Breathe New Life Into Family Heirlooms

Having lost my mother when I was young, I cherish things that were hers—no matter how ordinary. Using or looking at them evokes her presence. But not all those items have withstood the test of time, and that’s where updating or remaking them becomes an elegant solution. For example, I repurposed the fabric from my mother’s intricate bargello piano bench cover into two pillows. Have some heirlooms of your own just gathering dust in your attic or sitting forgotten in a drawer? Here are some ways to update them. 


Is an old, stodgy fur coat of your grandmother’s taking up room in your closet? Transform it into a hip vest, cape, or even bolero jacket at Maximilian at Bloomingdale’s Fur
in White Plains (; 914–997-9669).

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Remake Great Aunt Tillie’s engagement ring into an elegant brooch, or turn Grandpa’s cufflinks into one-of-a-kind earrings at Landsberg Jewelers ( in Rye Brook (914-510-8920) and White Plains (914-761-1122), and Bijou of Katonah in Katonah (; 914-401-9264).

Wedding Gowns 

Restyle Mom’s wedding dress or incorporate a piece of its fabric into your new gown. Carmela’s Tailoring in Mount Kisco (914-666-7737) and Dolores Tailoring in Port Chester (914-690-1455) can sew a swatch of it inside your dress as “something old” or refashion it into an especially meaningful veil, headpiece, or shrug. 

Handkerchiefs & Other Keepsakes

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Give a cherished hankie or other keepsake, like a special evening bag, a place of honor by having it framed shadowbox style at Rye Art Gallery & Framing (914-967-5645). A beautifully framed item can bring back cherished memories.

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