'Old' is the new 'New'
local hotspots for antique furniture and decor
This past summer while hitting up local rummage sales with my husband and parents, I made the find of the day when I stumbled across a magnificently old but perfectly solid chair. I loved it immediately; with its very worn but original yellow cushion, delicately carved legs and arm rests, and intricately weaved wooden circles for the backing, I thought it looked very sophisticated and classic – and it was only five bucks!
I showed it to my dad. “Really?” he said, when I told him how cool I thought it looked. “My grandmother had that exact chair. Every old house I went into as a kid had that chair!” He shook his head and laughed. I believe he also called it ugly.
He, obviously, lacked the vision, I thought. Despite his limited praise, I brought it home anyway and stuck it along the wall under a few of my husband’s framed movie posters and sat it next to our record player ... where it looked awesome. My parents came to visit a few weeks later, and my dad was the first to comment on how it didn’t look so much like his grandma’s worn old chair in our more modern living room. Alongside newer pieces, the chair took on a fabulous new life.
In an age where terms like vintage and going green are used in fashionable and everyday conversations, turning to antiques for interior design can give a chic, classic feel to any room. And we are fortunate to be in an area rife with history, where it is possible for one to come across an old chair just like the one your great-grandmother owned, or perhaps discover old treasures to spice up the ordinary. Whether you have a specific piece in mind or are just looking for a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon scooping up treasures, the Valley has many great hot-spots to check out:
Antique Emporium (306 Main St, Eau Claire) offers one of the largest selections of old etchings, wood engravings, lithographs, and paper ephemera in the Midwest. Along with an extensive selection of prints, books, and paper items, one can also find sculptures, furniture, old artifacts, and other unique items from various origins. This two-story building (plus mezzanine) offers plenty room to explore, and you can also check out many of their items online.
Cheshire Farms Antiques (E10415 Cty Rd D, Fall Creek) reopens this summer after a short hiatus. Open by chance or appointment, Cheshire Farms features country antiques alongside paintings, prints, furniture, and vintage jewelry. Visitors can also purchase fresh chicken eggs and seasonal plants, making this trip to the picturesque country a truly one-of-a-kind antiquing experience.
Dell’s Architectural Antiques (121 Maple St, Eau Claire) is Wisconsin’s largest supplier and dealer of architectural antiques and salvage construction pieces. Dell’s specializes in remodeling old homes from the mid 19th century, and takes anything and everything original remaining from the homes to sell. With over 12,000 sq. ft. of space to display over 10,000 items – from doorknobs and stained glass windows, to a room filled with old porcelain bathtubs – Dell’s has anything one desires for the home.
Gypsy Maefly (Suite 214 of Banbury Place’s Building 13) is a collection of four local artisan vendors (Gypsy Floral, Orvetta Mae’s, Damsel Fly, and Rivercat Beadworks). Among their merchandise are repurposed antiques for home decor – things like old doors, picture frames, mirrors, and dressers. Many of the classic pieces have been enhanced to match styles of today, like an antique door turned message center when fitted with an old chalkboard panel.
Picket Fence Antique Mall (501 N High St, Chippewa Falls) emphasizes the ways in which antiques can be up-cycled into modern pieces, while still maintaining their classic appeal. Featuring collectible, primitive, and shabby chic items, Picket Fence is a great place to find unique pieces to reuse, repurpose, recycle, and reclaim as your own.
Piney Hills Antiques (5260 Deerfield Road, Eau Claire) will celebrate 24 years of business this July. Piney Hills features a little bit of everything, but focuses on older antiques, with many items 75 to 100 years old. A charming setting with two buildings – one solely for bigger pieces of furniture – Piney Hills is a great place to discover various antiques in great condition.
The Shed (1519 Mayer Road, Altoona) is home to over 38 different dealers, all under one roof. Open seven days a week – a major score in the world of antiquing – The Shed has a wide variety of items, from collectibles and primitives to older pieces from the early 19th century. The Shed also sells liquidates and permanent items along with their antiques, smartly pairing new and old in unique ways.
Other local spots to check out include Eclectica On Grand, Engelwood Antiques, River Trader Antiques, Jean’s Antiques and Collectibles, The Monthly Market, and Retro Distortion. Thrift stores like Savers, Hope Gospel, and Goodwill are often teaming with antique pieces at stellar prices, and with summer right around the corner, local garage sales often feature the widest variety of items at some of the greatest prices to add a classic feel with a modern twist to any home.