Have you ever heard of architectural salvage? If you are looking to build or restore a house, or even decorate an existing home, you may want to check this out. Mike Thompson, manager of The Old House Parts Company in Kennebunk, Maine, refers to his architectural salvage company as “Recycling to its utmost. Our outlook is that we’re as green as it gets.” With the current state of the economy and the push for greener, more eco-friendly living, comes architectural salvage. “Antique materials made from the time when things were meant to last forever, and not be disposable,” said Thompson. Whether it’s stained glass, kitchen counters or unique woodwork, The Old House Parts Company offers a unique way to appreciate and collect antiques.
With antiques being a major market in New England, many dealers and shops are highly specialized. “This day and age, you have to change,” said Donna Welch, owner of From Out of the Woods Antique Center in Goffstown, N.H. Welch keeps the people in her community, and patrons from across the country, excited about antiques by offering eight-week antiques and collectibles classes. With six different instructors and topics covering all areas of antiques, the classes have been a huge success. From Out of the Woods is a three-story barn from the 1800s filled with unique antiques, as well as pieces made by Welch that she calls “infusion” – including a broken chair made into a dish rack. “Americana will hold its value forever,” said Welch, “[Antiques] are a part of history, it will never be over, it will only change.”
New Hampshire magazine awarded this year’s honor of Best Rural Antique Shop to Potato Barn Antique Center in Lancaster, N.H. The largest shop in Northern New Hampshire, Potato Barn Antique Center specializes in old tools, vintage clothing, costume jewelry and Aladdin lamps. “We are a destination shop,” said owner Mark Yelle, “large enough to spend a bit of time.”
Bournebrook Antique Center, located in the four-block, 13-store antique district in Troy, N.Y., offers collectors 52 dealers and 20,000 square feet of antiques. Owner Mike Davis calls the store “Eclectically representative from all areas.” The antique center has been in business for eight years and notices a recent trend in factory and industrial décor. “Plan to spend a couple hours, coming here is like a museum – it will take you back in time,” said Davis.
If you love antiques, and you love New York, The Manhattan Art and Antiques Center is a must. The nation’s largest antique center can be found Second Avenue at 56th Street in mid-Manhattan, surrounded by apartments and ground-level antique shops. “We have the finest quality, widest variety and best value all under one roof,” says Stephen Roedler, director of The Center. The three level urban mall caters to the discerning consumer, serious collector, investor, antiques buff, designer, architect or tourist looking for the perfect, surprisingly affordable gift, said Hillary White.
Open since 1975, the center has over 100 galleries with shops including everything from African sculpture, Japanese and Chinese art, antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries, silver, glass, china, porcelains, furniture, pottery, masks, rugs, blankets, beadwork and paintings – the selection is endless. “We helped preserve the original shopping flavor of the area and we provided New York City with a unique and revitalizing cultural asset,” Roedler said.
Russell Godman Jr., a second-generation antique dealer, opened Keystone on the Hudson more than 10 years ago in Hudson, N.Y., with a focus on architectural elements, religious statuary, garden furniture and eccentricities. Godman travels throughout the Northeast and Central America, especially Guatemala, where he works with fair-trade dealers. For collectors, there is a large ethnographic collection including slingshots and masks – pieces still used by the indigenous people.
For the past 27 years, Gail and Rich Mellin have been serving Connecticut as experts in Chinese export porcelain. With a focus on Canton porcelain, their shop, Mellin Antiques, in Redding, Conn., offers collectors the best in all things blue and white. “We have a passion for blue and white … we study each piece for the variance and differences,” said Gail Mellin. The husband-and-wife team understands that they have a very important role in the field because there are no records of Canton porcelain. The piece-to-see currently is a pair of rare, 21-inch, 1800s fish tanks made with custom stands. Used for decorative purposes, Gail explained that the English called the fish tanks “footbaths” but they were really fish tanks.
Motivated by a love for antiques, Steve and Lorraine German opened Mad River Antiques in North Granby, Conn., in 2001. “We’ve gained a reputation for having a discriminating eye as well as the ability to seek out rare and unusual items to offer our customers,” said Lorraine German. Although Mad River Antiques has a large variety of antiques, they specialize in stoneware, baskets and textiles. They cater to those “looking for that very special item.” Mad River Antiques is open by appointment year-round and can be seen at antique shows throughout New England.
Smugglers Notch Antiques in Jeffersonville, Vt., deals primarily in antique and custom furniture. “We have 12,000 square feet of meticulously restored antique country furniture and custom pine, cherry, and tiger maple furniture from some of New England’s top cabinet makers,” said owner Bette Mann. The antique center is located in a converted dairy barn, with 35 independent antique dealers. Look for Vermont gifts, fine crafts, penny candies, and country furniture.
For 30 years Marie Miller has been keeping Vermont warm with her business, Marie Miller Antique Quilts. “I love the color and design; they are works of art,” said Miller, about her quilts. Located in quaint Dorset, Vt., Antique Quilts offers excellent-condition, usable country quilts from across the nation. “We’ve been doing it for so long that the quilts find me now!” said Miller.