Modern Interiors  

Blending Classic Design with Modern Interiors

Blending Classic Design with Modern Interiors: a 2017 Design Trend Showcased in Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' January Auction

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ January 24-25 auction offers more than 700 lots of classic design for the informed buyer ahead of the design curve. The sale’s variety, edited for quality and heavy on French and Italian influence, includes objects from the affordable to the unusual that highlight centuries of human ingenuity.


The AD100 2017 list released in Architectural Digest’s February issue shows that after nearly a decade of pervasive stark, white rooms, trendsetters are newly interested in classical design, this time with surprising twists. One of the year’s honorees, designer Jean-Louis Deniot, was quoted as saying, “high-voltage French style – think Régence chests showcased against stainless-steel walls and a backlit floor” are the next big thing.


Head-turning French furniture is abundant in Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ January auction. A pair of immaculate walnut bergères with orange silk upholstery (estimated at $800 – 1,200) would anchor any modern room. A Louis XVI commode with a gray marble top and dizzying zig-zag marquetry (estimated at $3,000 – 5,000), a Louis XVI side table with a magnificent and rare brocatelle d’espagne marble top (estimated at $4,000 – 6,000), or a conversation-making Empire chair with imposing Sphinxes (estimated at $800 – 1,200), would likewise electrify a high-concept home.

Walnut Bergere

A Pair of Louis XV Style Walnut Bergeres

Late 19th century

Presale estimate $800 – 1,200

Louis XVI Commode

A Louis XVI Gilt Bronze Mounted Parquetry Commode, 18th century

Presale estimate $3,000 – 5,000

Empire Chair

An Empire Mahogany Bergere, 19th century

Presale estimate $800 – 1,200

“Design publications have touted contemporary furniture and minimal interiors for many years now. The trend is slowly but definitely moving toward comfortable, modern interiors that also include interesting, historic furniture,” said Corbin Horn, Head of Sale. “The universe likes equilibrium; a contemporary sofa’s impact is actually made stronger by the balance of having it next to an Italian Baroque commode.”


Hip rooms find new ways to use historic objects for contemporary living. In the upcoming auction, a dazzling marble mosaic, lacking provenance but probably Roman, is re-made into a cocktail table with iron legs (estimated at $5,000 – 7,000).


Classical forms strike a luxurious pose in newly-built homes today. A generation of buyers who are outfitting a home for the first time have matured beyond wanting the ubiquitous molded wood and leather lounge chair, and they are ready for objects that imbue their surroundings with personality. Designer Richard Keith Langham, in dialogue with Architectural Digest, said “rooms should be comfortable, layered, and appointed with furnishings and details that acknowledge the past, albeit with a fresh and clear approach.”

Mosaic Cocktail Table

A Mosaic Inset Low Table

Presale estimate $5,000 – 7,000

Console Table

A Syrian Parquetry and Mother-of-Pearl Inlaid Console Table

Late 19th century

Presale estimate $600 – 800

Italian Ebony Chest of Drawers

An Italian Ebony Chest of Drawers

17th/18th century

Presale estimate $3,000 – 5,000

That ‘fresh and clear approach’ is accomplished with modern colors, lighting and textiles, emphasizing functional forms that have already lasted generations. “Classicism is alluring. It’s instinctual, but many don’t realize they have the instinct. A painting of a mysterious capriccio or an outstanding marble sculpture gets one’s attention, even if the beholder is a modernist,” says Corbin Horn.


The Fine Furniture, Decorative Arts and Silver auction also includes over 100 lots of timeless English furniture and decorative arts, rugs and tapestries, unique silver and objects of vertu. The preview for the January 24-25 auction opens Friday, January 20 in Chicago.

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