Antiques Taken Personally
You enter a prospective employer's office, or a blind date's apartment, or a party at the residence of one of your best potential clients. Knowing little to nothing about these people you are starved for clues. Do you open a conversation with a joke, or by talking art, or describing your wildest vacation? Or do say very little at first, understanding that small talk might set back your acquaintance? You want an edge. Can your host's decorating style or furnishings shed any light? Can antiques provide a clue toward personality? Yes! Although it's common knowledge that some people can tell you much about antiques, according to Judy George and Todd Lyon in their book, "The Domain Book of Intuitive Home Design," most antiques can likewise tell you much about their owners. Judy and Todd believe that you and I and everyone for that matter can be generally classified into one of four archetypes: the Visionary, the Artisan, the Idealist, and the Adventurer and that by examining an individual's habitat you can learn much about their habits.
Visionaries are blessed and cursed by their ability to see. They have acute analytical skills and an innate ability to understand art, music, design and literature. Martha Stewart seems to me, a visionary. They are solitary problem solvers. They are civilized, reverent, independent and passionate. Visionaries have matching luggage, immaculate perfectly organized living quarters and are fond of American Colonial, Federal and French provincial and furniture. They form strong one-on-one bonds. The older homes visionaries prefer are their sanctuaries, reflective of not only their taste but also their priorities. They need solitude and tranquility. Some rooms will be impeccably decorated with bone china, gilded frames, fainting couches, busts, and a family coat of arms. These rooms are not to be used but admired, almost at a distance-as one would appreciate a painting of a living room rather than really living in it. Visionaries store their collectibles behind glass. They dress windows. They are drawn to royal colors like purple and gold. They are not to be engaged in idle chatter nor should you handle their possessions or inquire as to their personal life. Visionaries surround themselves in structured beauty and any intrusion into their walls of order will cause them anxiety.
Artisans love things organic: people, pets and nature. They rescue cats from shelters and shelters from demolition. Linda McCartney was an artisan. Artisans are casual, sentimental, modest, personable, naturalistic, nurturing, non-materialistic and loving. Their homes are inviting. They prefer throw rugs and hardwood floors to wall-to-wall carpeting. They sleep more soundly in campgrounds than New York's Plaza Hotel. Windows are for letting light in, not for showing off curtains. They like plants, Adirondack furniture, armoires, chicken coop wire, comfy sofas, coffee tables, bright colored pottery, wicker, Windsor chairs, weathervanes, stone fireplaces and hand-fashioned art. Artisans value antiques more for their connections to the past than their denominative value. There are no borders in an artisan's abode-every room is the family room. If your prospective employer's office is airy, textured, filled with family pictures and maybe an old Remington typewriter, don't be afraid to inquire about their zodiac sign. They'll not only know what theirs is, they'll have a good feel as to yours as well.
Idealists are warrior-like accomplishers. Their love systems, glass bricks, CD's in alphabetical order, gyms, planning, organization and environments free of all clutter. Many corporate Chief Operating Officers are idealists. Idealists are drawn to physical relationships and can fall to pieces when confronted with the complexities of romantic love. They are Martha Stewart removed of color. They are visionaries removed of historical context. They do not decorate windows. Their apartments will be non-sentimental, highly organized, modernistic and spotless. Idealists are not without humor. Toys and gadgets like a Wurlitzer Juke box often accentuate their Spartan living spaces. Idealists are dedicated watchers of television and the stock market. They prefer new to old and neoclassic black and white to colorful country style. Upon meeting an idealistic, it would be best straighten your jacket and appear beautiful for order and perfection are their elements. Idealists are moneymakers and emphatic workers. They push mankind forward without ever looking back.
Adventurers thrive on action, intellectual stimulation, flamboyance and sensory pleasures. Their thinking talent is not in their ability to process information within divisions and systems rather it is derived from a talent for making connections between seemingly disparate things. Adventurers are energetic, inconsistent, playful, passionate, fearless and unconventional. They are actors smitten by love but are terrified of commitment, clinginess and inflexibility. Creativity is their asset, and resistance to conformity their downfall. To them, a relationship is ever evolving. An adventurer's ever-changing living and working environment is electric, amusing and interactive and filled with visual twang. Their living room might contain an 18th century cherrywood highboy, a vintage Coca-Cola cooler and a "Please Do Not Spit on the Floor" sign from the old west.
Now, if you do not see yourself fitting neatly into one of these boxes, don't fret. You're probably, like most of us, a little of this and a little of that. One's thing's for sure-environment can provide a clue to psyche. Next time you visit a business office or restaurant or go on a house tour, see if you can discern a little more about the occupants by appraising the décor. If nothing else, it's fun. That is, if you're personality lies somewhere between artist and adventurer.