Antiquing 101

A Stylist’s Insider Tips

Stylist and decorator Emily Vallely, owner of vintage shop @curatedcollectionsbyemily, shares her antiquing tips.

Q: Where do you find your favorite antique pieces?

“I am an avid antiquer, so I’m constantly on the hunt whether I’m traveling or at home in Los Angeles. I find I have the best luck shopping at estate sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. I’m also constantly scouring Etsy and eBay. I have a booth at an antique mall in Long Beach called Magnolia and Willow and that’s where I’ve found some of my most beloved treasures.”

Q: How do you decide which pieces to buy, in terms of details or quality?

“When I’m shopping for my home, I purchase items that truly speak to me. Sometimes the quality isn’t that important if I really love something. However, when I buy something for my booth or for a client’s home, I try to find high-quality, rare pieces that are either exceptionally unique or will be useful (decorative trays, kitchenware, and baskets, for example).”

Q: How do you incorporate antique and modern pieces together, either in an outfit or a home?

“The trick is sticking to a theme, whether it’s a color palette, a time period, or a mood. I love an eclectic look, but it has to be done right or else you will find the room tends to be a little chaotic. As my favorite decorator, Dorothy Draper, said ‘I believe in doing the thing you feel is right. If it looks right, it is right.’ At the end of the day, you are the one living in your home, and you need to surround yourself with things that put a smile on your face.”

Q: Are there any popular antique items people are currently searching for?

“I’ve been selling a lot of vintage portraits. I also find that people love items they can style on a shelf or a mantel (antique books, brass sculptures, globes, vases, and candle holders are constantly moving in my booth). Very recently, I’ve seen that handmade pottery is becoming a huge trend. People are on the hunt for ceramics with interesting colors and glazes.”

Q: What are benefits to buying an antique versus something new?

“Typically, antiques are higher quality and more unique. When you buy an antique, you are buying a piece of history and also supporting a small business or individual who is passionate about what they do.”

Q: What is one of your favorite antique pieces you own?

“A few of my favorite pieces include: a 1940’s locket my boyfriend got me for my birthday, a cherry red 1950’s sewing machine my mom gave to me, my Marjorie Hillis books, and a pair of Staffordshire dogs my friend bought me as a gift.”

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