I met Lara Scott at Memphis’ Urban Barn Market in May. Her booth was a mix of vintage, industrial, and classic decorating pieces. As a member of the South Front Antiques family business, an antique architectural salvage store in downtown Memphis, she is carrying the torch that her grandfather began over 40 years ago.
What is your style?
I love the gracious, welcoming ways of the South. Comfortable spaces with touches of Southern charm is the look I try to create in my home. I decorate with objects that have meaning to me and a story to tell my guests. It makes my home deeply personal. One way I do this is using repurposed objects…it’s a trend I’m seeing in decorating.
What is repurposed decorating?
Repurposed decorating is using some items for another purpose in one’s home. Typically, our clients are looking for an item that speaks to them. We find that people particularly like to use something from history or our industrial roots to use as a coffee table, shelf, headboard, or merely an object of art.
What’s hot right now?
Industrial historical pieces are HOT right now; railroad carts as coffee tables, old steel fire doors as headboards, or the use of foundry patterns for just about everything else.
What are foundry patterns?
Foundry patterns are formed wood pieces that would be used to make cast iron elements in a foundry. They were made decades ago, during the height our industrial era. There would be a pattern for every metal piece imaginable…from the small valve to the monstrous riverboat boiler. They represent the industry that fostered our prosperity and growth. Most large cities had their own foundry. The patterns were all made by hand, without the benefit of calculators or computers or laser saws. Especially interesting is the fact that cast iron shrinks as it cools, so the patterns were all precisely larger than the final cast piece – amazing! It is a lost art.
What I love about the foundry molds is that it allows me and my clients a chance to be able to repurpose a piece of Memphis history. I especially like how the wood adds so much warmth to decorating. They have such a rich, dark color…another one of my favorite things about using old wood foundry patterns.
The patterns are the first thing that you see when you walk into the shop and clients are always asking, “ What is this?” They are so unusual; you can see how they would start a conversation in one’s home. Add the fact that they are a part of our history, and you can see how personable they can become.
We have had clients use them to make dining table tops, lamps, bookends, candle holders, tabletop decor, and decorative mirrors. We also have had a few artists use the molds in their art. One of my favorite ways to see them displayed is to have a collection of them on a wall.
South Front Antiques is located just off of Beale on Front Street in downtown Memphis. Their 20,000 square foot showroom is filled with architectural and salvaged pieces that they have been collecting for over 40 years. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10-4:30, and Sundays 12 – 4:30.