Found objects and the collected look.  I love the term  “found object”…that unique something found in an antique or vintage store, a resale store, a flea market or discovered during your travels.

Interior designers talk about the collected look…those special items that are fun to incorporate in your home design…the mixing of different styles…the juxtaposition of the old and new. I love using these special finds in my still-life paintings as well as displaying them throughout the home.

Nothing is more fun than scouring antique and vintage shops searching for the right vessel for a flower arrangement. Many times I use some old vase that has been gathering dust in my armoire…or a sentimental item that sits on a vintage piece of furniture. (One of my favorite vessels is a pewter samovar that belonged to my Grandmother).

On this wall in my sunroom I surrounded an antique planter’s desk found in the North Carolina mountains with 3 of my flower paintings. On top of the planter’s desk is a collection of antique medicine bottles all in purple or aqua and part of a collection of perfume bottles.  The purple and blues set the theme.

Sunroom with antiques and bright Kathy Miller original floral paintings photo by Lynn Tennille

photo by Lynn Tennille Photography

My painting to the right of the desk captures an antique buffet with “a painting within a painting”.  I painted this antique buffet,  including a section of an Ellen Diamond painting I own, with  tulips in my grandmother’s samovar and a photo of my parents celebrating their engagement.  This is a  nice way to capture a client’s special niche or a favorite display of their collected items.


Tulips in Grandmother's Samovar painting by Kathy Miller

And you don’t have to put all of a collection together in one spot.  I used only perfume bottles on the planter’s desk that had the correct colors, blues and purples.

The rest of my perfume bottle collection is on an antique chest in the bedroom, also including an vintage oil lamp, and antique mirrors.

photo by Lynn Tennille Photography

Kathy's flower paintings with antique chest and perfume bottle collection

When remodeling our old family home, as with every home we have built or remodeled, we have always combined the old and the new.

I’ve always loved antiques and vintage finds, especially in case goods…armoires, desks, buffets, apothecary cabinets and small antique bamboo cabinets.  It seems upholstered pieces wear out or go out of style and many times I will replace an old chair with a new chair or a sofa with a new sofa, although sometimes I enjoy recycling pieces that stand the test of time with new, updated upholstery.

After son James, had a real estate showing of an old Fernandina Beach home, he asked me why there are no closets in (really) old homes…and my reply was they used armoires, buffets, chests to store their items.   When Dave and I remodeled our old family home, we knew we would not have as much storage as in some of our larger homes.  I find that I am using my antique armoires to store vases, table decor, chargers, and glassware.

photo by Lynn Tennille Photography

Antique armoire with Kathy Miller's Camp Chimney original painting photo by Lynn Tennille

Antique Armoire with storage photo by Kathy Miller

I use an old, antique apothecary cabinet  I bought from The Plantation Shop on Amelia Island, to store  napkin rings and dining room accessories, such as platters and place cards.  Love the mirrors and hand carving on the doors.

Antique Apothecary cabinet with mirrors photo by Kathy Miller

Apothecary cabinet with hand carving and mirrored doors photo by Kathy Miller

Apothecary Cabinet with platters and lots of drawers photo by Kathy Miller

What a great way to utilize all those drawers!

Apothecary cabinet with lots of drawers photo by Kathy Miller

I am using an old bamboo armoire in the toliet room of our main bath to store bed linens, towels and toliet paper.

Antique bamboo armoire photo by Kathy Miller

Antique armoire with towels and bed linens photo by Kathy Miller

I have collected antique bamboo cabinets over the years (most of them bought at The Plantation Shop on Amelia Island.)  These cabinets with glass fronts are perfect for holding different unique collections.

In my bathroom a cabinet holds my mother’s old lace gloves, vintage mint julep cups, Jefferson cups, art deco perfume bottles, vintage mirrors and my parents’ framed wedding invitation.

photo by Lynn Tennille Photography

Antique bamboo cabinet with unique collections photo by Lynn Tennille

This antique bamboo cabinet houses a collection of sugar and creamers.

antique bamboo cabinet with sugar and creamer collection photo by Kathy Miller

While showing a friend the wooden shoes my father brought back from The Philippines after serving his country in the army in both the European theater and the Pacific theater during WWII, I decided to leave them out.  Enjoying them every day.

Embroidered wooden shoes from The Philippines WWII era photo by Kathy Miller

The opposite wall has another antique bamboo cabinet with my collection of coasters.

Old coaster collection in antique bamboo cabinet photo by Kathy Miller

I love visiting other homes, seeing how people like to decorate and display their collections.  Julie Johnson of Julia Hall Interiors along with Benjie McEntyre have helped me with 3 homes and are experts in all areas of design, from kitchen design, lighting, plumbing fixtures, coordinating colors, choosing fabrics to reupholster the items I want to keep…Any and everything I’ve asked them to do. They know how to layer your collections to give you the most enjoyment out of those found objects!

Thank you for the good photos by Lynn Tennille Photography…the others were taken by me with my trusty iPhone….not nearly as good as Lynn’s but that’s why she is the professional!

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my special collections…and would love to hear about yours!

Next post I’ll share with you a few more of the crazy, fun things I’ve collected over the years.  Now the problem is where do I house them all!  You should see my closets!  I’ll tell you more next time.

I’ll save you a seat in the collected home.



  • Janet says:

    This is such a great article and really shows off your collections.
    Your paintings are the best for making every room pop with color and fun!

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thank you Janet! Isn’t fun to have things we have collected over the years…I think about your fantastic place in Vermont…Camp Winape. Hope you are enjoying it this summer.

  • Sister Kay says:

    Wow! I love how you have incorporated Mom and Dad’s treasures into your decorating. So nostalgic… especially the Philippines shoes. I was always intrigued by those.

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thanks sister Kay! It helps keep the memory of Mom and Dad with me….Also Grandmothers. So nice to be able to use throughout the home!

  • Bobbie Beautiful says:

    Your vignettes are beautiful! I’m another one who cant have enough bamboo cabinets and shelves.

  • Bobbie Beautiful says:

    Your vignettes are beautiful! I’m another one who cant have enough bamboo cabinets and shelves.

  • Laura Huffman says:

    I enjoyed seeing the collections and the pretty cabinets. The paintings, of course, add a lot to the decor. Your home is beautiful! XO

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thanks Laura! You certainly have seen many of my bamboo cabinets and the apothecary cabinet….They used to be in our mountain home and now are with us on Amelia Island. Hope to see you sometime soon in Cashiers.

  • Becky Durrance says:

    Thanks Kathy! You have given me some great ideas.

  • Kathy Miller says:

    Thanks Becky! I do love to place special items within the home…a great way to remember loved ones…and also such fun collecting things….sometimes crazy things. Next post I will talk about how I have “cornered the market” collecting Salty and Peppys….Crazy…Wait til next time.

  • Charlie says:

    Beautiful pieces Kathy. Your e mails always make my day. Thank u. CAA

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thank you Charlie! I don’t post often and hope that subscribers feel just like you. When that email comes it is fun to see what I’ve written about

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