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Décor Can Serve as a Valuable Memory Book for Your House

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By Bill Primavera

There is a Chippendale-style settee in my living room which serves not only as a comfortable place to plop down, but also as a vivid reminder of the day I walked over to the old B. Altman’s (Remember that wonderful store?) in Manhattan during my lunch hour to buy it. 

More than that, it reminds me as the defining event which officially started a warm friendship that developed into the love of my life, with my wife. She was the co-worker whom I invited to join me in my quest to furnish my bachelor pad in a way to impress.

Obviously, my choice did impress my future wife, considering that we eventually became engaged, married and we’re still living with that same settee, although it’s been restored to address the wear and tear of the years. At any rate, I can never look at that settee without thinking about that fateful purchase that brought us together.

Actually, everything with which we surround ourselves serves to document a certain period or memory in our lives, whether or not we intend it to. Our décor indeed can be a personal diary without that being our original plan.

I have an antique corner chair and whenever I look at it, I see myself from a photograph taken as a young father, sitting in that chair, holding my one-year-old daughter in my lap. And, I have a large round coffee table, which my wife and I, not having a car in the city, carried a good number of blocks to get home. 

I also remember that when my daughter was three years old, she fell and hit her head on the edge of that table, and my wife and I panicked as we called for the emergency attention of a doctor who in those days could make house visits.

As a realtor, I am often asked by home buyers and sellers about the kinds of furnishings and décor to better enhance their homes. I am always flattered that they would regard my opinion or taste that highly. I try to make recommendations that have some teeth in them, ideas that will last over time.

The world of home décor has changed dramatically since I furnished my first bachelor pad, and young people today have a different template to follow. When I was young, America was in the throes of the Bicentennial celebration. Everybody was flocking to antiques shops to approximate how our homes looked 200 years prior to that event. Today, young homeowners couldn’t give a hoot for relics of the past in creating their home environments. There’s nothing wrong with that, other than putting all the antiques shops I used to frequent, including my own, out of business.

Most trends are cyclical, but I don’t know about a return to the appreciation of furnishings and décor of the past.

Also, because of my vocation as a realtor, I see a lot of home interiors and it seems that contemporary interiors are going to be around for a while and antiques don’t seem poised for a comeback. And that’s sad, in my opinion.  For me, there is a certain pleasure in utilizing furniture and décor that has been enjoyed by others before me. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

I remember that when I had my historic home on the market, built in 1734, a woman stopped by at my open house. Because I had totally renovated the place, there was no indication of how old it was, but when this woman was told when it was built, she dropped the listing sheet as though it would burn her hand and left without proceeding further. 

A home built by our forefathers is infinitely more solid than construction today, so long as the systems are updated. But to each his or her own.

Bill Primavera is a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest-running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com). To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.



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