We focus on 19th century French furniture. My business partner, Jerry, was living in France in the late ’80s/early ’90s and got his start at the flea markets there. Eventually, he opened a shop on 20th Street in New York City. Now we’re out in a warehouse in Long Island City. I joined about four years ago. It sort of divinely fell into place. I had gone to school for architecture, then switched to an interior design major. I stumbled upon the warehouse, opened the doors, and there was an abundance of beautiful hanging chandeliers. It was right up my alley.
We just got back from a big shopping trip in France. There are these wonderful one-day fairs every year in places such as Avignon and throughout the south of France where it’s like Black Friday for antiques dealers. It’s insane. Dealers come from all over Europe with their big box trucks. It opens at 8 o’clock on the dot. Dealers aren’t allowed to set anything up before then, so you have dealers and buyers rushing through these gates at the same time. The doors on the backs of the trucks fly open, and you have dealers unloading the trucks and buyers jumping in the trucks, saying, “I want this.” That first half-hour is crucial because the best pieces are gone in those 30 minutes. It’s really a spectacle.
It’s a challenge to put into words what we look for. It’s more of a feeling you get when you see a piece in the distance and the sunlight hits it just the right way, and it literally makes you stop and run over to look at it. We have everything, but I’d say we specialize in seating. There’s just something so special about an 1880s armchair with tufting and gold velvet with bullion fringe. Also, floor lamps. We may have the largest collection of floor lamps in New York City, to be honest. It’s ridiculous.
Our entire inventory is so vast, actually, that, whether you visit us in person or find us through Collective, not only will you find the piece you’re looking for, you’re going to find so many other pieces that you didn’t even necessarily expect to find or even think that you needed. And then, before you know it, your project is heading in a whole other direction—for the better.