Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
Lifestyle Home & Garden

'Abbey' inspires love of antiques

If you're a fan of the hit TV series "Downton Abbey," you may have thought about incorporating elements of the Crawley family's mansion into your own home.

The setting is decidedly English country, and the house — in real life, a historic estate known as Highclere Castle — is filled with antique treasures, many of which will never be available for purchase.

Still, experts say there has been an uptick in interest in antiques that coincides with the popularity of the series, now in its second season. And contrary to popular belief, all antiques are not expensive.

For new collectors who want to learn about vintage furniture, there's no place better than an antiques show. The Maryland Antiques Show of Hunt Valley opens Feb. 24 in Timonium. For three days, more than 40 exhibitors from across the country will be offering their wares. Admissions to the show benefit Family & Children's Services of Central Maryland.

While the government considers an antique anything over 100 years old, many see things through a more flexible lens. You might consider the beautiful mahogany dining table that belonged to your grandmother an antique, even if it's just 50 years old.

But what if you have antiques that you've inherited from parents, grandparents and other family members, and you don't know much about them?

That's where an appraiser such as Baltimore-based Mimi Kapiloff comes in. She can help you understand what you own, whether an 18th-century huntboard from Ireland or a Grand Rapids dining room set from the 1960s. As an appraiser, she doesn't buy or sell antiques, but provides clients with an objective opinion of their value.

If you think you have valuable antiques, it's always smart to have them appraised for insurance purposes or in case of a death or divorce. Kapiloff tells of doing an appraisal for a family and discovering a 15th-century Italian marriage chest in the pile of items destined for the thrift shop. The chest turned out to be worth more than $800,000.

The most important thing to remember about collecting antiques is to buy what is your style and not what is in style. Many shows offer tours by antiques dealers and other experts to teach buyers how to incorporate antiques into their lives.

Deborah Gore Dean, owner of Gore Dean in Cross Keys, is leading a tour for new collectors at the Maryland Antiques Show and will show them how to incorporate antiques in their homes. Here are a few of her tips for new collectors:

•Always buy what you love — shop for value, but buy for love. If you don't love something, no matter how much or how little it costs, it's not a good value.

•Buy what you know — study and then collect. The more you know about what you're buying, the better your buys will be.

•Use antiques for impact. An unusual lamp or a great chair can change a humdrum room into a statement of who you are.

•In another generation, it was the standard to have everything antique as a sign of wealth and sophistication. Now it's sophisticated to mix and match styles.

If you go
Maryland Antiques Show of Hunt Valley

The show is at the Crowne Plaza, 2004 Greenspring Drive, Timonium. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 26. Admission is $15. There an opening night party on Thursday. For more information, go to mashv.org.

Big D.C. Flea Market

The show is March 3-4 at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va. Admission is $8. Guests include decorator Eddie Ross, a contestant in the second season of "Top Design" on Bravo. Ross will be leading a tour March 4 to show how to transform less expensive antiques into something special.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • New plants for 2015: There's a lot for gardeners to love
    New plants for 2015: There's a lot for gardeners to love

    What's that rosy glow in the distance? It's the dawn of a new gardening year! The long trudge of winter may seem to go on forever, but the days are getting longer and it's time to start dreaming and planning.

  • Most expensive homes in the Baltimore region in 2014
    Most expensive homes in the Baltimore region in 2014

    A 10-bedroom Severna Park estate that sold for $6.75 million was the most expensive Baltimore-area home sale in 2014. Anne Arundel County dominated the market for high-end properties with 13 of the 20 most expensive homes. (Source: Data provided by MRIS)

  • Fallston man captures details of his home in model form
    Fallston man captures details of his home in model form

    Fallston resident Bill Tamburrino, 94, has spent more than 30 years building a model of his home in painstaking detail, down to replicas of kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures.

  • When hanging a hammock, avoid harming trees
    When hanging a hammock, avoid harming trees

    Our hammock has always been attached to an eye bolt screwed into a tree. When we took down the hammock this fall, we discovered the eye bolt has been completely engulfed by bark. Just swallowed up! We barely got the hammock off. How do we cut (drill?) out the eye bolt?

  • Agate objects are design rock stars
    Agate objects are design rock stars

    The allure of gemstones and minerals long has inspired designers captivated with their natural beauty. Slices of agate are particularly rocking home decor because of their mesmerizing crystal quality, swirling bands and range of subtle to brilliant hues. Aerin Lauder likes them; she has...

  • A house with a long history
    A house with a long history

    The Robert Long House, built by an up-and-coming merchant in 1765, is billed as the oldest known surviving urban residence in Baltimore's old city limits. This year marks its 250th birthday.

Comments
Loading