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Priceless items... with a story

Gregory Nelmes adores his white and blue Chinese porcelain vases.

Favourite home decor items aren’t always the ones from high-end stores or expensive showrooms.

They’re usually pieces with an interesting story behind them.

Lifestyle asked home decor professionals to share the story behind items in their house they wouldn’t want to live without.

For interior decorator Beth Macdonald, it’s a dining room set she inherited from her grandparents.

“It’s a very beautiful table and chairs, with a sideboard and a hatch,” she explained. “It was built with Chippendale mahogany and it’s really quite elegant.

“I’m pleased to have inherited it and hope to continue having lovely evenings, great food, laughs and conversations around it. We have all our family dinners at the table each night and did our puzzles and other activities there over the holidays. It’s also where the children go to do their homework. It really is the hub of the house, besides the kitchen.”

Ms Macdonald said her grandfather, RA Ferguson, and his twin brother Benny purchased the same table in the 1940s.

“It’s not an antique, but it’s a really high-quality reproduction from England,” she said.

“Another interesting tidbit about it is my grandfather and his brother were avid ping pong players, so we have a net that we can add to the top of the table so we can play on it.”

Oneka Benn Schwartz counts the antique secretary shelving unit that sits in her living room as her absolute favourite piece. “I actually found it in my favourite junk store in New Jersey,” the decor designer said. “It was covered in dust and dirt but I could see its potential. “For at least two years every time I went in there I would just stare at it. Eventually my husband bought it for me to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary and it’s been with us ever since.”

Ashley Ferguson, co-owner of Sunnyroad Designs, said she “absolutely cannot live without” the faux Texas longhorns she has hung in her casual dining room.

“They are an ode to my time growing up in Texas, and bring back childhood memories of running around the family ranch,” Mrs Ferguson said.

“For me, the long horns add a little masculinity to the room, where they balance out what is otherwise a more feminine decor.

“In addition, the horns act essentially as a piece of art. They are definitely not your typical canvas or photograph! Finally and maybe most importantly, they are the symbol of my favourite college football team — the Texas Longhorns. ‘Hook’em horns!’”

Her business partner Jyna Heinicke’s favourite home item is an elegant chandelier.

Mrs Heinicke said: “When we were decorating our dining room we wanted to select a chandelier that was unique, but still classic and timeless. I love the floral, metallic detail in it. The lotus petals are made from natural capiz shell and trimmed in silver, which really adds a luminescent glow to the space. It’s also a unique element that stands out in a simple room. I just love it!”

Gregory Nelmes said his home wouldn’t feel the same without his blue and white Chinese export porcelain. “It’s classic, timeless and stylish,” the interior designer explained.

“From dramatic decorative statements to practical day-to-day usage, these jars, vases and plates add a playful exotic and glamorous touch to my home. The soldier vase on the right of one of my rooms stands guard and is a perfect timeout for unruly children — with the top off of course!”

Shira Litwack, a sales and marketing director at Exclusive Home, said she wouldn’t want to part ways with her island kitchen counter.

“When I was growing up we had this big kitchen and everyone congregated around the island,” she said. “We would cook, eat informal meals and study on that counter. When my fiance and I were moving into our first place together, we saw a house that had a big island in the kitchen. We ended up moving in and I couldn’t live without this island.

“I use it for cooking, putting out a big spread of food for guests, or just to have a glass of wine with my girlfriends.”

Delight Morris, the owner of Orange Bay Company, found a vintage map several years ago that is of sentimental value to her.

“It’s an antique map that denotes Bermuda and Jamaica,” she said.

“What captured my attention was the fact that the map shows the location in Jamaica where my husband, Rudy, was raised — Orange Bay. Which, as you can guess, is how we came up with the name for our company!”