Antique Furniture? The End of an Era?

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In the middle of May over 27 years of amazing antique collecting from Butchers Antiques & Nostalgia on Hwy 15 North near Smiths Falls was sold by auctioneer Dan Peters in a 2 day liquidation tag sale. Personally I love antiques and the history they bring with them. So what actually happened to the market for secondhand furniture?

You would be surprised to find out that today’s consumers are now shopping at places like Ikea or Wal-Mart. No longer does anyone want to own big heavy furniture pieces, and the reality is that older folk who have accumulated 30 years of furniture and personal effects are now looking to downsize.

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Whether you are moving to a smaller living space or simply minimizing, many people are making an unwelcome discovery: those once prized family heirlooms have suddenly turned into junk. Upholstered sofas, Victorian-style mahogany and oak furniture, and even pianos have become almost impossible to sell or, in some cases, give away. If you’re trying to donate something to a local charity store remember to them it’s not a “prized family heirloom”, it’s just used furniture.

Victorian furniture was once highly valued and sought after and high prices at antiques stores and auctions reigned supreme. Now those same pieces are simply called “brown furniture” and usually purchased for a “shabby chic” look and being distressed with chalk paint. The matchy match look is now gone and the slogans of re -purpose, re-invent, and love again is all the rage.

So what is replacing older period furniture in second hand stores and flea markets? The 50s-70s styles have become so popular that today’s furniture manufacturers are imitating hot items like Mid-Century Modern and sleek Danish style furniture, and that is just a few examples of this functional movement in furniture design.

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After sadly viewing the furniture pictures for sale of Butchers Antiques & Nostalgia on Dan Peter’s Facebook page my beliefs are that antiques are still dear old friends. Of course I am now in the minority, and it will be interesting to see how society manages the avalanche of used and unwanted stuff accumulated by the McMansion generation.  You don’t have to be a rabid environmentalist to be a little worried about where it’s all going to end up.

Like my friend Sarah Cavanagh said: “Today it’s all fast and cheap without roots”

In memory of Butchers Antiques & Nostalgia

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Related reading about Comba Furniture Store

The Day the Comba Building Sold-Taylor Block

Comba’s -The Scariest Building in Carleton Place?

Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

Do You Know What I Found?

Win a House in Carleton Place!

Smooth Criminals in Carleton Place –The Robberies on Bridge Street

The Emporium of Life — Joyce Murray

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

4 responses »

  1. I am an antique furniture person. Have lived in many old houses and have always kep things passed from my gram and now my mom and dad’s stuff. I have downsized and some say the place looks a little cluttered butt I prefer the term cozy, just like my gram’s house was. May have to upsize to an old house again if I can find the right one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have an old dining room set that was my husband family’s, 200 years old. We don’t use it much, b/c it is too uncomfortable (horse hair and straw stuffed leather seats), and it is falling about. Too expensive to refinish it. It is dark wood and so not my style. 20 years ago, he was offered very good money for it, now….he could not give it away…not that he would. He thinks it will come back into style again in 20 years or so and that could be true. What was old becomes new again.

    Like

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