Tips for a Timeless Kitchen Design with Old World Feel + Sourcing Thrifted Gems with Paige Kontrafouris

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Paige Kontrafouris (@paigekontrafouris), founder of Paige Kontrafouris Interiors, is a New Jersey based designer who with clients all over the country. Her signature style infuses classic elements juxtaposed with modern touches for the perfect mix of old and new. Routed in her design philosophy is her passion for antiques and the unique stories they bring to a space. We asked Paige for her tips on sourcing items, bidding in online auctions and how to create a classic and timeless kitchen -- one of her favorite rooms to design. 

How would you describe your design style?

My design style is heavily influenced by the classics juxtaposed with modern elements. I really love European architecture and design and pulling inspiration from classic architecture to seeing how those details can be broken down and re-designed in more modern spaces.


Auction NinjaPhoto courtesy of Paige Kontrafouris

What got you interested in secondhand/antique pieces?

I grew up with a mom who loved design and really appreciated antique pieces so I was around it at a young age. I always joke that I was born in the wrong time period because naturally I am drawn to antiques and older pieces because I love the history and the uniqueness they bring to a space.

What's the one thing you always find yourself bidding on?

Whether I'm shopping online at an auction, local estate sales or antique stores I am always drawn to landscape paintings in ornate frames. The first piece that I bought for our current home was a large landscape oil painting at a local rummage sale. To date, it's one of my favorite pieces I've found. I love how versatile landscape paintings are for any room.

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Photo courtesy of Paige Kontrafouris

Any tips or advice to new AuctionNinja bidders or those new to online auctions?

My biggest tip for shopping auctions and secondhand is to have a running list that's easily accessible (for me it's a note on my iPhone) with things I wish to find. This allows me to keep a running tab of all these things because one thing with shopping secondhand is that it does take time and patience to source pieces.

Having a list of these things allows you to reference something so when you're scrolling online you can look back and see something that you put on the list a few months ago or even a year ago.

Taking it one step further on my list, I will also research and include other common names a specific piece goes by -- it helps to get more descriptive when searching online. 

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Photo courtesy of Paige Kontrafouris


Design Corner: How to Get a Timeless Kitchen with an Old World Feel

What advice do you have for creating a lived-in, classic kitchen?

I have always loved looking at old design books and magazines and seeing photos of kitchens that looked lived in and layered with decor and everyday essentials out in the open. I love to see that design is heading back in that direction with people enjoying styled and more lived in spaces versus a very sterile /staged look.

To achieve this it's all about layering pieces. For example; artwork in the kitchen, a mix of vintage dishware and bowls, mixed metals like adding in some copper pots, mixed woods, lamps, etc.

How should you incorporate lighting into a kitchen?

When studying older spaces you will notice that they have a much softer almost moody feel in terms of lighting and you don't see recess lighting everywhere. But this is a modern day element that everyone loves and I don't think will be going anywhere -- so for me, I love mixing in unique pendant lighting and my latest obsession is lamps in the kitchen. I love turning on a lamp at night to set the mood and give a warm glow. Lately, I've been drawn to brass candlestick lamps with a tapered shade as the perfect modern touch.


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Photo courtesy of Paige Kontrafouris

It's one thing to see a picture and love the way something looks in a magazine or on Instagram, but how do you know what to look for when shopping online auctions?

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is "How are you able to find such great pieces online and what are you using to search for them?"

For me, personally keeping that ongoing list in my phone filled with items I want and key terms makes it much easier. Some of my most frequent search terms as I've been styling almost completed kitchens are:


Shop Paige Kontrafouris’ AuctionNinja Picks

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  1. Bust of Napoleon (Brisa Auctions)

  2. Sterling Reticulated Figural Basket (Clearing House Estate Sales)

  3. Portrait of a male, signed (Clearing House Estate Sales)

  4. Le Cruset 3.5 Quart Covered Baking Dish (Brisa Auctions)

  5. 2 Candlestick Lamps and 4 Shades (Brisa Auctions)

  6. Set of 3 Hand Carved Teak Wood Bowls (Brisa Auctions)

  7. Limoges Art Nouveau Pattern Dinner Plate (Clearing House Estate Sales)

Other Picks Not to Miss:


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