Tips & Insights

Past Perfect: How and Where to Shop for Antiques and Reproductions

Our experts offer a quick tour of their favorite resources

Designers looking for mature furnishings and accessories no longer need separate buying trips to acquire treasures from times gone by. High Point Market is quickly becoming an authoritative source for quality antiques and exquisite reproductions.

With hundreds of exhibitors that cater to the historic furnishings aficionado, some navigational assistance is in order. Where do antiques lovers and dealers go to find pieces with that sophistication that only the passage of time can impart? We spoke with several experienced antique buyers who reveal their favorite haunts, and a few tips on the search for antiquated perfection.

Best Shops

“I find many treasures at Acquisitions,” says Kathryn Greeley, interior designer, antiques and collectibles expert, and author of The Collected Tabletop. “They have unique, quality pieces and are always willing to search for things that I need for a project. And I regularly find lots of interesting pieces at the Antique and Design Center.”

"I have found the dealers in Market Square to be a great source …"
- Gary Inman, Principal, Director of Hotel & Home Studio, Glave & Holmes Architecture

Interior and furniture designer, and Style Spotter alumnus, Gary Inman concurs with Greeley on the Antique and Design Center, but notes there’s more to his strategy than just finding the right location. “I always shop the Antique and Design Center early during Market week before the gems are all purchased.”

Located in Market Square, the Antique and Design Center is situated among other favorite resources. “I have found the dealers in Market Square to be a great source for a broad range of objects,” said Inman. “I also never miss Acquisitions on the mezzanine level. Randall Tysinger, Clubcu, and Madcap Cottage are other sources I value for antiques.”

Where does the antiques dealer shop? “Of course, the Antique and Design Center is number one on my list,” says Karen Luisana, an interior designer, antiques dealer and founder of the Antique and Design Center. But Luisana admits to loving other places as well. “Head to Randall Tysinger for the ultimate inspiration.”

“Always do your research. Research is key!”
- Kathryn Greeley, interior designer, author, antiques and collectibles expert

What if you need an authentic look, but not provenance? “In terms of reproductions and interpretations, I admire William Yeoward at Jonathan Charles. Hickory Chair, Chaddock, Kindel and Century are all excellent sources for antique-inspired designs,” said Inman.

“Currey and Company is a personal favorite,” said Luisana.

Designer and author Barry Dixon adds a few more to the list. “For reproductions, Tomlinson and Arteriors,” said Dixon. “And there's no one better than Baker Furniture for pulling it all together.”

Rules for the Antiques Road Show

Selecting and buying antiques is different from purchasing newly manufactured furniture. These unique pieces require a buyer with not only design savvy, but also historical knowledge, a sharp eye, an understanding of furniture construction and a keen business sense.

“Each piece has to move me on some level.”
- Karen Luisana, interior designer, antiques dealer, founder of the Antique and Design Center

“Always do your research. Research is key!” said Greeley. “Learn as much as possible about pieces you’re considering. And know your dealer. I have a small stable of antique dealers that I know and trust.”

Greeley recommends taking the same care in examining each item before purchase. “I highly encourage clients to pass over pieces that have obvious breakage or poor repairs,” said Greeley. “Buy the very best you can afford. It’s a rule that serves buyers well.”

“I like to use antiques to instill spaces with character and a sense of story.”
- Gary Inman, Principal, Director of Hotel & Home Studio, Glave & Holmes Architecture

“I try not to impose hard and fast rules,” said Inman, “but I spend considerable time educating and explaining why proportions, finishes, design languages, and provenance of a piece are essential to a beautiful space. Balance, tranquility, energy, patina, and connectivity are keys to my design approach. I like to use antiques to instill spaces with character and a sense of story.”

And although he’s flexible with clients, he does follow a personal rule. “I avoid too many heavy or dark pieces in a design,” said Inman. “Simplicity is my idea of luxury; clean lines and refined finishes defy trends.”

Luisana on the other hand, throws out guidelines and takes a decidedly personal approach to antique selection. “Each piece has to move me on some level. Antiques are used to humanize spaces and to tie the present with the past. Every physical space needs a connector to the past. It provides the thread that ties us all together and makes the experience real!” Where does the antiques dealer shop? “Of course, the Antique and Design Center is number one on my list,” says Karen Luisana, an interior designer, antiques dealer and founder of the Antique and Design Center. But Luisana admits to loving other places as well. “Head to Randall Tysinger for the ultimate inspiration.”

And she believes you’ll know when you’ve found the right piece. “Go by your gut instinct when choosing an antique.”

That’s varying, yet constructive, advice from people who’ve spent decades selecting treasures that fulfill their clients’ needs and dreams. Whether your preference is antiques or reproductions, and your approach is guided by extensive research or immediate gut reaction, you can be sure to find authentic, unique, and exquisite gems from other eras in the halls at High Point Market.