Shabby Chic to Antique
● By Sandie Tillery
What's Old is New AgainJanuary 2007
By Sandie Tillery
My daughter and I took a journey recently and rediscovered the joy of the hunt, or in my
case, the wonder and serendipity of the find.With falling gas prices, we felt like it was again
reasonable to head out on a hunt for treasures in unexpected places. Several trips later, we had
developed a completely new idea about where to shop for gifts, furnishings, jewelry and
clothes – places that offer quality, originality and good prices – without the flush and fluster we
often feel while mall shopping.
They are listed in the yellow pages of phone books under such headings as Antiques,
Collectibles, Consignments, Curios,Thrift Shops, Gift Shops, Second-hand Stores, Auction
Houses, and Flea Markets.We narrowed our recent hunt to some of the “antique” shops that
fall along a convenient route from north to south on or near Interstate 5.
Serious purveyors and purchasers of truly valuable old things learn through time, experience
and research where to look – and what to look for – if they want to invest or collect for long-term value.
Books and periodicals abound for anyone interested in the general topic of antiques,
as well as specific collectibles.We discovered four free periodicals on our journey for aficionados of the art of antiquing, offering everything from calendars of upcoming events to classes on appraising. Lynette Helle, who in past years dealt in antiques professionally in Southern California, has learned how to recognize value in her finds and uses price comparison and eBay activity to help determine current values. Helle recommends browsing through antique stores to find items of interest and then familiarizing yourself with those things, looking for that one special find that you can’t live without. A search on eBay before buying can help determine a fair price. “Don’t forget,” she said, “dealers are often willing to negotiate.”
Antique and collectibles vendors gather at antique shows all over the country all year long.
Twin Bridges Antique Productions promotes antique shows throughout Northern California.
Check out the two shows in Redding in 2007 at the Mt. Shasta Mall scheduled for January 25- 28 and September 6-9.
Those of us who just like what we like and feel good about a purchase no matter what we end
up paying for it can find the most delightful treasures hidden amongst a bountiful display of
interesting and sometimes truly weird stuff. Come, join us on our treasure hunt.
The North End of our Journey. Halford’s Antiques and Mt. Shasta Antiques & Collectibles.
Both shops are owned and run by avid collectors.Though one is on the main street and one
tucked behind the firehouse, their collections of vintage and antique items offer something for
everyone. My daughter and a friend discussed the simplicity and usefulness of some of the older cordless kitchen utensils, the durability (and dollar value) of the cast iron pots and pans, well used and ready to be reintroduced to someone’s kitchen.We took great care as we walked past old oak buffets covered with hand-crocheted doilies and laid out with Havil and Limoges china, glossy with lovely floral patterns in many color schemes.One shop has an elegant European feel, while the other more resembles my aunt’s farmhouse.
Heading back down the mountain, our journey took us to Dunsmuir, where we stopped first at Pam’s Place. This home, bed& breakfast, boutique reeks of former beauty “repurposed” and enjoyed again. Pam took us on a private tour of her kitchen and front room. Like stepping back to the turn of the century, Pam and husband Kevin, passionately persuaded us of the wisdom in furnishing with quality “old” pieces that last for a hundred years and more, standing up to family use and adding beauty that lasts from generation to generation. Pam’s Place is a packed shop of new, old, handmade, and unique gift items. Pam said it’s the boutique that draws in the customers who then discover the worn and wonderful vintage and antique items she intersperses throughout her shop.
Down the street and around the corner we found Boxcar Gallery recovering from a recent water leak. Linda, a former Peace Corps volunteer to Africa, has merged her love of African curios and artwork with vintage and antique items of local origin, sprinkled liberally with railroad-related memorabilia. An interesting story about the artist featured in her gallery of African-themed watercolors lured me deeper into the gallery to enjoy the variety and diversity of her collection.Half the fun of shopping for old things is in their stories. Take the baby grand piano pushed back in the corner away from the wet carpet. January 2007 Enjoy 20 Shoppers who come in frequently share stories about their memories of the band and the piano player who once frequented local nightspots.
Our excursion to the upper end of the valley. Shasta Lake City south to Oasis Road is rich with antique shops. Mel’s Antique Mall sits smack in the middle of what some bill as Northern California’s antique row along Cascade Boulevard. Several vendors sublet space in this 12,000-square-foot, two-story building.On either side of Mel’s Antique Mall and all along Cascade Boulevard, we drove past shops with exteriors both old and dilapidated or fresh and alluring, some with home and garden décor or boutique type gifts along with old relics.
Just as we dipped down the hill on a detour along North Market Street, we spied Miracle Mile Mercantile that, over the years, has morphed from an import and gift shop into an antique and collectibles treasure trove housing everything from Matchbox cars to weathered fishing tackle. Speaking with Barbara, one of the family members who inherited the store from their parents, I learned how collecting has become a family tradition. The store contains remnants of basement finds from their parents and grandparents, as well as collections purchased long ago for investment.
A bit off the main road and into Redding.We visited Robin’s Nest on Eureka Way in Redding based on a tip from another shop owner. Nestle in amongst TR Lauerman’s Office Supplies, we found Robin’s eclectic collection of art glass, jewelry and antiques. Robin’s treasures
spilled over from home to their business, especially when she started doing estate sales.
Lori’s Antiques and Consignments on Park Marina Drive is billed as a “full service antique mall” with several vendors displaying their collections. Lori has a rich history living with antiques from early in her life when she spent time at her grandparents’ antique shop in Paradise. Lori graciously educated us about antiques. Generally, antiques are older than 100 years. Anything more recent (25 years or older)might be considered vintage. Items that are really, really old are considered antiquities. “Every old thing holds a memory for someone,” she said.
Lori described hers as a “store of wants and desires” rather than a store of necessity. She considers the North State shops to be a treasure source that has yet to be truly discovered. People pay big bucks in the chic antique shops in the cities but Lori explained (and other vendors agreed), here in our area shoppers can find equally wonderful treasures of the same value, but for better prices.
Wrapping up in Anderson.Marigold Antique & Collectibles Mall in the Gateway Center in Anderson has a light airy feeling in a very organized mercantile-type store. Treasures galore are found along every well-displayed aisle from dishes to dolls, jewelry to tools.Here we even found a section of old cookbooks and a variety of books about antiques. Though we ended here, other little side street shops in this area held promise of old and new treasures.
On our treasure hunt, we discovered more than just old stuff. Creative, passionate people with diverse backgrounds and rich histories of their own tend to be the holders of memories, whether their own or those of others. The most helpful shop owners and most interesting people were those who enjoyed sharing their stories and their knowledge with us, educating us as we delved into their histories and dug into their treasure chests.
Unlike on eBay, antique shops transport the shopper back in time and invite a walk along memory lane. As Lori said, “Shopping in an antique store is a very sensory experience.”We’ll be traveling along that lane again soon.