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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

From her Miami home, Olga Granda-Scott, cofounder of The HighBoy , shares her tips for shopping and decorating with antiques without living in the past.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

For Olga Granda-Scott, buying and selling antiques has always been a family affair. Having learned the trade from her father—the esteemed Miami dealer Ignacio Granda, of Alhambra Antiques—Granda-Scott (along with her husband, Doug Scott) founded The HighBoy , an online antiques marketplace, in 2013. So it isn’t surprising that when the couple purchased a four-bedroom midcentury residence in 2011, Granda-Scott was determined to incorporate a lifetime’s worth of historic furnishings into her new interiors. “Even though we now have a contemporary house, I can’t live without the pieces I love,” she says. “And, besides, the challenge of juxtaposing modern architecture and traditional furnishings made decorating fun for me.”

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

shopping for antiques:  


display an inquiring mind

When you walk into an antiques shop or contact a dealer online, you should feel free to ask questions about any piece that catches your eye. A good dealer will be able to give you information about its background or style, and even if you don’t buy it, you’ll have gained valuable knowledge.

practice discernment

Buy pieces that you can live with from a functional point of view. Remember, antiques aren’t just about beauty: you’re still furnishing a home for daily life. An item with major flaws—wobbly legs or drawers that won’t open—can be very expensive to repair, so I recommend purchasing pieces that are still in good condition. Of course, I do like the patina of age, so nicks or scratches don’t bother me at all.

buy the best you can afford

Even if it’s just one piece a year, you’ll be glad you bought the highest-quality (and most beautiful) furniture available to you at the time. Remember, most collectors build their stockpile slowly.

proportion is everything

Everyone loves the look of a layered, eclectic interior that blends antiques with newer furnishings. One of the principal tricks to achieving this, though, is developing a sense of scale. You can, for instance, effortlessly pair a midcentury console with a Régence mirror if their proportions are compatible. In other words, no hanging dinky mirrors over giant case goods!


start eyeing “common” objects

Sure, I love Louis XIV, but I’ve also developed a taste for folk art, industrial goods, and “functional” items (such as vintage breadboards, champagne corkers, or copper pots). Not only do such pieces add dynamic contrast to my interiors, but they also make fantastic decorative pieces, especially when grouped in collections.

embrace multiculturalism

Aside from mixing old and new, I also like to combine items from various countries and traditions. It creates a cosmopolitan air that I find very inspiring. For me, an ideal room would contain antique Spanish encaustic tiles, a Persian rug, and some Dutch case goods. Heaven!

Photography by Brittany Ambridge