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November 2006


FEATURES

The Simple Life

(Page 3 of 4)

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The air conditioner was also awkwardly placed, where it could be seen from the living room. It, too, had to be moved, and was concealed with a wood box.

Once issues both minor and major were ironed out, the focus turned inward. Again it was the Internet that pointed them back in time and to Alex Pifer of The Seraph, whose firm specializes in antique reproductions for people wanting to duplicate pieces from 1650 to 1830. An art historian and theater art director, Pifer bought a historic house 25 years ago when she and her husband moved from Chicago to Ohio. She found herself daunted by the prices for genuine antiques. Dismayed at the difficulty of obtaining articles to substitute, she began creating her own, and thus formed a business selling reproduction wing chairs, modern versions of homespun and linsey-woolsey fabrics and milk-based paints in Colonial colors.

For Alan and Norman's guesthouse, it was Pifer who suggested the mustard yellow paneling, devised the natural stain for the flooring and created the clever "period" cupboards that hide away the flat-screen television. She also led them to purchase actual antiques, such as a 1780 banister-back chair from New Hampshire and a Connecticut cherry candle stand in the study. The couple then brought over their own pieces from the main house, such as the wooden horse-and-cart pull toy in the guest room and the Delft pieces that sit over the mantel.

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