Whether you’re looking for a fresh and funky refurbished dresser or a pristine European dining table, you’re pretty sure to find what you need on Loudoun’s thriving antiques scene. From Lucketts in the north to Middleburg in the south, the offerings are vast and varied. And there’s truly something for every style.
Retro Cool at Lucketts
For the past two decades, the tiny western Loudoun village of Lucketts has been at the forefront of the vintage hip movement.
Sitting right on Rt. 15 north of Leesburg, the Old Lucketts Store started it all when Suzanne Eblen launched the shop in 1996, on a mission to bring her flair for mixing old and new to the D.C. region’s antiques scene.
Since then, a cluster of stores with a similar approach has popped up, drawing the young and trendy to this mecca of reclaimed pieces.
“We’ve kind of become known as the standard of the style that we call vintage hip even more than we call antiques. … We do blend the old and the new. In a lot of people’s larger homes nowadays, things that we purchase are often maybe something new but made out of reclaimed wood so that the scale and the styling fit more into a modern home than a mahogany dining set.”
The roughly 30 vendors at the Old Lucketts Store are all about refinishing and repurposing, and there’s plenty of reclaimed wood to be found. One of Eblen’s approaches, shared by her vendors is taking a high-quality but outdated piece and updating it by refinishing or adding cool knobs, pulls or other touches. Eblen says her vintage hip approach takes off from the shabby chic look that was popular a decade ago but adding a more sophisticated edge, often incorporating a more industrial vibe.
The element of design is also key to Lucketts’ signature vibe. Eblen and her dealers put a huge amount of effort into curating the space, blending new items with vintage treasures. Eblen also owns the farmhouse next to the store and created the Lucketts Design House, which is open the first weekend of every month, allowing local designers to show off their style by transforming individual rooms.
The store is open seven days a week, and as the number of antiques shops and other attractions in Lucketts explodes, the pull for visitors from around the region is stronger than ever.
“It’s that critical mass,” Eblen said. “And now we’ve got even more reasons to come out. We’ve got Roots so we’ve got food, we’ve got Vanish so we’ve got a fun brewery, we’ve got wineries so now it really is a complete fun day to come out here from a more urban area.”
Classic Charm in Downtown Leesburg
On a damp Wednesday afternoon, Black Shutter Antique Center in downtown Leesburg is surprisingly busy. As shoppers drift in and out, a young couple from Sydney, Australia selects cufflinks and small decorative pieces to take home.
The vibe at Black Shutter is absolutely classic. There’s not much in the way of reclaimed wood or chalkboard paint in the historic building at the corner of King and Loudoun streets. And yes, there’s an early 20th century mahogany table front and center in the shop’s main room, along with cut glass and fine china. But with more contemporary ’50s and ’60s vintage rooms upstairs, the center can take you from Downton Abbey to Mad Men in a few seconds.
The center, which also boasts 30 to 40 dealers, is eclectic by design, featuring a militaria room and a tiny and charming step-down room with brightly colored clothing and children’s toys. Later this month, they’re bringing on a new dealer specializing in Scandinavian modern.
“To specialize is a good way to starve,” said co-owner Barbara Gardner, who took over the shop with business partner Brenda Kemmerer in 1999.
In the past two decades, Gardner has noticed a change in her clients’ approach. While in the past, provenance and pristine condition were key, people now simply want pieces that will look great in their homes.
“People used to come in and go, ‘My house is Victorian, it’s 1880s. I want Eastlake furniture [named for the noted 19th Century designer Charles Lock Eastlake] in all the rooms,’ and they’d buy a piece of Eastlake furniture,” Gardner said. “Now they mix and match.”
For Gardner, the downtown Leesburg antiques scene is going strong, with her friends at Leesburg Antique Emporium just across the street working together to create a hub in the heart of downtown. Black Shutter has a regular clientele from around the country, and tourists, including lots of international visitors are their bread and butter, with up to 400 visitors a day on weekends. But sometimes pulling in busy Loudouners can be a challenge. “I’d like to see more locals,” Gardner said.
High-End Elegance in Middleburg
Lisa Vella isn’t really the refurbishing type. But she has a fantastic eye. Vella operates her single dealer shop Baileywyck Antiques with help from her partner Stephen Shapar, out of a refurbished barn near Middleburg. Vella is known around the region for her elegant style, with lots of European panache.
Vella and Shapar have filled their gorgeous 4,000-square-foot space with older, finer pieces—but there are plenty of whimsical touches, including frequent low-key appearances from the Belgian cartoon character Tintin. On a recent buying trip to Europe, Vella’s prize find was two hand-carved carousel horses on their original poles from Provence. Vella also snaps up grape hods (backpack-style buckets used to pick wine grapes) that can be filled with flowers—or ice and wine for parties–on her European trips.
Baileywyck has an understated equestrian theme, and also does a brisk business in larger pieces like farm tables, credenzas and storage pieces, especially popular with younger clients filling larger homes.
“There’s nothing flea-markety in here,” said Shapar, who chalks the shop’s decade-long success to Vella’s eye for detail, down to the carefully chosen “smalls,” antique-speak for little elements and details that help stage a space.
And while Vella’s offerings are decidedly on the higher end, she loves the diversity of the antiques scene in Loudoun and the synergy that shops in Lucketts, Leesburg, Middleburg and beyond have created. Vella will be showing at the annual Lucketts Spring Market, which has grown so much it’s moving to the Clarke County Fairgrounds in Berryville, May 19-21.
“My house is half Lucketts, half this,” Vella said. “We complement each other so well.”
The Old Lucketts Store, at 42350 Lucketts Road in Lucketts, is open seven days a week. The Old Lucketts Store Design House weekend takes place Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7. The Lucketts Spring Market takes place Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21 at the Clarke County Fairgrounds. For details, go to luckettstore.com.
Black Shutter Antiques, at 1 Loudoun St. in Leesburg, is open seven days a week. For more information, go to blackshutterantiques.com.
Baileywyck Antiques, at 21197 St. Louis Road in Middleburg, is open Thursday through Sunday and by appointment. Find out more at baileywyckantiques.com.