The joy of living with beautiful objects is accessible to us all. But for the hunt to be fun, it is helpful to have the right attitude and a few handy tips.
I love this little distressed wicker table, and realize it is probably less than 100 years old. It’s also in far-from-perfect condition — which is part of its charm.
This would be a great little table between two chairs in my living room. I have exactly the right antique blue and white porcelain lamp, a stack of old leather books and a silver bowl that would look perfect arranged just so on top of it.
But when you’re collecting antiques, patience will make you happier in the long run. If you love to collect pitchers, for example, don’t just buy every pitcher you see. Rather, buy the best you can afford, even if it means you buy only one every few years. I happen to love the one pictured here, and would have been glad to have passed up several to be able to get it. (And I’ve got roses in my tiny garden that would love to be displayed in it.)
A store is going to put its best foot forward, so if what you see in the window doesn’t appeal, just keep walking (or driving). If the displays consist mostly of obvious reproductions, or glassware and dishes from the 1960s and ’70s, I’m not interested. But if I see something from the 18th or 19th century, and some great ceramics, and a few beautifully framed pictures … I’m hooked.
The same criteria work for garage sales, but in their case I don’t even have to get out of the car. All I need is a quick glance, and I will pass on most of them. But I’ve had enough experience to know that sometimes greatness lurks in a driveway.
Uniqueness is a major indicator that I’ve found a good resource. For instance, this beautifully made, elegant Victorian ebonized music stand makes me want to look further. This is a store that has something beyond the everyday.
More: Antiques Shopping? Let Love Gui