An antique critique– the country’s best antique stores
If you think that the word “antique” automatically means “old” or “worn out,” you’re missing out on a wonderful way to outfit your home with trend proof, valuable pieces that can mix well with modern items and styles.
In a land of factory-made pieces that lack personality, antiques add character and depth to a space already outfitted with more stock items. Older pieces bring out the best in new pieces and vice versa. When it comes to introducing antique furniture pieces to your contemporary pieces, contrast is always a good thing.
Antique furniture is generally very well made and made from hand. Scuffs and imperfections are usually celebrated elements for antique furniture pieces, and considered marks of the furniture’s journey before making it to your home. Another big bonus in buying antique furniture is that antiques are recycled, reused, and the ultimate in green, eco-friendly shopping. What’s more, antiques that are well cared for retain their value or even go up in value over time, so buying an antique piece can do more than fill a space in your home; it can also be a wise investment.
Ready to venture out into the wide world of antique furniture shopping? Lucky for you, the country is graced with a variety of fine antique stores specializing in antiques from around the world. Here are a few of the best antique stores in the United States.
With an original 1,000-foot showroom location in Washington DC’s historic Georgetown neighborhood at the site of the Francis Scott Keyes home, and a second location in Palm Beach, Cote Jardin Antiques boasts a large selection of French antique furniture and decorative antiques for home and garden. Thanks to the owner’s experience of owning a “maison secondaire” in Provence, Cote Jardin specializes in 18th and 19th century pieces, including Louis XV, Louis XVI, Directoire and Empire. The store also carries select Continental pieces, Swedish Gustavian furniture, and Biedermeier, as well as a very large selection of cast iron and faux bois garden furniture and ornaments.
Opened in 1939 as a prop house for Broadway shows, Newel in East Midtown Manhattan continues to supply period furniture and other objects for the motion picture and television industries today, with noted features in The Godfather to Boardwalk Empire. Housed in a six story building in East Midtown Manhattan, Newel has showcases more than 10,000 works from the 17th and 20th century mined from around the world, as well as specializes in reproductions and original pieces. The family owned gallery, currently in its fourth generation of ownership, is also a noted source for fine retailers’ window displays.
The San Franciscan source for 17th and 18th century Continental furniture, Italian period furniture and Mediterranean antiquities, Foster-Gwin is nestled in historic mid-19th century stables in Jackson Square, San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood and premier art and antiques destination. Foster-Gwin holds a special knack for mixing its antique furniture offerings with superb San Francisco Bay Area Abstract Expressionist art and Roman and Greek details, a combination both striking and unique. Foster-Gwin’s carefully edited collection showcases the very best in originality and design.
Melding antique and modern furniture in a 100-year-old warehouse in Houston’s Historic Heights District, Installations Antiques also houses a custom workshop, from which industrial creations are born. With one owner hailing from the Netherlands and sourcing from Europe, the shop offers both American and European antiques, with an emphasis on Belgian pieces and repurposed treasures. Sprinkled amid European primitives and American pieces, such repurposed finds as a vintage mail cart remodeled into a rolling laundry hamper, lie in wait to be discovered.
Atlanta’s source for French, Spanish, and Italian antiquities, Provenance creates a nostalgic European street fair in its 13,000-square-foot warehouse stocked with a mix of furniture periods, materials, and styles. Provenance specializes in 18th, 19th, and 20th century European antique furniture, decorative objects, and lighting. One of Atlanta Westside’s first antique stores, Provenance is beloved for its high-style furniture meets relaxed European style, as well as the fact that owners hand-select and directly import each piece from European markets, estates, and shops.
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