Shop Ski Country Antiques & Home's antique furniture on 1stdibs
Shop Ski Country Antiques & Home's antique furniture on 1stdibs

The Europe Series, Part 1 - Adventures in Antiquing

Posted on April 23, 2019 by Maggie Erickson

ski country blog europe antique shopping

Last month, our team traveled to Belgium and Holland to hand-pick our next shipment of antiques. This is definitely one of the more exciting parts of running an antique store, so I thought it would be fun to take you along on our adventure!

In countries with so much history, there is no shortage of antiques. Our guide had a list of places to take us that was 50 deep. Understandably, it was just impossible to visit them all. Our shopping began in the warehouse of the dealer we work with. Think our store is big? This place is over twice the size, hosting booth space for over 60 independent dealers. It took us about five hours to go through this building - we didn’t want to miss a thing!

antique carousel ski country antiques denverantique carousel horses ski countryThis full-size carousel (hiding behind the row of clocks) was here when I visited five years ago. Anyone interested?

French Provincial antique furniture ski country

Over the years we have learned which pieces work (and which don’t), and every trip is an opportunity to fine tune our selection just a bit more. This style of French Provincial furniture was beautiful but way too ornate for our store.

antique children's pedal cars ski country antique children's pedal cars ski country

These children’s pedal cars were from one private collector. Not pictured, nine more!

The next dealer we visited specialized in the furnishing of custom pubs and cafes. Their collection of antique bars was simply amazing, and every single one was set up as a little vignette. This was for sure one of my favorite places.

antique bar ski countryantique bar belgium ski countryeuropean antique bar ski country

It was difficult to capture the spans of this enormous bar (far right). It was at least 30’ long and had recently sold. Wouldn’t that be a fun watering hole to visit?

antique beer taps ski country

Porcelain Bierpumpen, or beer taps.

This dealer is where we find some of our painted reproduction and industrial pieces. Here we also hit the jackpot for wooden skis and rams head sleds.

painted antiques ski countryantique sleds ski country

antique gondola ski countryantique ski lift chair ski country

We loved this gondola and ski lift chair but they were incredibly old and thus, way out of our price range.

This next dealer was more of a design center. Row upon row of marble fireplace mantles, vintage floor tiles and claw foot bathtubs. Lots of inspiration and ideas here, but we only found a few things that we couldn’t live without.

antique design center ski country antique dealer ski country 

european antiques dealer ski countrygarden sculpture ski country antiques

They also had a large garden filled with gates, urns and garden sculptures.

We spent some time driving through the countryside of Holland. Picture pristine sheep pastures, quaint brick houses (sometimes with a traditional thatched roof), canals and of course, the occasional windmill. While actual storefronts are common in larger cities, in the smaller villages there are dealers selling out of their barns and garages. We even went inside of private homes to view their collections.

netherlands antiques ski country netherlands antiques ski country

antique home farming ski country antiquesducks netherlands ski country antiques

What we would consider urban farming is just everyday life in these villages. Homes had space for their livestock behind and between their lots. We passed countless tractors moving from field to field in preparation for spring.

european antiques ski country european antiques dealer netherlands ski country

The last time I visited this dealer they had all of their pieces displayed in their backyard. They have since expanded to a location separate from their home. And yes, we did grab those enamel bathtubs!

european antiques barn garden ski country moss covered statuary in netherlands ski country antiques

At one home, we had to pass through this incredible garden to get to the barn with antiques. I was so envious of the moss-covered statuary - something we certainly don’t get to enjoy in our arid climate.

european antique gates ski country european antique shutters ski country

This dealer had everything en masse. Gates and shutters galore!

antique cowbells ski country antiques

Need a little more cow bell? We scooped up every single one.

The final place we visited was by far the most unique. Except for a single, one-way path that meandered through the two-story building, there was not a single inch of empty space. It was overwhelming to say the least, and we had to walk through several times to see it all. But hidden among many, many, things that we did not want, we discovered some very neat treasures.

european antique shop filled up - ski countryeuropean antiques ski country

european antiques shop ski country

The original form of social networking.

After four long days of shopping, we sat one evening at the dining room table in our dealer’s home, finalizing paperwork. And I was humbled by the emotion of the experience. The dealer we work with is a family-owned business, no different from our own. It is a mother and father, a sister and brother who run the operation. Over the last eight years we have watched their grandchildren grow, welcomed children of our own, and shared with each other our walks through life. We are just two families, working across continents in support of each other. It really is incredible.

I hope you have enjoyed your behind-the-scenes look at our trip. I of course, took entirely too many pictures to share in one blog post, so keep an eye out for Part Two of The Europe Series - The Odd and the Opulent. 

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