Living Legacy

Step inside the Johannesburg home of a couple dealing in antiques and vintage pieces and the effect is nothing if not dazzling. Gilded and wood-framed mirrors of varying sizes and shapes dance with the light reflected off a pair of large chandeliers. On the glass surface of a heavy iron dining table, surrounded by a motley collection of carved wooden chairs, countless candlesticks in silver and giltwood gleam at its centre. There are carefully arranged collections of decorative clocks, silver domes and intriguing wooden boxes. And that’s before the armoires, servers and elegant armchairs.

It was while doing up their home after the sale of their health business that Jacqui Moskovitz and Colin Levin saw a gap in the market and decided to launch The Crown Collection about a year ago. ‘We found sourcing decorative antiques, French and vintage furniture and accessories in South Africa extremely difficult,’ says Jacqui. After a search, they ended up importing most of their pieces, which sparked the idea to open a store. ‘We wanted to offer clients and decorators the type of antique emporium they would encounter in Paris, London or New York.’

Their Bryanston showroom holds more than 5 000 pieces at any given time, from dining, console and library tables, and ‘every style of chair imaginable’ to rare finds such as a nineteenth-century boudoir grand piano and an ornate pair of silver-plated candelabras that are almost a metre tall. There’s a ‘man’s room’ with barometers, chess tables and model ships.

‘Modern spaces can especially benefit from incorporating antique and vintage pieces,’ says Jacqui. ‘They add real warmth and character, and the look can be as eclectic as you like.’ And combining antiques and contemporary pieces is easier than one thinks, she notes. ‘Using antique chairs around a modern glass table is highly effective, while an antique armoire makes for a sophisticated TV or drinks cabinet. Or place a stylish old settee on one side of a dining room table.’

‘Modern spaces can especially benefit from incorporating antique and vintage pieces’ – Jacqui Moskovitz

Bathrooms and kitchens become more charming spaces when using a special vintage piece here and there, ‘be it a chair or table, a small armoire or cabinet,’ says Jacqui. ‘Using a variety of different antique mirrors on a wall creates light and is an effective way to fill an empty wall even in a guest bathroom. Hanging a selection of antique silver trays on a wall is another great idea. Antique chandeliers and lanterns smarten and soften any room and can also be used in a kitchen or guest bathroom.’

In her own bedroom, Jacqui hung an antique chandelier above the bed, flanked by two smaller chandeliers suspended on chains on either side above the bedside tables. ‘We’ve placed an antique wooden sofa covered in hessian at the foot of our bed and put our TV and other electronics inside a beautiful bleached armoire to complete the look.’

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Photography Annalize Nel