The weather may be frightful, but inside Southeast Michigan’s antiques and vintage shops, the browsing is delightful…
When the History Chanel’s hit show “American pickers” visited Detroit last spring, one of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz’s first stops was the downtown Detroit digs of joel Landy. Landy and his vintage treasures – everything from classic cars to working scale train models to more than 50 historic city buildings – ended up occupying nearly 20 minutes of air time on the episode, which first ran in September. Wolfe call Landy “a picker’s dream” and credited him for his efforts to save the city’s architectural and cultural heritage. “I collect collections,” Landy says of his diverse interests and holdings.
There are people like Landy throughout metro Detroit who know the ins and outs of treasure hunting in Southeast Michigan. Luckily for us, they agreed to share some of their favorite places. Read on – and happy browsing.
Landy – who owns and operates the Cass City Cinema – loves downtown Detroit and haunts its many shops for pieces to add to his collections. “One of my favorites is Senate Antiques,” he says. “I find a lot of architectural pieces there and various kinds of industrial machinery, which I love and which is big at the moment.” Located off the Fisher Freeway near the Cass Corridor (828 W. Fisher Fwy.; 313-963-5252), Senate Antiques is also known as the Detroit Antique Mall. A sign bearing the latter name hangs on the building’s red brick facade near the freeway. Inside is a maze of small rooms brimming with treasures of all sizes from all eras – Victorian, mid-century and everything in between. Restoring a house? Don’t miss the architectural elements on the second floor.
Landy also frequents the auctions and galleries at DuMouchelle’s (409 E. Jefferson; 313-962-6255; www.dumoart.com), across from the Renaissance Center. “I don’t go for the fine art of jewelry, but the furniture and industrial objects, which can be a really great deal,” he says. “I even got a suit of armor there, which is something I’ve wanted to own since I was a child.” That piece can now be seen in the lobby of one of Landy’s historic Addison Apartments at the corner of Woodward and Charlotte, also home to the Atlas Bar & Grill.
Bob DuMouchellesays that many people don’t realize the auction house has regular gallery house and is open for browsing even if an auction is not scheduled. “We’ve been in business since 1927 and in this building since 1937,” he says. Auctions are held monthly and a great place to score bargains and unusual items. “Right now, there are real deals to be had on both furniture and rugs, but you never know what you’ll find, which is part of the fun,” he says. We’ve had everything from sports memorabilia to pieces of Detroit history, such as the windows from the old downtown J.L. Hudson’s building.
Not far away are other downtown digs well worth a look on your urban treasure hunt. Historic Eastern Market is home to Savvy Chic (2712 Riopelle; 313-833-8769), where owner Karen Brown presents a well edited collection of new and vintage pieces – including home furnishings, vintage clothing and jewelry – many with a French flair. Open Thursday – Sunday, she’s nestled between produce stores and meat markets. Nearby you’ll find Eastern Market Antiques (2530 Market st.; 313-259-0600; www.easternmarketantiques.com), a 15,000 square foot, 20 dealer warehouse of antique furniture, old albums, vintage clothes and other knick-knacks. Just out of the market on Gratiot, proprietor Marvin Nash serves up an eclectic and elegant mix at Marketplace Antiques (2047 Gratiot; 313-567-8250). It’s a slight detour that won’t disappoint.
Take a break: You don’t have to be a good girl ( or boy) to enjoy Good Girls Go to Paris (15 E. Kirby; 877-PARIS-CREPES), located on Woodward near the Detroit Institute of Arts. Lined with vintage French movie posters, this unique restaurant features classic Gallic treats, such as beurre et sucre (butter and sugar) crepes as well as heartier selections stuffed with meat and cheeses. If you are pining for pizza, try Supino (5457 Russell; 313-567-7879) in Eastern Market for some of the best pies outside of New York City or head to Wayne State University hangout Traffic Jam & Snug (511 W. Canfield; 313-831-9470), where you ca reflect on your bargains over artisan cheese and a local brew.
Ann Arbor Adventures
Just 45 minutes west of Detroit, Ann Arbor feels like another world. Filled with independent bookstores and funky shops, it’s a great one tank getaway. Inspiration on how to use your recycled goods can be found at a favorite shop in the charming Kerrytown neighborhood north of the University of Michigan. One visit and Mary Cambruzzi at Found (407 N. Fifth; 734-302-3060; www.foundgallery.com) will have you looking at recyclables in a whole new way. Poen since 2005, Found specializes in “vintage, artisan and eco-funky” and showcases more than a dozen artists, many local, who make new pieces from found and vintage goods. Look for cool jewelry (some made from bottle caps, buttons and beach glass), workshops on how to make your own items and more.
After a trip to Found, heard to Treasure Mart (529 Detroit St.; 734-662-9887); www.treasuremart.com), also in Kerrytown. Housed in a century old building, this consignment shop is celebrating 50 years and is know far and wide among experienced collectors. Stock changes daily, and there’s always something tempting on the “new arrivals” table near the front door. Wander a little farther and you’ll find three floors and 8,500 square feet jammed with everything from “real” antiques (technically, anything over 100 years old) to cool collectibles. Go with an open mind and you’re sure to be rewarded.
Heading home, make a side trip to Ypsilanti, where you can peruse a few not to be missed locals. Materials Unlimited (2 W. Michigan Ave.; 734-483-6980; www.materialsunlimited.com) is a must see for old house fans. More than 15,000 square feet in a 1920’s building – which has served as an auto dealership, Wold War II USA hall and a Moose Lodge – tempt with vintage light fixtures and chandeliers, antique doors, hundreds of architectural pieces and more. Cambruzzi recommends a stop at Bowerbird Mongo (210 W. Michigan Ave.; 734-482-4595; www.bowerbirdmongo.com), where she says there’s a “funky vibe” among owners Joyce Ramsey and Ward Freeman’s great selection of vintage art, pottery and other objects of interest. Bowerbird Mongo is open Friday and Saturday evenings or by appointment.
The fifth generation Schmidt’s Antiques (5138 Michigan Ave.; 734-434-2660; www.schmidtsantiques.com) was founded in 1911 and has been in its current location since 1938. The shop specializes in 18th, 19th and early 20th century English, French and Spanish antiques, but carries a wide variety. Check ou the Friday evening events, designed to educate and entertain antique enthusiasts.
Take a break: Zingerman’s (422 Detroit St.; Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354), in Kerrytown, has been named on of the 25 best food markets in the world by Food & Wine magazine and is well worth waiting in the long lines that snake outside the door at seemingly all hours. Try one of the classic deli sandwiches ( youmay want to split one, they’re so large), and be sure to take home some of their delicious breads. Cambruzzi also recommends the fish market just downstairs from her Kerrytown shop, where you can pick some fresh fare and hit it made to order.
Royal Oak Retro
In1992, self described salvage slave Marisa Gaggino opened Heritage CO. 2 (116 7th St.; 248-547-0670; www.heritageco2.com) in Royal Oak after being introduced to the business by her brother-in-law, who operates the original Heritage Company in Kalamazoo. Over the next two decades, she expanded into antiques and other collectibles, becoming a resource for historic house parts and cool junk.
“Through the years, I’ve had pieces of Detroit history, including stuff from the train station and Brush Park,” she says. “Right now, I’m getting a lot of calls for reclaimed lumber for new construction and local restaurants.” Gaggino’s recycled barn siding lines the floors at the Commonwealth coffee shop in Birmingham and other local eateries.
In the area, Gaggino recommends visiting Vogue Vintage, with locations in Pleasant Ridge and Ferndale (23622 Woodward, 248-546-1555; and 2600 Wolcott, 248-546-6144; www.voguevintage.net), and Oddfellows Antiques (3248 12 Mile Road, Berkley; 248-399-6098), an antique mall filled with 50 dealers.
Take a Break: Gaggino recommends Royal Oak’s Zumba Mexican Grille (121 Main; 248-=542-7799), Inn Season (500 E. 4th St.; 248-547-7916) for vegetarian fare, and the Belgian inspired Bastone ( 419 S. Main St.; 248-544-6250).
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