I get asked regularly about the antiques in my home, so I thought spill the beans on my secret antique spots and give you a round up of what I consider the best antique stores in BC so that you can bring a bit of history into your homes too!
I’ve always loved antiques. I come by my love honestly: my mom has had a life long passion for old things that she passed on to me. In fact, I am writing this blog post as we travel back (with a very full van) from a girl’s shopping trip with my mom to Vancouver to pick up some vintage finds. I was so inspired that I wanted to take a moment to write it all down while it’s fresh in my mind.
How to Mix Old With New
My design aesthetic embraces a mix of old and new, somewhat of a classic traditional French farmhouse feel. I’ve tried to decorate outside of this box, but in the end I simply come back to this. Light rustic woods, pastel hues, warm metals and a touch of historic charm that brings a sense of depth and interest to a space.
Charlie Ford Vintage
Jillian, my sweet beautiful friend Alyssa and I started a business years ago where we helped antique stores sell their items online called Charlie Ford Vintage (named after my son). It was incredible and something I’m so proud of, but in the end it was too much work for the season of life that we were all in and we closed the doors. Through this business we learned many lessons and built beautiful relationships with the hard working owners with whom we are still in touch with today. Antiques remain a passion of each of ours (just look at Charlie, oh my gosh how he has grown!).
Why Buy Antiques?
There truly is something so special about buying something that was previously loved. Every time I look at my antique soup ladle from Hungary or the baker’s table that my mom bought for me when I was 16, I think of the hands that touched it and the story behind the item. While I love new things, they simply can’t compete with the worn beauty of a vintage or antique find.
What is the Difference Between Vintage and Antique?
Antiques are at least 100 years old, and vintage items are typically from the 1920’s to around 20 years ago. The term vintage is a fairly broad term, and the definition of what falls within these categories seems to be a bit hazy.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of BC antique stores, it includes my favourites!
Okanagan Antique Stores
My mom (and Jillian’s) have been regulars at our buddy Mark’s shop in Kelowna. Mark has been in business for over 29 years and carries a large mix of antiques including furniture, rugs, lighting and small wares including interesting art, jewelry and more. He has an eclectic mix but it’s all super organized and really good quality! This is where I scored the framed Quebec print in my kitchen from (I simply love it so much), and have purchased so many things including the framed prints below from Mark over the years. He’s a great guy; go say hi if you get a chance!
Randy and Helen Smith have a massive selection of antiques and vintage items in their captivating store in Vernon. We go way back to our Charlie Ford Vintage days where we would spend hours picking through the store to find our favourite things to put on our site. They started their business in July 2000 when Randy left a 20-year career with the RCMP to pursue his passion for antiques. They are such down to earth people and do a really wonderful job of collecting everything from vintage signs to stunning sterling silver pieces. I miss them and am way overdue for a visit!
This tiny store is located in Summerland, and is somewhat of a collective where multiple vendors sell their items (there is another small antique store located down the street too). It is a quaint shopping experience, kind of like going to your grandma’s house, and they mostly sell smaller items vs furniture. I purchased a set of three beautiful sailboat framed art pieces that I have in Max’s room years ago that I still adore today.
Lower Mainland Antique Stores
Located in Mission, I’ve known the owner Kim for years (he was one of our most successful vendors when we had Charlie Ford Vintage). Kim’s store is FILLED with interesting vintage and antique finds, and if you love the thrill of the hunt, his store is for you! He specializes in antique lighting and collectables. All of my antique chandeliers come from his store (and I purchased more for the office). He is a gem and his prices are really reasonable.
Don and Shirley have really done a stellar job of collecting a beautiful array of antiques. Despite having so many pieces, the shopping experience feels so pleasant. They carry more small unique items (with some furniture) that we haven’t seen anywhere else. My mom bought the most amazing green pitcher and a cow bell (haha, let’s see how she explains that to my dad), and I stocked up on baskets and a massive French blue enamel pot.
Owners Jon and Katie Rempel (Jon is the son of Don and Shirley and right next door to Country Lane Antiques) opened up their antique store 2 days before the Covid lockdown: talk about stress! They made it through (thankfully), and are the sweetest couple with a beautiful store specializing in automobilia, petroliana and industrial furniture. Each piece has been carefully curated and meticulously restored by Jon. Visiting with them felt like hanging out with family and I really loved shopping there. I have a chandelier on hold and am gushing over an antique cupboard that I am trying to find a place for!
Mark LaFleur is such a class act, as is his stunning high-end store Antique Warehouse located in Vancouver. Mark has such high standards, and imports the most gorgeous antiques from Europe (a lot from France) that are seriously jaw dropping. They put most of their items on their website and if you subscribe to their website you will be notified when they get a new container; worth doing since they sell so fast!
Similar to Antique Warehouse, Scott has a truly impeccable collection of antiques and rare finds that are high end and very curated. His store is located in Surrey, and be prepared to be completely wowed. Known for their extensive catalogue of reclaimed lighting, antique furniture and architectural salvage, Scott carries higher end pieces that are more simple and rustic compared to Antique Warehouse and equally stunning.
Located in New Westminster, this is the store that sparked our initial conversation for Jillian and I to open up Charlie Ford Vintage! Antique Alley has mostly small items that are super eclectic in a super casual environment; again, a place where you have to like the thrill of the hunt! They actually specialize in providing movie props which is pretty neat.
What am I missing? I would love to hear if you have any antique stores to add to this list: comment below if you do!
Antique photographs from Blondy Photography