Wednesday, January 7, 2009

DC Big Flea This Weekend

Hello all! Alison again, Mark being otherwise engaged.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a huge thing for antiques. I'm not quite sure why that is. My parents aren't big antique lovers so it doesn't run in my family, but an interest in history and a love of books and research definitely does. Most of the fun of buying something new (old) is going online or to my ever-growing collection of reference books and researching the history of a piece I've purchased.

Right near our Chantilly showroom is the Dulles Expo Center, home five times a year to the DC Big Flea, a huge antiques market and my very favorite place on earth.

Over 1100 booths in two buildings make for a very full day of antique hunting, but I've been going for several years and I have my favorite vendors, mostly those who specialize in mid-century modern pieces. Though not technically antiques at less than 100 years old, much of the time I unearth relics of a forgotten era: when average furniture was made from solid wood or good quality plywood instead of particle board, when everyone needed a personal ashtray after dinner and the imbibing of adult beverages was not limited to after work or weekends.

I admit that watching old movies or shows like Mad Men, I assumed that the scene presented had to be an exaggeration, or an affectation of Hollywood glamor. However, in talking to some the vendors at the DC Big Flea and sitting at Christmas dinner with a wonderful gentleman who was in advertising in the 1960s in Manhattan, I was forced to reconcile my romanticized view of a design era I love with a very different and somewhat tawdry image.

But then, that's the wonderful thing about antiques or pieces that reference the past. It makes it easier to understand how we got here and move past where we are now, hopefully to something better. How's that for a thought for the new year?

If you're going to the Big Flea, make sure to swing by and see us in Chantilly. And if you stop into the Chantilly showroom on Sunday, I'll play show and tell with whatever new treasures I acquired. See you then!

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