Confessions of a Miximalista Ahead of Bath Decorative

26 February 2024 | Conscious Home, Events, Interviews

Mirror – midcentury, Swedish sofa – 1880s, pendant light – 1980s. I am fond of an interior design remix, but getting it right can be tricky, so I called upon experts dealing in everything from architectural antiques to vintage, textiles and art to help master miximalism ready to source at Bath Decorative Antiques Fair in March.

Lessons in miximalism from Bath Decorative exhibitor Mary Hossack Antiques

Often, dressing a home comes down to confidence because if you check-listed elements from your favourite eclectic rooms, it wouldn’t necessarily leave you with a blueprint to replicate. That’s why miximalism invites a creative approach and less trends aka rules or period aficionados. Following one style could lead to a museum, advises Andrew of Kore Purchase: “In saying that if it makes them happy, why not? But when you mix, it becomes exciting.”

Gerard of The Bath Chap adds, “When I first dealt, the fashion was to have a set look, either Georgian, shabby chateau or art deco, etc, and people would sneer at anyone who wasn’t true to the look.” Today’s design attitude is less about a look and more about what makes your space more you. 

Bath Decorative Antiques exhibitor Galerie Arabesque antique textile

Antique textile from Galerie Arabesque

Sometimes, finding out what “you” is takes some experience, so catching up with some Bath Decorative exhibitors while out and about or reflecting on their greatest mixes helped me pull together some principles to make it easier. 

Here’s what we came up with on how to wield miximalism. 

What mixes well? 

French stone fireplace reclaimed from a Bordeaux wine property from Wharton Antiques

“As someone selling French and Italian fires in the UK, that’s the starting point!” says Simon of Wharton Antiques. Chatting in between fairs in France, Simon’s advice was brief but a perfect beginning. Introducing more permanent fixtures, such as fireplaces or tiles sourced from elsewhere, can anchor the room with an intriguing cultural mix.

Take Delft tiles from the Netherlands, with elaborately painted everyday scenes – Delft tiles themselves are a lesson in minimalism. Viewing them up close, individually, you are drawn into a vignette of life in action, each piece stands alone, but as you stand back, the glimmer of the handprinted glaze across a whole tiled surface creates a mood of tranquillity. 

Galerie Arabesque collection and antique Delft tiles

Collection from Galerie Arabesque including antique Delft tiles

Ulrike of Galerie Arabesque, based in Germany, will bring antique Delft tiles to the Bath fair, along with ancient textiles, antique rugs, sculptures and other artefacts. She is excited by the design mix that local visitors will create in Georgian homes in the area with some of the 18th-century French pieces she will be showing. 

Galerie Arabesque’s collection mixes fantasy and practicality, which resonated well with me because my favourite rooms combine a mix of both. At the moment, I am renovating my kitchen, which must lean heavily on practical design yet also be inspiring as the room where a lot of modern life is conducted. Balancing the need to create areas to work, eat, play, I enjoyed delving into Julianne’s kitchenalia at Coach House Brocante. “For me, French Ironstone pieces from the late 1800s have a beautiful, timeless design which makes a statement in any home, whether modern, minimal or classic style.”

Coach House Brocante and French Ironstone ready to exhibit at Bath Decorative

Julianne of Coach House Brocante sourcing & her collection of French Ironstone

Other mix-wells from Coach House Brocante include French monogrammed tea towels or torchons. I’ve been lucky enough to find linens with my initials, but I have also bought some with seemingly random initials (to me) that I love equally for the quality of the fabric and classic design. 

Greatest interior design mixes

Miximalism at Ludgate House Antiques

Collection from Ludgate House Antiques

“These days, almost anything goes,” says Nicki of Ludgate House Antiques. Fresh from sourcing pieces for a customer’s kitchen, Nicki tells me it’s a real mix and looks fantastic for it. “From the French carpenter’s bench (with vice) for a kitchen island to a pine housekeeper’s cupboard, large painted mirrors to a more modern cast iron baker’s rack. It’s all freestanding, so she can move it about if needed.”

She elaborates that today “You can mix beautiful Georgian furniture with chippy paint pieces, and it looks great.” Some antique pieces go in and out of fashion; however, Nicki advises that a good Georgian piece is always a winner. 

Sometimes you have to risk it for a biscuit

The Bath Chap on Miximalism

My Biscuits painting from The Bath Chap’s personal collection & a vintage lamp, which is available to buy

Gerard of The Bath Chap, gives new meaning to the phrase ‘sometimes you have to risk it for a biscuit’- I like it in this context because miximalism adds an exciting element of risk. “Many years ago, I had a Marcel Breuer Cesca chair with no back, so I stuck on an ornately carved Jacobean oak chair back in its place. It probably broke every accepted style rule, but it made people smile!” he remembers.

Among all of the storied pieces that have come into their collections, sourcing unique pieces for everything from hotels to private homes, special pairings are remembered. 

“Looking back, a marvellous painted cupboard c1840 sat so well with a pair of – one each side – 1950s wrought iron chairs. It worked.” – Andrew, Kore Purchase

“Favourite pairings include a De Coene brothers Brutalist Credenza with a gently observed sculpture of a cow from around 1860. Something about the mix of eras and materials worked so well.” – Mary, Mary Hossack Antiques 

And with that pleasing contrast in works of craftsmanship, Mary starts our final tips for miximalist you-ness: “Think about the balance of a room. Once you start collecting things that you love, you notice the common threads that pull things together. It could be the shape, the colour palette or the visual weight of something. You are injecting your personality into the space.”

Pieces that caught my eye from Kore Purchase on Instagram

“Do not be afraid; try it out; move furniture around; it will find its place. Then add details, paintings, objects; the eye will tell you if it works. Start big (furniture).” – Andrew, Kore Purchase

“Try to buy the best/biggest/smallest/tattiest or smartest of whatever it is. If everything is worthy of comment on its own, it’ll work alongside the rest.” – Gerard, The Bath Chap

The Bath Chap antique furniture in Bath

Get excited about antiques & the city’s architecture with the mix on The Bath Chap’s Instagram

See the complete list of exhibitors and get complimentary tickets via the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair website.

Dates: 15-16 March 2024
Preview: Thursday 14 March

Venue: The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU


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