The tastemakers: Sarah Bray and Anne Spilman

Sarah Bray, interiors editor at Modern Luxury magazine, and interior designer Anne Spilman create a series of vignettes from luxurious objects offered in the August Interiors sale​

‘Walking around this incredible space, I almost feel like we’re behind the scenes at the Met,’ says Sarah Bray, National Interiors editor at Modern Luxury  magazine, as she takes a spin through Christie’s warehouse in Long Island City, New York.

With interior decorator Anne Spilman, a friend since her college days in Texas, Bray visited the warehouse for a sneak peek of the objects offered in the Interiors  sale on 22 August at Rockefeller Center. Together the pair prepared a series of vignettes that showcase their signature decorating philosophy.

Bird image one of 10 plates, ten engravings, on wove paper, with margins. Estimate $2,000-3,000. A Chinese jumu and nanmu armchair. Estimate $2,000-3,000. One of four Indian polychrome-decorated candlesticks, mounted as lamps. Estimate $1,000-1,500. One of a pair of Chinese export models of cockerels. Estimate $1,000-1,200. A French leather-veneered chest-of-drawers. Estimate $2,000-3,000. A
Bird image: one of 10 plates, ten engravings, on wove paper, with margins. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. A Chinese jumu and nanmu armchair. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. One of four Indian polychrome-decorated candlesticks, mounted as lamps. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. One of a pair of Chinese export models of cockerels. Estimate: $1,000-1,200. A French leather-veneered chest-of-drawers. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. A pair of giltwood tabourets. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. A Moroccan flatweave rug. Estimate: $800-1,200. Offered in Interiors on 22 August at Christie’s in New York. Wallpaper kindly provided by Schumacher.


John Sennhauser, Curviangular No. 1. Estimate $5,000-7,000. A pair of lucite table lamps with parchment shades. Estimate $1,000-1,500. An assembled group of Chinese famille rose models of fruit. Estimate $1,200-1,800. A Chinese large longquan celadon-glazed charger. Estimate $1,500-2,000. A scarlet lacquer writing table. Estimate £1,000-1,500. An Indian silvered hardwood and marble
John Sennhauser, Curviangular No. 1. Estimate: $5,000-7,000. A pair of lucite table lamps with parchment shades. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. An assembled group of Chinese famille rose models of fruit. Estimate: $1,200-1,800. A Chinese large longquan celadon-glazed charger. Estimate: $1,500-2,000. A scarlet lacquer writing table. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. An Indian silvered hardwood and marble inset circular games table and four stools en suite. Estimate: $1,500-2,000. Offered in Interiors on 22 August at Christie’s in New York. Wallpaper kindly provided by Schumacher.

‘Both of us agreed immediately that we really want to do bold colour,’ says Bray, explaining their decision to set one vignette against a bright orange wall.

Also key for the pair was hitting just the right balance of layers, which Spilman considers the most important quality for any interior. This also made the decision to incorporate antiques a no-brainer. ‘Antiques add another dimension, as well as a timelessness,’ she explains.


One of a pair of plaster plafonnier ceiling fixtures. Estimate $1,500-2,000. A pair of gilt-metal floor lamps. Estimate $2,500-3,000. A giltwood and velour upholstered sofa. Estimate $800-1,200. A pair of rock-crystal obelisks. Estimate $2,000-3,000. A Chinese large enamel-on-copper turquoise-ground jardinière. Estimate $1,500-2,500. One of a pair of chrome and clear-glass pocket-form low

One of a pair of plaster plafonnier ceiling fixtures. Estimate: $1,500-2,000. A pair of gilt-metal floor lamps. Estimate: $2,500-3,000. A giltwood and velour upholstered sofa. Estimate: $800-1,200. A pair of rock-crystal obelisks. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. A Chinese large enamel-on-copper turquoise-ground jardinière. Estimate: $1,500-2,500. One of a pair of chrome and clear-glass pocket-form low tables. Estimate: $1,500-2,000. A pair of giltwood tabourets. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. One of a set of four blue satin upholstered slipper chairs. Estimate: $800-1,200. Offered in Interiors on 22 August at Christie’s in New York

‘The word “antiques” is often associated with maximalism, but that doesn’t have to be the case,’ Bray adds. Of the vignettes the duo created at the warehouse, the interiors editor explains that ‘they’re extremely layered but not cluttered. It’s just the right mix.’

Bray admits she loves antiques because of ‘the quality and the craftsmanship in every single piece’ and the idea of ‘getting something that you can’t find anywhere else’. Above all, she says, antiques add personality and show that a home has character.

A large pair of Chinese pink-glazed vases. Estimate $1,000-1,500. Two from a set of six giltwood wall brackets. Estimate $700-900. An Italian etched and enamelled glass mirror. Estimate $3,000-5,000. A blue satin upholstered sofa. Estimate $1,000-1,500. One of a pair of Chinese coral-ground famille verte beaker vases. Estimate $1,500-2,000. A pair of Chinese flambé-glazed Buddhist lions.

A large pair of Chinese pink-glazed vases. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. Two from a set of six giltwood wall brackets. Estimate: $700-900. An Italian etched and enamelled glass mirror. Estimate: $3,000-5,000. A blue satin upholstered sofa. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. One of a pair of Chinese coral-ground famille verte beaker vases. Estimate: $1,500-2,000. A pair of Chinese flambé-glazed Buddhist lions. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. A Chinese black and gilt lacquer panel, mounted as a low table. Estimate: $3,000-5,000. Two from a group of chrome low tables. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. Offered in Interiors on 22 August at Christie’s in New York. Wallpaper kindly provided by Schumacher.

‘I think,’ Bray continues, ‘that people are educating their eye, they’re noticing quality. A lot of people think of auction houses as something elusive, but I think they are a way for clients to educate themselves, to see what they really like. These are pieces that transcend centuries and countries.’