It looks like a crime scene. On the second floor of the swanky town house, a vintage French commode is covered in garish lime-green and purple paint. Nearby, an ornate rococo wall mirror is spray-painted silver and red. But these formerly fusty pieces of furniture weren't savaged by vandals. They've just received a makeover from Le Tramac, a London-based firm run by Anouchka and Cassandra Lefebvre De Lange.
The Madrid-born sisters founded Le Tramac in 2005 after noticing that many European shops sold only two types of furniture: modern and minimal, or old and stodgy. Eager to fuse the two worlds, they hired a van and traveled to Normandy, where they spent $6,000 on neglected antiques at auctions and flea markets. "Many of the pieces were dirty, or had badly damaged upholstery," says Cassandra, 26, who studied interior design and architecture at university. "It was sad that so many beautiful pieces had been abandoned."
The sisters cleaned up the ailing antiques and turned them into kooky one offs think Vivienne Westwood does Versailles. Since then they have applied that anarchic vision to dozens of items found at auctions and yard sales and even in dumpsters. But they insist each redesign is carried out with respect for the original. "If we find something really old, we'll work with it," says Anouchka, 28, a former theater costume designer. "We'll replace damaged upholstery, but we'd never paint over a genuinely valuable antique."
Those junk-to-funk items including armchairs reupholstered in fluorescent high-gloss pvc ($2,600 each) and elegant chaise longues clad in vibrant strips of velvet ($3,600) sit alongside Day-Glo Louis XIV-style reproductions in Le Tramac's current collection. But Anouchka and Cassandra don't stop at the furniture they discover. E-mail them a picture of your own tired vintage dresser or sagging sofa and the sisters will send back a proposal detailing how they'll reinvent it. Who knows? Maybe in 100 years it'll be an antique in its own right. www.letramac.com
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