We're all about the thrill of discovering unique treasures and turning our spaces into something extraordinary. Our guest curator, Nancy Cavaliere, embodies this ethos flawlessly.
Nancy is all about the decorating game and has an uncanny knack for finding the extraordinary in secondhand finds. She's like the maestro of making her spaces look whimsical, eclectic, and downright captivating.
Her home? Well, it's basically a living art gallery. Every piece she owns has a story, and she's here to share (some of) her best finds and tricks of the trade. Let's dive in!
What got you interested in secondhand, vintage and antique items?
I grew up in a very small town in the South of Italy where everything is handed down, including furniture, so I've always had a love for vintage and antiques. But it was only after I got married, and had to furnish our first home, that I grew to actively pursue and learn everything I could about antiques- how to identify them, how to gauge their worth, and how to mix them into my home seamlessly to create a style all my own.
What are the one or two things that you always find yourself bidding on/looking for when shopping secondhand?
I always look for original art because I don't believe in blank walls, and window treatments! Custom curtains, drapes, valences- whatever you may call them- are very costly to have made, both in terms of fabric and labor, especially in NYC. Therefore, I always keep an eye out for quality, custom, well made drapes in my favorite fabrics, like chintz and silk. Custom drapes really elevate a room because they are (to me) such a luxury and, and if like me, you can't afford to spend 5k on drapes, secondhand is the way to go!
What's your favorite AuctionNinja purchase?
Oh this is tough! It's a tie between the custom stark leopard rug I bought for my daughters room, and my dream dining room chairs that lived in a famous million dollar listing gentleman's home in the Hamptons.
What's your absolute favorite item ever purchased at an estate sale or online auction?
In 2021, I went to an estate sale in the Hamptons that sent me down a rabbit hole of connections among the who's who of New York City Society, and is where I found my favorite item ever purchased. It is a custom, white, sheer organza and ostrich feather dress from the 1940s or 50s, in excellent condition, that might possibly be attributed to Christian Dior.
Any tips or advice for online auction or estate sale newbies?
Look at everything, then look at everything again. Make at least 3 trips around the sale because you will definitely discover things you've missed the first time around.
Also look inside every nook and cranny- closets, drawers, crawl spaces, whatever- nothing is off limits. I once found a whole set of D. Porthault bedding in a closet that everyone somehow skipped.
District of Columbia