By Christina Clagg Reyes | Photography by Emily Brashier
There is no question, Roslyn Cooke knows her antiques—especially, those deriving from Europe. After all, she’s been “jumping the pond” for 17 years to handpick treasures and bring them back to Edmond. Two years ago, after selling antiques for 20 years at a local shop, she decided to open her own store. She named it Lavender Antiques, after the beautiful lavender fields in Provence.
Between shopping trips to Europe and sifting through recent finds (she’s expecting a new shipment from France May 1), Cooke recently sat down to answer our burning questions about the art of antique shopping and decorating.
SPLURGE! Why do you like decorating with European antiques?
Cooke: When you place European antique furniture and accessories in your home, you create a warm, unique, one-of-a-kind space that no one can duplicate. The pieces were crafted by hand, usually contain much detail, and their beautifully aged patinas blend perfectly with other antiques and contemporary pieces.
European antiques tell quite a story. They are 100, 200 or more years old and have most likely been passed down through generations. You continue their story by placing them in your home. My dear friend, Gina Sewell, believes that the number one appeal of European antiques is the unique factor. These items were not mass-produced. Most were handcrafted by individuals or small companies. Whether the piece is fine or rustic, it is captivating that people at various skill levels obtained the materials, utilized hand tools, and built it for their own or their family’s use. Often they were local crafters who built pieces to varying customer’s specifications.
SPLURGE! Where do you shop for antiques, and what do you look for?
Cooke: My favorite places to shop for antiques are southern France, Paris and the English Cotswolds. Atlanta and Dallas have great dealers also.
I look for good quality European antique furniture and accessories with interesting detail and patina that could be placed in almost any room in a home.
SPLURGE! How do you know if something is worth the price?
Cooke: You can go online and see what other dealers are selling similar items for. To me, a lot depends on how much I love the piece, how much I am willing to pay, and how well it will fit in my home.
SPLURGE! Describe some of your favorite pieces.
Cooke: I love antique walnut French commodes, trumeau mirrors, pottery and garden antiques from southern France, and old Italian giltwood candlesticks and architectural fragments.
SPLURGE! What made you fall in love with European antiques?
Cooke: I fell in love with European antiques when we built our home. I loved the old world European look and had a fabulous designer who taught me to appreciate the old pieces and architecture.
SPLURGE! Describe Lavender Antiques and tell us what makes it different from other antique shops.
Cooke: Lavender is stocked with European furniture, accessories, mirrors, wall art, garden items, chandeliers and lamps from France, Italy and England. We also carry lines of contemporary lamps, candles, coffee table books, florals and other gift items. I handpick each and every piece and try to learn any history that I can.
SPLURGE! What do you love the most about antiques?
Cooke: I love the craftsmanship and the attention to detail. I like the idea that no one else has the exact same piece, and you can tailor your home to your own personal style. Antiques add warmth and charm to the home. A good quality European antique withstands the tests of time and design trends. You don’t feel the need to change them, maybe only update upholstery fabric or add new pillows.
SPLURGE! You are known for your custom-made lamps. Please tell us a little about them.
Cooke: I am always on the lookout for unusual, interesting containers that would look good as lamps. I know some very talented women who transform the containers or vessels into beautiful lamps with custom bases and shades.
SPLURGE! Can you give us some tips on mixing European antiques with other decorating styles?
Cooke: When European antiques are combined with transitional or contemporary art, the contrast can accentuate both pieces. An Eighteenth Century French commode, or chest of drawers, looks stunning with a brightly colored contemporary painting above it. An antique giltwood or ornate Venetian mirror adds interest and depth when hanging above a sleek, contemporary console.
Gina believes that today’s modern or mid-century style is given a more well rounded feel by incorporating a few antique pieces. For instance, a lucite dining table is more interesting with a French chandelier above it. Often an old garden urn can be the piece that adds detail to the straight lines of today’s modern style. Clean-lined coffee and side tables, when used with clean-lined sofas, can benefit from that one special carved antique chair by the fireplace. These combinations create an imaginative, well-rounded, well-traveled home.
SPLURGE! If you could go back in time and visit one of your antiques in its original condition and location, which piece would it be and why?
Cooke: I have a French trumeau mirror that dates approximately 1780. I would love to see the home it came from and meet the people who lived there!
How to find them
1617 W. 33rd St.
Edmond, OK 73013