Referred to by some as “America’s Antique Capital,” Essex, Massachusetts is a playground for antique collectors, dealers, and decorators, with dozens of shops located within just a mile of each other. But knowing where to look and what to look for can be overwhelming. In this episode on CBS New England Living, I joined Rachel Holt to teach her the time-honored art of antiquing, offering up some valuable tips and advice for finding the perfect piece. When it comes to antiquing, you never know what your day will look like, what you will find and where you'll end up. Whether you will get caught up touring different shops or find all of your treasures right off the bat it's very important to be prepared.
What I usually bring:
- Tape measure so that I can make sure that the pieces I am looking at will fit in the space I am designing.
- My notebook which I never leave the studio without.
- Sample fabrics are not a necessity however I love finding older pieces and transforming them into something new and more modern if we need to. For example, if I love a particular chair I but I don't think the current fabric will work well in my client's house, I can test out the textiles that I like and get the piece upholstered.
- I always bring plans for the houses that I am working on. While I may go into a store with one particular project in mind, I may come across something for a different family that I think would work. That way I am killing two birds with one stone.
- Lastly, a well-charged phone. Whether I need to contact my client, find inspiration from past projects, or do some research on safari, you never want to leave your phone behind.
Antiquing can be overwhelming, especially when you aren't sure what you're looking for and where to go. Whether this is your first time embarking on an antiquing adventure or your 50th, I always start the same way.
Walking into the store and following your gut, what do you gravitate towards first? Get acquainted with space, let your eyes wander, and then do another lap around. Oftentimes there is a lot going on in these shops, but you shouldn't be intimidated, look at it as a fun experience. If you're just starting out with antiquing, I recommend that you find that one great piece and start from there. Once you get accustomed to antiquing you will be able to train your eye to go to what you like.
What I always suggest to people is not to be too serious about things. If you have never done this before, make It into a fun day. Especially since I live in one of the best places for antiquing, I love to go out to lunch, meander around town, and poke my head into many different shops to turn this into a really fun day. Even if I don't make a purchase during that specific trip, I at least learn more about my style. There are certain design goals and rules that come into play when working on a project, however, if you find something that you really love you can throw those rules out. When you do that with everything you buy before you know it, your house will be amazing and authentic.
Here is a list of my favorite Antique stores for you to try on the Northshore of Boston.
- David Neligan Antiques in Essex, MA (featured in this episode of CBS NE Living)
- Andrew Spindler Antiques in Essex, MA
- Muzio in Essex, MA
- Main Street Antiques in Essex, MA
For more updates on my antiquing adventures and so much more, follow us on Instagram @kathymarshalldesign