It’s a trend that seems to be on the rise: antiquing.
Popularized by many HGTV shows, buying antique or used furniture and other vintage items can reduce your carbon footprint and give you the chance to decorate your home with unique quality, items that last over time.
Antique or vintage items are often one of a kind, giving your home a special look that stands out from mass-produced furniture. Buying antiques is also kind to the environment, saving more items from the dump and giving old things a second life.
Aldona Gerrior, owner and proprietor of Granny’s Antiques in Antigonish, notes that buying antiques can also be an investment in solid wood furniture that has stood the test of time.
“People have started thinking that they should be using the old furniture – it’s solid wood and it’s been in use for generations. It will last. Otherwise, it will all go to the dump," Gerrior says.
Several local antique shops offer unique treasures and opportunities for customers to explore.
To many, it’s the memories that draw them in.
“People like our shop because it’s a walk down memory lane," says Gerrior. "It brings them back. They can walk around and see something that grandma had. People tell me, ‘It’s like being in grandma’s kitchen.’” Customers often buy items that remind them of grandparents or times gone by, she adds. Granny’s Antiques offers antiques and vintage items, homemade preserves, maple and honey products as well as salsa and pepper jelly.
Gerrior notes that she sells a lot of depression glass and Nova Scotia glassware and has a collection of Twilight dinner candles that are popular.
Art and antiques
Carol 'Naveta' Rivoire, owner and proprietor of The Old Barn Gallery & Gardens at Beaver Dam Farm in Pomquet, N.S., combines her love of abstract art and antiques in a unique setting consisting of four different galleries.
“Our main gallery is in an 1845 barn, which is said to be one of the best-preserved barns in Nova Scotia," she said.
"It's an awesome experience to stand in the middle of this loft/gallery and look upwards at the massive, hand-hewn beams and boards all pegged and identified with Roman Numerals. Against such a magnificent setting, the art and antiques look fabulous. In addition, we carry some wonderful antique quilts and hooked mats, as well as many antiques."
Rivoire has collected antiques for many years and features antiques paired with art and photography throughout her galleries.
“My main focus is art, my own and other local artists," she says.
"My passion is abstract art. Old things, like antiques of various epochs and "modern" abstract art, are the perfect foils for each other.”
She also enjoys adding art by other local artists and photographers.
“Now that I have wildlife photographer Rodney Tate working with me, I've added some of his marvelous wildlife photographs into the mixture, and that just adds another element of beauty," she adds.
Passion for antiques
Each proprietor found their own path into the business of antiques. Gerrior ran an antique and gift shop and bakery for many years before moving to Antigonish.
“Mostly, I always liked the older dishes. My shop is called Granny’s Antiques because of my grandmother. She kept a pantry with the door open and had such beautiful dishes and glassware. I’ve always had the love for it.”
Gerrior and her husband enjoy treasure hunting on their vacations.
“We love going ‘picking’. You never know what you’re going to find or who will find the unique thing," she said. "We travel to Maine and try to find this odd thing or a memory for the shop.”
Rivoire followed her passion into the business.
“I got in the antique business because I've always collected antiques," she says.
"Now, mind you, I never collected specific antiques. I just bought what I love, from antique pitchers, pottery, platters, hand tools, large pieces like tables and armoires. My home is filled with these beautiful, homey objects. They go beautifully with the 92 original paintings I have in my home.”
Tourists and locals alike
Both Gerrior and Rivoire find they have a mix of tourists and local customers and offer tips for those who are beginning to buy antiques.
Gerrior notes that each person is different and many just enjoy browsing and finding what they like.
“Many people say it’s fun finding new uses for old things,” Gerrior said.
Rivoire encourages people new to antique shopping to follow their instincts and passion.
“I always tell them to buy what they love," she said. "And, the next time when they see something they love, buy it. That's how to build a collection of pieces that will please you, soothe you, excite you for the rest of your life.”
By Anita Flowers
Local antique shops:
7 Adam Street (1,031.15 mi)
Antigonish, Nova Scotia B2G 2G1
Old Barn Galleries, Gardens, Decor & Antiques.
Exit 35B Off trans Canada east
71 Melanson Rd, Antigonish, N.S. B2G 2L4, Canada
19 West Side Lochiel Lake Road
Guysborough County, Nova Scotia
Days Gone By Bakery
143 Main Street