Yvonne Elia February 27, 2021 Home Design
Farah Malik lived in seven countries before landing in the United States. She admits to a penchant for heirlooms and admires their power to promote a pass-down-from-generation-to-generation culture. Having grown up in England, Farah keeps multiple pots for tea, including this Moroccan kettle handed down from an old friend’s grandmother in Marrakech. Other expressive pieces from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Kenya, China, Pakistan, Zanzibar, Cyprus, and all over Europe — just to name a few — encourage a broad global awareness in her Brooklyn home.
Nick Huff is the proud owner of this Navajo tapestry, made by hand and gifted to his grandmother by her best friend, Midge. In turn, the gift was passed on to him. This piece is a meaningful reminder of the connection Nick had with Midge and his grandmother. “I always value the human connection over anything that might be in the home,” he shares about his approach to decoration in his duplex in Omaha, NE.
Heirlooms often represent a beloved person or memory that tells us a little bit more about who we are. They don’t have to be on trend or in good condition to add warmth and personality to our homes. Not every heirloom has a fantastic history, but they all create a sense of family and belonging that serves as a reminder of the journeys that have brought us together. Here are 10 family heirlooms from the archives that celebrate history and family.
Dana McClure keeps her grandmother’s Chantilly Lace, along with other family heirlooms like this gold framed mirror, jewelry boxes and display trays resting on her great aunt’s Dorothy Draper dresser. “I never wear [it], but the smell brings me back to being six years old and playing dress-up in her bedroom.” This is her favorite spot in her New York state farmhouse to wind down after a long day and fill her heart with warm memories of her childhood.
Hildegard Haave’s home in Selbu, Norway showcases a handful of family heirlooms like this mahogany dresser from her grandparents. She explains that it used to live in their home office where she would play with her grandfather’s typewriter while he worked.
One of the things that makes family heirlooms so special are the stories they collect over time. Objects give us the ability to recall adventures that have been told and retold, or spark the memory they carry. Cherished items often cross oceans, countries, and generations to create their stories, probably with a few scratches and bumps along the way. It’s as if these treasures traveled down the branches of our family tree and ended up in our living rooms.
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