Where to Find the Best Antiques
Local collectors share their favorite shops, auction houses and more. Plus a few pro tips.
When it comes to antiques shopping, it often pays to see and touch the goods in person, Sigwalt says: “You’ll know whether or not a piece is in good condition and of good quality if it’s sturdy when you sit in it.” The same goes for items that have drawers; open and close all of them to make sure they’re operating smoothly, and look for dovetailed drawer fronts and cabinet doors that are properly aligned.
Up for a road trip? Leesburg is a vintage-shop mecca, and the granddaddy of them all is The Old Lucketts Store (luckettstore.com), a refurbished 18th-century general store that houses dozens of vendors selling vintage (and vintage-looking) items for home and garden. Open seven days a week, Lucketts also hosts periodic events such as design houses, flea markets and paint classes. Pro tip: Bring a truck to haul your loot and a checkbook to save 10 percent off your purchase.
Down the road, On a Whim (www.facebook.com/pinksilo) has everything from “painted furniture to grandma’s attic antiques at great prices,” Holland says. Its next-door neighbor, Rust and Feathers (rustandfeathers.com), sells shabby-chic furniture and accessories from several vendors in the region, including Ekster Antiques (www.eksterantiques.com), whose “natural, reclaimed and recycled” European and Scandinavian furnishings make it a designer favorite.
Rehab and DIY
Bargain hunters will, of course, find a world of antique goodies on websites such as eBay, Etsy, Chairish, EBTH and 1stdibs. But with a caveat: You need to know what you’re looking for and be willing to accept a piece as-is, given that online shopping doesn’t afford the chance to kick the tires. Moreover, online sellers don’t always know the pedigree or era of the items they’re selling, or even the correct terminology. It helps to use creative search terms to suss out unusual items and whittle down the options. “Sometimes I do a search for a detail, like a leg style or color. I might search yellow or orange if I’m looking for something from the ’70s,” says Sigwalt.