On The Square

The Emphasis of Home: a Conversation with Antiquarian Lee Stanton

By Jessica Helen Weinberg

Aug 24,2020 | 09:00 EDT

When one looks at interior environments associated with Lee Stanton, the immediate gravity and delight of earthbound objects begin to proliferate - tree trunk sculptures, English book boxes, haunting marble busts, urns, miniature spiral staircases, sundials, charcoal nudes - all placed, just so, to remind the senses of exactly how rich this plane of existence can be. 

Lee Stanton, a noted antiquarian, and thirty-year collector of 17th, 18th and 19th century British and European antiques has filled three of his own homes - as well as the homes of many others - with a plethora of timeless designs that emphasize an eclectic mix of traditional, modern, and industrial influences.


Lee Stanton at his home in Los Angeles, Photograph by Bjorn Wallander for Elle Decor


His Instagram [@leestantonla] is a trove of styled vignettes where you can find elegant furniture basquing in sunlit rooms, bright floral arrangements, enchanting tile floors and maximalist salon walls - frequently staged to perfection in Architectural Digest features or arranged by Lee Stanton himself. His Los Angeles showroom, located in the heart of the La Cienega Design Quarter, is a destination for decorators, design enthusiasts and a list of distinguished clients. Stanton’s not-so-private STASH Warehouse, only a few blocks from the main showroom, provides additional selections of curated antiques and vintage inventory. Recently, Lee Stanton Antiques added their STASH by Lee Stanton to the Bidsquare platform, further broadening the opportunity for lovers of decorative home accessories and hard-to find-furnishings to shop them online. 

We sat down with Lee to talk collecting as a lifestyle, favorites from the STASH catalogs, and the upside of being so much at home these days.


A vignette from the Lee Stanton showroom for Instagram [@leestantonla] by Israel Serna


BSQ: What is your favorite method of finding new inventory and what do you look for in the objects you decide to acquire?

LS: I purchase almost exclusively on buying trips to Europe and the United Kingdom. I have resources in major cities who are constantly searching for me but, I also venture out to the countryside to discover unfounded treasures. I look for unique items with a story that can be interpreted in today’s modern home. As for proper antique furniture, I'm a purist that looks for the integrity of construction as well as the finish and makes sure that the piece is made from solid, quality material. I prefer simple straight lines with a humble nature and a versatility that will be cherished in my clients homes for many years. As far as art and decorative accessories, I look for items that are strong and handsome rather than pretty.

BSQ: Are you noticing an uptick in clients re-thinking their interiors? Any positive insights for those looking to adjust to being constantly homebound?

LS: I find that as people spend more time at home, they want to be surrounded with unique, interesting and functional pieces. They're upgrading items they've never really loved and no longer serve a purpose or that they've simply grown tired of and are replacing them with quality items that give them a sense of pride, joy and comfort. Priorities have shifted from disposable objects to interesting objects with substance, purpose and integrity. After all, we are all realizing that our homes have become our castles in which we can not only find safe and comfortable, but also inspiring, motivating, enjoyable and even entertaining.  

BSQ: What is your current obsession? 

LS: Ironically my current obsessions are constant obsessions. Because I surround myself with items I love, I'm constantly falling in love with them over and over again. As I walk into a room and notice an item from a different angle or in a different light, I discover details that I forgot about or am reminded of the story about it, where it came from or the experience when I acquired it. Hence, it becomes a newfound love. As I've always said, “Good design transcends time and good antiques transcend design.” My home is my castle and I've never tired of my collections. I have fun with my things and enjoy them differently in various places and spaces. 

I'm also obsessed with all things organic. As we all find ourselves living in sanitized, guarded and protected environments, I have a newfound appreciation for free flowing and natural qualities such as unfinished woods, unbleached materials, raw shapes...not to mention unrefined and organic food!

Tulips at Lee Stanton's home in Laguna Beach taken for Instagram [@leestantonla] by Israel Serna


BSQ: Your catalogs on Bidsquare offer hundreds of objects that you've handpicked over the years. Tell us about some of your favorite aspects...

LS: I love the carum billiards table -  it's not only handsome with incredible detail, but also a unique game that most people are not familiar with. It's a conversation item that can also turn into fun. I've also included some unusual yet functional, modern and traditional chairs in my catalogue, as well as, unique coffee tables including a display case filled with architectural objects that redefines the usual table to put your drinks on. I'm also very proud of my collection of art. The art has definite personalities yet are very transitional and adjusts to the environment in any room.

BSQ: Are you working on any new projects?

LS: I'm working on a collection with Israel Serna of vintage pottery rescued from abandoned haciendas in Mexico, and I also have a few exciting design projects with clients that appreciate a unique and curated approach to design in their homes.

BSQ: What design rule do you love to break?

LS: I love to break rules and juxtapose items from different time periods, styles and cultures.

BSQ: What is your most prized possession?

LS: Everything I purchase for my showroom are items I would cherish in my own home.  In fact, I often find myself saying, “...if this doesn’t sell soon, I am taking it home...” If I had the space, I would probably take home the library ladder from the National Library in Paris.

Register to bid and browse the STASH by Lee Stanton catalogs now on Bidsquare.

Stash by Lee Stanton, Traditional Decorative Arts with a Modern Twist, Timed Auction, August 17, 5pm EDT - August 31, 9pm EDT.

Stash by Lee Stanton, Traditional Fine Furniture with a Modern Twist, Timed Auction, August 17, 5pm EDT - August 31, 9pm EDT.


Don't have a Bidsquare account? Sign up here!

Be in the know about upcoming auctions and exciting post-sale results by following us on Facebook and Instagram.