05 March 2010

Modern Furniture: Vintage Stores in Fort Lauderdale

You finally live in a modernist home. Deep sigh. Finally. But how do you furnish it? Surely not from Rooms-To-Go?

On one end of the clean-furniture spectrum sits the ubiquitous Swedish provider of Billy, Smådal and köttbullar (yumm). Nothing wrong with that. The other end of the palette is occupied by the wealthy set which warms up with Artemide and finishes with Knoll, all new of course. Swell.

An astonishing number of my real estate clients (and friends) is different though; so am I. We like the sniffing and the scratching, the hunt for unique pieces, the negotiating and the digging in the backroom of a store like a Scottish Terrier for last month’s bone. 

 Set of swivel chairs at White Glove Antiques 

For those who appreciate the hunt for originality, here is a round-up of modern vintage furniture stores in the Fort Lauderdale area worth visiting, in alphabetical order:

50s 60s 70s Living. In business for 12 years and in the current 2,500 sf-location ca. for 12 months, owner Paul Goldberg carries only vintage furniture – read: nothing new – with a focus on tables, seating and lighting. You will find mostly 1930s German style, 1950s- to 1980s American design and lucite as well. His pieces are sold as-is, many items priced in the $400 to $600 range. During my visit, I also saw a vintage sofa in good condition for $1,200 that looked like a $20,000 DeSede. I scored some nice pieces here. – 1200 NE 4 Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. Open seven days a week 11 am–6 pm. 954.767.8000, 50s60s70sliving.com

Decades. Jerry Marino and Miguel Schiaffino focus mostly on upholstered furniture and accessories, from mid-century to pre-owned contemporary. They receive new items up to four times a week, and have a 30% to 40% weekly turnover. Judging from frequent visits –  I bought several items from Decades – that claim is believable. They have been in business for ten years, 2.5 years in their current store, where plenty of dealers and decorators buy. The two are picky buyers, but can afford aggressive pricing: most items are under $500 in as-is, cleaned-up condition. – Main location 1500 NE 4 Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. Open seven days a week 10 am–6 pm. 954.462.8560 or 564.0454

Decades' showroom

Space Modern. “Energetic, feisty, handsome, enthusiastic”. That’s how owner Gordon McNichols helpfully described himself when I spoke to him about his store and what makes it unique. Gordon and his wife Jackie concentrate on 20th century high-end furniture and lighting. In business since 1998, they occupy their present location since 2000. When I visited, prices ranged from a $150 decorative art object to $11,000 for a Maison Jansen glass dining table from the 70s; the store’s sweet spot lies somewhere around $1,200. Space Modern does not carry knock-offs, and deals only in items that increase – hopefully so – in value over time. (If not for knock-offs, I could have never afforded my Brno chairs, but I didn’t dare tell Gordon that.) – 2335 NE 26 Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305. Tue–Sat 11 am–5 pm. 954.564.6100, space-modern.com

previewmod. Nikki and her partner Stan operated three stores in the UK and France for 20 years before moving to Fort Lauderdale and opening previewmod in 2005. The focus of their 3,000 sf store is on mid-century furniture, tables, molded chairs and 70s to 80s pop culture. Asked for their typical sweet spot, Nikki and Stan told me their prices range from $500 to $5,000; they will restore if necessary or requested. – 3321 NE 32 Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308. No set opening hours, but typically six to seven days a week. 954.563.2887, 954.536.2887, Mon–Sat 10:30 am–6 pm, also on Sundays during winter season, previewmod.com

White Gloves Antiques. Colombian-born Monique is the engine behind this crammed store in Wilton Manors. In contrast to her colleagues, which carry modern merchandise exclusively, White Glove offers a wild mix, with stuff like art-deco panels and vintage clothing thrown in. But during my visit, I saw many modernist furniture items. They included mid-century and contemporary, some restored and re-painted, some new but looking like straight out of the 60s. Prices, like the items Monique deals in, cover a wide spectrum: from $65 table-lamps to a somewhat campy-looking planter straight out of Pompeii for $5,500. – 2340 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305. Mon–Sat 11 am–5 pm and by appointment. 954.567.2340

Happy hunting!

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