First of three parts on this week's subject: antiques
When Laura Antoniolli of Troy set eyes on one of her friend’s antique dressers that would soon be taken to her driveway to await a donation truck, she yelled, “Stop! No way!” The mother of four whose ancestry is Italian begged her friend to think again. “That old thing? It was in my son’s room. He hates it. It’s scratched, the drawers stick, it’s dark.”
“Then I’ll take it,” Antoniolli replied. And the next thing you know the antiques lover was hauling the old dresser into her home. A few dabs of Howard Restor-A-Finish polish (which she swears by), some new screws, clever accessories for the top and a delightful spot in her den made the old dresser extremely appealing in its new home.
For Antoniolli, an antiques aficionado, the value of the dresser — and many antiques — is measured in joy, not dollars. “It has history, it wasn’t made in China and if its drawers could talk...” She’s also about the hunt. “Recently, we discovered an antique walnut desk in the trash in our neighborhood,” Antoniolli recalled. “We hauled it home, called a restorer and $275 later, we’ve got a gorgeous refinished desk.”
Antoniolli’s outlook is all about an appreciation for heritage and craftsmanship. But that’s where the “appreciation” factor pretty much ends, for now anyway, as antiques in general are facing more of a depreciation in value, reports Kiplinger magazine, which coined the drop as an eBay effect whereby once-scarce items now flood the online auction sites. Add to that the economic downturn in which folks started selling whatever they could to scrape up money to pay their, say, mortgage, and you get a decline in the collectibles and antiques market.
That said, there still are some very hot items right now, reported Harry Rinker, a Michigan-based national antiques and collectibles expert who is the former host of Collector Inspector, a weekly show devoted to seeking out antiques and collectibles in private hmes, on Home & Garden Television (HGTV).
“French and early American antiques are hot,” said Rinker, a frequent television and radio guest. His television credits include Oprah, Home Matters, The Martha Stewart Show, Inside Edition and others. “And among younger collectors, the modern retro look is in. That would be post 1945, post WW II … a hot look in home design.”
A great spot to check out furnishings from this era is at the Antiques Centre of Troy. On any given day, you’re apt to see round-top tables, a 1950s Swedish cabinet, wood and metal armchairs from the 1950s, and other mid-century beauties.
Andrea Sperl of Huntington Woods is all about Midcentury modern. Sperl's parents are antiques dealers in Davison and often spot pieces for their daughter and son-in-law’s home.
“They know we like retro pieces,” Sperl said, including her Midcentury Modern Heywood Wakefield dining room table, chairs and side table. “I like 1940s and 1950s styles,” Andrea added.
Rinker observes that brand names are selling, too. “People are paying for brand, whether it’s right or wrong isn’t debatable. Brand sells.” As does nostalgia, especially for Antoniolli.