aNEOtiques - The Best Places to Find Old Treasures for New Interiors
I've been catching myself in conversation describing the latest design and culture I encounter from New York City to Grand Rapids, Michigan as New Traditional or even Ancient Modern. I see an edge toward a dash of maximalism and a much looser minimalism using creative techniques that showcase interpositions of the old and new. And I can't help but notice how antiques, vintage items and not-so-plain OLD touches are the heartbeat of NEW interiors.
Alex Papachristidis, interior designer of the lavish dining room pictured below that I visited at the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse in NYC, highlights the importance of introducing antiques in his work for the January 2017 issue of Veranda:
"The most important thing for me is that people see the relevance of antiques, including 18th-century furniture," he says. "Why do we make so much new stuff when we've got such beautiful old things?"
Alex Papahristidis - Dining Room at 2016 Kips Bay Decorators Showhouse
If you're new to the antiques market or you're looking to expand your collection, we are here to share with you some of the latest and our favorite places to shop.
Must-Stop Spots for Antiques and Vintage Items
Powerhouse 1stDibs was a forerunner in 2001 for procuring and selling antiques online and now faces new competition from whipper snappers like Decaso and only to-the-trade (meaning sold only to designers, not consumers), Design Carta.
The love of quality and history is showing its feathers. This may stem somewhat from a dissatisfaction with the ailing DIY movement toward fast and frugal in tandem with the improving health of the economic climate. Traditional methods of craftsmanship and quality are in higher demand, and the competition is getting fierce. Whatever the forces, there's a clear re-emerging and increasing respect for the past.
In November of 2016, Design Carta, Decaso, and eBay Collective entered the antiques marketplace following the 2014 launch of InCollect and the 2015 debut of RubyLUX, all online platforms where dealers sell their wares and where designers and consumers can access exclusive listings of coveted antique furnishings and accessories.
DECASO launched in November 2016 with 144 vetted high-end dealers and in time will cap at 500 U.S. dealers.
SWING BY YOUR LOCAL SHOP
Looking for luxury antiques in West Michigan? Meet us at one of our favorite shops where we can help guide you in finding valuable furniture, antiques and artwork for your home or office. Whether you know what you are looking for or you just enjoy the possibility of stumbling across some treasure, these are a few places to watch.
This store's French owner travels to France where she shops and fills a shipping container with French antiques and brings them back to her charming shop in Petoskey, Michigan.
Joie de vie - Petoskey, Michigan
A quaint outfit in Harbor Springs, L'Esprit sells country French antiques that the shop owners gather throughout the French countryside, primarily in the Provence and the Burgundy regions.
This storefront just expanded their space to house more of the amazing finds they collect. From period Chippendale style chairs to amazing Murano glass chandeliers, their inventory is loaded with luxury items for home and garden. Located in New Jersey, just outside of New York City, we visit their shop and can arrange shipping and installation.
TOWN Home & Garden
This relatively new shop in Midland Park, New Jersey offers an eclectic collection of vintage mid-century furniture and artwork. Though antiques are commonly understood to be at least 100 years old (and vintage at least 20 years old), we include the mid-20th century era because iconic midcentury modernspeaks to an age bygone that played an important part in the history of design and craftsmanship that replicas simply can't replace. At Provisions, we look for excellent quality midcentury pieces with provenance and a documented history.
Provisions Home and Garden - Midland Park, New Jersey
Closer to home, Windsor Cottage in the East Hills district of Grand Rapids is a fun shop to visit. Though you may only find a few true antiques, it's in the neighborhood and might just carry something that catches your eye. Plus, you can always break for a macaroon and tea at Le Bon Macaron just a few doors down on Cherry St.
Windsor Cottage, Grand Rapids Michigan — Not into true antiques? NBD! Shops like Windsor offer a mix of newer items and vintage items in pristine condition.
Procuring art and antiques while traveling is an amazing way to add a unique design narrative in your home. When purchasing antiques during travel, make sure you know what price range an item falls in. If it's truly valuable and needs to be insured and appraised, don't take your chances. Ask for official documentation and clear it with an appraiser.
Also, ask yourself if you actually care if an item original or made by a specific manufacturer? Do you want an authentic Saarinen versus something that's cool and retro and just looks mid-century? There's a big difference between wanting something that's truly period and highly valued, or something that you just love and is valuable to you. Something that is authentic tells a story with a documented history and adds value to the piece that just being beautiful doesn't. If you really don't care if it's "worth" anything, then true antiques may not be for you.
When traveling, or looking for antiques anywhere else for that matter, a reputable dealer will help you understand more about the history of a specific item. However, say we went to the Marche Aux Puces flea markets in Paris, France, we would absolutely need to do our research so that we didn't get taken by a dealer who thinks they may be able to take advantage of you.
Marche Aux Puces — Paris, France
Keep in mind if you buy something electrical that it can and likely should be rewired. If it were a rare and highly valued fixture, we would to take it to a specialty electrical restoration outfit rather than your regular lighting repair guy. An antique light fixture would need to be rewired to bring it up to code so that it isn't a fire hazard.
Rare original artwork and frame from the owner's collection. "Family Interior" oil on canvas. German artist, Carl Blos 1860-1941, created in 1800's
Antique andirons in fireplace. Artwork above fireplace is oil on canvas from 1908, British artist William Mellor.
Finding antiques for your home is fun! Either you have a distate for what's old and frankly just see it as junk OR you absolutely love the idea of being able to find something unique, you want to know the story, you want to know the history, you want something that can't be duplicated today. You either have a strong appreciation or you could care less. I ask my clients if they care about antiques and they're either one or the other, there's not much gray. But, if you are among those who are swept away by history and rarity, these new and old platforms, shops, and dealers are great resources that are available to us for procuring exclusive high-end antiques that people with a heart for the past just love.
Looking for a designer to join you in the hunt for an antique item? We are a call away. As part of our luxury lifestyle concierge services, we can help you find, procure and install a piece of history in your home. We’ll scour the best shops, exclusive listings online, and fly with you to France in pursuit of old art, old furniture, old lamps and accessories. For expensive antiques, we’ll make certain those items are independently appraised so that you know the fair value for what you are purchasing. Check out the great aforementioned resources for one-of-a-kind and dare I say timeless antiques.