By LAURI GROSS
A casual stroll near the window of an antiques store might lead a passer-by to think of the display as a static moment in time. In reality, however, that display is likely to be quite dynamic and full of surprises.
For instance, Ron Greenwald, owner of Greenwald Antiques in Woodmere (GreenwaldAntiques.com) looks around his showroom and says, “Every day is different here. People’s tastes change and many are going for an eclectic look. They like to add a little something of pop art or something older.” He adds, “We’ve just been on a couple major buying trips and new things are coming in all the time. It’s very exciting. Plus, the shop has been re-done and we are now curated. We are kicking it up a notch.”
With society still recovering from the shut-in phase of the pandemic, Ron says people are definitely looking to change-up their home décor.
He says that adding an antique item – or several –adds an interesting layer to more traditional style.
Legendary and nationally known antiques and collectibles expert Terry Kovel, along with her late husband, Ralph, founded the ShakerHeights-based Kovels Antiques, Inc. The pair has won Emmy awards, published books and syndicated columns, had their own TV shows and more. In September, Terry will publish the 55th edition of Kovels Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2023. (Details at Kovels.com.) Today, Terry sees an uptick in the number of young people interested in antiques. “People who are collecting now are younger with a percentage very interested in history and others interested in furnishing a house,” she observes.
At his store, Ron also meets shoppers interested in antiques for a variety of reasons. “We have everything from 18th century to modern to Laverne furniture,” he says, referring to creations by Philip Laverne, a New York-based designer who gained fame in the 1960s and 70s. “We have English, Asian, French, Italian,” Ron ticks off as he describes how the constantly evolving store is now arranged in sections that make it easy for people to find things that match their style and taste.
Speaking specifically about the Laverne pieces, Ron says, “We are seeing these (coffee tables and other items) hit the market more and we can’t keep them in stock. We are buying directly from private homes. Through the years, these pieces were sold through Cleveland’s fine design studios or decorators.”
In addition to antiques stores, Terry adds that flea markets, yard sales, church sales, consignment stores, thrift stores and estate/house sales are also good places to find antiques and collectible items that might be just what your home needs. While valuable period pieces are best left in their original state, Terry says, “The younger collector is not afraid to change an object to match their decorating scheme.” This can include modifying a piece with chalk paint, removing doors, changing hardware or completely reconfiguring a piece into something with a whole new purpose.
For example, Amy Hardacre, owner of the Secret Garden Antiques in Aurora recently sold an antique wash stand (or dry sink) to someone who intended to turn it into a coffee bar in their century home that was destined to become a bed and breakfast. “We don’t have upholstered furniture,” Amy says, “but we have smaller items like tables and chairs,” that, she explains are often perfect accent pieces, especially in mid-century or older homes. Amy’s collections of mid-century barware are also popular, she adds.
Describing two teen-aged sisters who recently visited her store, Amy says she is seeing more young people interested in antiques. These girls, Amy explains, asked their dad to take them antique shopping, and he did. “Antiques run in cycles,” Amy adds. “And I think we’re seeing more people across the board coming in just to see what’s in antiques stores.”
Peggy Martines of Martines’Antiques (at the Gallery on Washington Street, in Chagrin Falls) says the antiques market is quite unpredictable. “For the most part, it is purely emotional until a great deal of money is spent on a single item and then the justification starts,” she explains as she describes shoppers who make selections that they feel are a bargain, or that just fit their space. Rather than justify, however, Peggy thinks shoppers are better advised to simply look for what they like. “A better answer,” she says, is “It pleases me.” Peggy goes on to quote her mother-in-law who told her: You can have your morning tea in a paper cup, or you can go to a garage sale and buy a fine bone China cup and saucer for $3 and you will start the day in a very different way. Peggy concludes, “If you can explain why this happens, then you will have the answers to the antique market.”