Monday, November 14, 2011

Duchess Fare

Sarah Ferguson of the Etsy shop and blog Duchess Fare is a new Etsy Sponsor of Chinoiserie Chic. Her shop is a great source for Chinoiserie, Hollywood Regency, and other vintage mirrors, lamps, and accessories. She has a great eye for finding pieces that will really transform a room. Please enjoy these favorites of mine from her current inventory and my interview with Duchess Fare. Click her link in my sidebar frequently for her ever-changing selection.

Q -  How you chose the name Duchess Fare is such a cute story. Explain why you picked the name for your blog and Etsy store.

After my second date with my now husband, one of my close girlfriends from college put two and two together that if we were to be married my name would be "Sarah Ferguson," like the Duchess of York.  I always thought that using that twist in something that I would establish would make for a cute introduction. Fare came about for my love of food and eating.  I had originally set my sights on pursuing more of a culinary path, but soon realized I love all things having to do with Lifestyle -- food/dining experiences, travel, design -- I tend to think of Fare as encompassing all of these terms.

I started the blog as Duchess Fare and felt it would be a easy transition to open my Etsy store under the same name.  I like to think that the vintage finds I offer in my Etsy store can enhance and round out the overall design of any room. 

Q -  I see you lived in Southeast Asia. Did that spark your interest in Chinoiserie?

Yes!  I feel so lucky to have lived in Hong Kong as a child.  It was the late 70s/early 80s when HK was still under British rule.  I think my strength of being such a visual person was developed early on by being exposed to such a fascinating culture - rich in tradition, vibrant color, and age old customs.  You can't help but develop an affinity for Chinese antiques and artwork.  The skilled craftsmanship is exceptional.  You also experienced a layering of European influence in the style, architecture, and sense of formality -- attending High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel as a little girl was unbelievably special!  

Q -  When did you start your Etsy store and what motivated you to start it?

I started my Etsy store in March of 2010.  I had been a successful seller on eBay but kept hearing more and more about this Brooklyn based company that was really driven by artisans with an appreciation for handcrafted and vintage items. This article in the NY Times from December of 2009 really convinced me as well....
I found that Etsy was the perfect fit for me to showcase my unique items in a setting that attracted buyers with an appreciation for my offerings.  I have also enjoyed being a part of such a supportive community for both buyers and sellers.

Q -  Where do you find your great pieces? Craigslist, flea markets, estate sales, auctions, second hand stores, eBay? (Doesn't Atlanta have some famous flea market interior designers fly in for? Is it a favorite?)

I uncover my finds just about anywhere....  I keep my eyes open when I run into thrift stores, estate sales, or driving and I spot something on the side of the road. It really is true that one person's trash is another's treasure.  A great resource to find estate sales in your area is EstateSales.Net / This website offers detailed listings of weekly sales with lots of photos of what each sale is featuring.  Also, Craigslist has turned into such a genius idea!  There is so much listed on that site right now, you might never have to hit a regular store again.... it is a go-to resource for uncovering interesting items.  

When I think of turning around furniture and accessories, I describe it as a process of taking an object from someone who has decided it's time to give it up and I am passing it on to the start of a new journey.  Plus, I think keeping in mind the idea of reuse and recycle in every aspect of our lives is very important -- supporting Craigslist, thrift shops, and estate sales makes that possible, the furniture and accessories made in our grandparents generation were crafted from high quality materials and solid construction.  

Markets to Check Out in Atlanta:  Scott Antique Market takes place once a month and is highly successful....  some other markets to frequent around the city that are open through out the week are Kudzu Antiques, Antiques and Beyond, and Paris on Ponce.

Q - What are some of your favorite pieces you look out for, or is it anything with style and flair that grabs you?

I typically am drawn to lamps....  a lamp is the sort of accessory that can change the overall look of a room in an easy fix.  I look for interesting bases, color, scale, maybe a little lux factor to it.  And if you spot lamps with old dated lampshades on them and are not sure if they can live in 2011 room, the best thing to do is just remove the shade and step back to really get a look at the bases.  Envision the lamps with a shade with cleaner lines, and usually they turn out to be keepers.

I also love mirrors, for the same reason as the lamps, they are an instant fix to changing up your room decor.  I like overscale mirrors and ones with interesting details and finishes.  Something that has a little age on it.  

And objects....  objects or accessories help to round out your room.  They add that little extra something that just can't be found at any big box store.  Unique objects add life to an otherwise plain space.  I like to keep my eye out for items that have rich color, interesting design, with a finish that adds a little sparkle and polish.

Q -  Atlanta seems to be such a center for interior design. Has being in Atlanta influenced your style and taste in interior design?

I think living in the south for almost 15 years has really influence me....  I have gained such an appreciation for Folk Art and handcrafted work, pottery etc.....  I am blown away by the 3 generations of the Moulthrop family and their perfected art of turning wood bowls.  Their exquisite bowls sit very comfortably in a modern setting.

Q -  What are some of your favorite Chinoiserie pieces to hunt for and do you use Chinoiserie in your own home? You seem to do a great job finding Chinoiserie mirrors and lamps especially. Those are two pieces that can really make a room, don't you agree?

The interiors of our home are ever changing and layered with an assortment of styles.  I am always moving furniture around because I like to shake up the energy of a room -- create new seating areas and move around accessories.  I mix our pieces brought back from Asia with my husband's contemporary art work with unique objects.  Every item in our home has a story.  I find that these various objects and furnishings live harmoniously in a room by tying them together with a shared color palette, and ultimately they all work because I am surrounding myself with what I love. 

And yes, totally agree.... Mirrors and lamps make a room!


  1. The Penisula tea mmm Such special memories from a very special time, that has coloured my life ever since too!!!! The last designs for my card and gift project, for my degree, are all influenced by the east and Chinese antique textiles (see my blog the design process an final boards etc in the June section!). I loved living in HK 9when my husband was posted there twice with the Gurkhas0 and visiting China, Burma , Thailand,Malaysia and the Philppines. I was so lucky in that 'other life'!!!!!! I still have many reminders as well as all my old textiles-including the brother or sister of the blue and white ceramic stool/table!!!
    Enjoyed reminiscing with this post and best of luck with everything. :-)

  2. PS I am a follower of your blog from England. If you visit my blog I do hope you like my designs/pictures pre summer and posts about art after my course ended.....
    There are alot of Chinoiserie lovers about.....thanx for your conribution. Its lovely to find out whats thought of t in america

  3. Those lime green lamps and the last lamp are my favorite. Will go check out her shop right away :)

  4. Oh my goodness I could get in some serious trouble in her shop! haha - seriously amazing finds. Would you believe I just found the long lost relatives of those first lamps - only mine are teal!

  5. Yeah... I could do some serious damage! I love every single picture!

    Thanks for sharing!