How To Think Like A Collector When It Comes To Antiques


Collectors across the nation sound off on buying trends and favorite treasures.

Michael Trapp Studio

Michael Trapp, Michael Trapp Antiques
West Cornwall, Connecticut

Pay him a visit for: 16th– to 20th-century textiles, furniture, carpets, ceramics, natural history, blown glass, paintings, chandeliers and the like. Latest score: A large cache of 16th-century Ming Swatow porcelain plates from a shipwreck recently discovered off the coast of Sumatra. I covered the walls of my sitting room with over 300 of them. Timeless means: Good proportion, quality materials, solid construction and a nice patina. Playing favorites: Tuareg carpets from Mauritania. I’m crazy about them. Hot ticket item: I’ve been selling a lot of Dutch Colonial furniture from the 19th and 20th century lately—simple pieces with strong lines made from tropical hardwoods. Mantra: I live in a beautiful part of the world and search the world for beautiful objects. It doesn’t matter who made it or when, just that it is beautiful.

Ruth Davis, Found
Houston, Texas

In-store: Conversation pieces with personality—unique furnishings, new and vintage art, and creative accessories. Personal aesthetic: I’m drawn to antiques with a contemporary feel and look for pieces with very clean lines. That being said, I also love rococo. It’s all about the mix. Signature pieces: Mirrors. Even in a contemporary house, an antique mirror looks fresh in a powder room with a modern wallpaper, and we sell a lot of them. We also love a great gilt wood chair which we’ll usually upholster in something fun, like a chartreuse felt. Design two cents: I hope that people will not settle for their neighbor’s house but be open to something unique and different. The designer Miles Redd once said that the success of a project depends on how many “yesses” he gets. My advice is to hire a great designer and say “yes” a lot.

Casa Gusto

Cris Briger and Charles Peed, Casa Gusto
West Palm Beach, Florida

Old with new: In addition to antiques and art, we offer exclusive contemporary pieces, including Mexican Talavera pottery, papier-mâché botanicals and ceramic dishware. We want the experience to be one-of-a-kind. Recent favorite: We just bought a circa 19th-century carved Irish mahogany settee, which arrived in a very stiff and serious baby blue silk. We reupholstered it in a brown stripe and added chocolate colored ribbons for some spunk. Totally Pride and Prejudice worthy. Secret sauce: Our method of upholstery often matches an opposing fabric to a piece. A formal bench may be upholstered in a mattress ticking to change the attitude—rather like a day dress for evening. Why buy antique: Furniture, like architecture, should pass the test of time. It needs to evoke where and when it came from and bring a story to a room.

PHOTOS: michael trapp antiques, courtesy stephanie de luca. found, karen sachar. casa gusto, courtesy charles peed, casa gusto.