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Small Talk: Caroline Verschoor of Ekster Antiques Shares Her Design Tips

Want small-space style tips from design experts, stylemakers, and creative influencers? We’ve got you covered.

Caroline Verschoor embraces Scandinavian style for small space decorating. Photographs courtesy of Caroline Verschoor.

Welcome to a new series called “Small Talk,” in which we’ll be chatting with Washington tastemakers about small-space style. First up is Caroline Verschoor of Ekster Antiques & Uniques, a designer and antiques dealer with an eye for one-of-a-kind finds with European flair. Her shop itself is one-of-a-kind—she hosts weekend sales in the 8,000-square-foot barn on her property outside Leesburg a few times a year. Catching her incredible selection of goods is worth setting a calendar reminder.

With her international background and love of travel, design, and style, Verschoor has truly created a beautiful shopping experience—we covet every single piece from her large collection of decor and furniture. Offerings range from rustic farm tables to glass chandeliers to marble-top consoles to brass lamps and more. We invited Verschoor to share her style tips and inspiration on the Open House blog.

Photographs by Rebecca Orlov.

What do you look for when curating items for your barn sales?

I find things everywhere. I source items nearby, and I travel to the farthest corners of Europe to find unique items. I think how you look at things is what makes the difference. It’s not just the design but how you use it in your home. You can do such cool things with the stuff you already own; it’s all about how you put it to use, showcase it, and repurpose it.

What are your best tips for editing a small space? How do you decide what to keep and what to say goodbye to?

When space is valuable, only have items that serve a purpose. Take inventory of what you own and what you honestly need to keep. Focus on your floors, windows, and walls. Once you get the basics right, decorate with those things you love, need, and use.

Photograph by Rebecca Orlov.

Many small-space dwellers embrace Scandinavian design principles because of the minimalist influence. Are you a fan?

Scandinavians have really gotten it “right” with their way of decorating. Design from Scandinavia is known the world over, from the everyman’s Ikea to the select few who can afford a Poulsen lamp. In essence, I feel the style is timeless and clean and classic.

What are your top 3 tips for making a house a home?

I say, “A home is what YOU make it!” I love walking into homes where the owners are avid readers and sneaking a peek at their bookshelves. It’s fun to look at the things people have collected on their travels, the shells they picked up with their children on far-flung beaches, etc. I’ve said I don’t believe in clutter, but I do think your personal belongings need to be on display, albeit in an organized fashion. Your home will look “rich” and well loved as a result.

Check out Caroline’s blog for more information about available items as well as details on upcoming sales and events.

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