Did you have a formula for your showroom in LA?
No, I want to have a constantly changing showroom that always offers a pleasant surprise. I do not want a shop that is jammed full with mediocre antiques and sold as if they were commodities. I do not want a shop that is fluffy and without substance. On the other hand, I do not want an intimidating shop that is intimidating and dear. I want an eclectic yet classic shop with stylish antiques that stand on their own without being stuffy. I want a shop that is consistent but not predictable.
What makes your shop eclectic?
I like a vast array of superb objects and works of art from different periods, economic strata and cultures in fresh contexts to create environments that disdain the trendy and ordinary. I like using different, almost opposing items that interrupt spatial planes creating juxtapositions. It is unexpected and memorable. Done properly, it is also pleasing and harmonious. I also like to take objects with exceptional shape and scale out of context to make them feel like sculptural works of art.
You seem to have a lot of architectural objects. Why?
I like to include exceptional architectural elements. They provide scale and make a statement. They are also a lot of bang for the buck!
What do you look for in an antique?
I look for form, function, style and integrity.
- Form - something that is made out of the best materials has perfect lines, scale, proportions, color and the right patina.
- Function - something that I can live with, use and touch.
- Style - something that is of superior quality, fashionable and beautiful to look at and enjoy.
- Integrity - something that is upright, honest and sound... something I feel confident investing in and owning.
With the proper combination of all these qualities, I can be certain that the antiques I live with and sell will be timeless fixtures in a home adding a sense of individuality, depth, character and above all, a joy to own.
What makes antiques so special?
Beauty. Good antiques have a depth of color, patina and stylish qualities that only come with age. These qualities provide a sense of style that is timeless.
A Piece of History. Every antique has a story. Antiques are a reflection of a particular period of time in which they came from. The form and style will reflect a political, social, economic period. This history provides a sense of depth and reputation.
Investment. In the disposable world in which we live today, it is a good feeling to be curator of a piece that has survived the changing times. With that survival comes value. The value may change depending on the time and place but one thing is certain, it has survived the test of time, is permanent and will always have value.
Uniqueness. Most antiques are one of a kind. In many cases they were hand made from hand selected materials. Furthermore, they evolved over time. They were used in various environments and cared for in different ways. They may have been used a lot or cherished as a special gift. Whatever the case, they are unique and provide a sense of individuality to your home.
Why are antiques so popular in today's interiors?
No matter what the environment, there is always a place for antiques. Whether, it's juxtapositioning or following a theme, everyone yearns for some degree of traditionalism in their environment... and antiques are a great source for traditionalism. I think what we are seeing today is that people are finding fresh new ways to express traditionalism in non-traditional ways. People are having fun with antiques. They are realizing that they're antiques do not have to be predictable and stuffy. They can be quirky, fun and bold while at the same time friendly, familiar and comfortable to live with.
Much of your work involves decorating; do you consider yourself a decorator?
My background is in antiques. I am foremost an antiquarian. Furthermore, I am an adventurous and eclectic collector. This knowledge of historical decorative arts combined with my passion for collecting timeless objects from different eras has evolved into the creation of environments. I enjoy utilizing exceptional style from the past to create unique and beautiful spaces for the present and future. Therefore, I will accept the occasional project (no more than one a year) that peaks my interest. However, I prefer to focus my energy on being an outstanding resource for others in the design community. I am fortunate to work with the most talented designers in the country.
Do you ever accept interior design work?
I am happy to help clients with specific needs. However, with the exception of a single project that inspires me every year or two, I leave design projects to the designers. I am fortunate to be a resource for the nations leading interior designers. I am confident that any private client who needs a designer will be in good hands with any of these very talented designers who frequent and purchase from my showroom.
Do you find the business competitive?
I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best sources for antiques in the country. I am sure my clients find them just as inspiring as I do. This inspiration creates an energy that is a win-win situation for everyone.
What is your advice to someone just starting out buying antiques?
Treasure the timeless and disdain the trendy. Shop everywhere until you understand your likes and dislikes. Avoid spending money on common things that you buy for the wrong reason. Avoid the ordinary. Do not buy to impress. Do not buy something because somebody else likes it or has it. Do not buy something because it is cheap. Do not buy a compromising imitation of something you love. I have never had anyone in the end feel ripped off, no matter how much they spent, for a unique item that they love and will enjoy for many, many years.