A highly idiosyncratic and decidedly personal guide to Kansas City’s most intriguing antique shops
If you’ve been checking in on this column over the last five years, you know how strongly I feel about the power of antique and vintage furniture and accessories. In my opinion, women of a certain age who have a little history are infinitely more interesting than ingénues, and I think furniture follows suit. Perhaps you agree but have created a well-worn path to your favorite shops and could use a new groove. Maybe you’re a newbie. Either way, here’s a handy guide to some of Kansas City’s best-loved tastemakers and trendsetters.
If there is a Pavlovian image associated with antique shops, this crew just might be it. Elegant. Established. But don’t think for a minute formal and stuffy. These dealers are devoted to the classics. The collective taste here could win a James A. Beard award.
SCOTT LINDSAY ANTIQUES & INTERIORS
The last time I was at Scott Lindsay’s, he was telling tales of selling chairs back to a house museum in France. His pieces are quite good, and his home is something of a house museum itself. Lindsay lives both above the shop and in the shop, so visiting provides the added pleasure of seeing the pieces in their natural setting, so to speak. Largely, though not entirely French, Lindsay has an impres- sive collection of Old World pieces that can enhance a collection or provide distinct jux- taposition to a modern dwelling. 3800 Baltimore, 816-561-5086
LINDA PEARCE ANTIQUES
Linda Pearce’s shop is also in a private home, and I’ve passed a few hours at her kitchen table hearing tales of my husband’s grandmother’s remarkable taste. They must have been two peas in a pod. Both Kansas City native and design world Old Guard, Tom Britt, and White House decorator, Michael Smith, rely on Pearce’s eye and inventory to delight their clientele. 1214 W. 47th St., 816-531-6255
WEBSTER HOUSE, NEE SEBREE GALLERIES
Webster House began as a charming shop in Crestwood called Sebree Galleries, before it grew up and moved downtown. Though it’s in larger digs, this wonderful shop has long been under the care of director Keitha Kaminski. While Webster House holds many of my favor- ite types of pieces (think pairs of period gilded Chinoiserie mirrors), Keitha has worked for the last few years to incorporate items for a more moderate budget. So while you can still find fine antiques, you can also discover a little Art Deco or vintage worked into the mix. 1644 Wyandotte St., 816-221-4713
Charlecote in Crestwood focuses on 18th-century English furniture. If you are on the hunt for Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Adam or Sheraton, this should be a first stop. Even if these period pieces are out of range, this is a wonderful spot to train your eye. Kay Miller and son Todd have one of the few places in town with delightful treats like tortoiseshell tea caddies and clever snuff boxes. 337 E. 55th Street, 816-444-4622
PEAR TREE DESIGN & ANTIQUES
Every time I wander into Pear Tree I feel as if I have stopped to visit a good friend. Charming and relaxed, this space always puts me at ease. The furniture is a mix of French and English with a focus on very usable items. Side tables, dining tables, benches and the most charming chairs are arranged in handsome vignettes. Owner Carol Dickey makes a point to have starburst mirrors, colorful pottery and unique lamps on hand. 303 E. 55th Street, 816-333-2100
A PARTICULAR POINT OF VIEW
Rather than define themselves by a distinct genre, some dealers focus on a unique aesthetic. Once you know them you realize that this is not strategy; it’s organic. They buy what they love, and when you love it too, shopping becomes magic.
CHRISTOPHER FILLEY ANTIQUES & FINE ART
While I could not be less like Holly Golightly, I do take refuge in retail. When I hear the bell as I swing open the door at Christopher Filley and Rich Hoffman’s shop and my toe hits the terrazzo, I do believe that nothing bad could happen to me there. Filled from front to back, stacked from floor to ceiling are African masks, vintage textiles, sea fans, original art, garden ornaments and, heaven help me, wonderful chairs. It’s a graphic, masculine aesthetic for the sophisticated collector. 1721 W 45th St., 816- 561-1124
PARRIN & CO.
Barbara Farmer’s Parrin & Co. is unapologetically pretty. Painted furniture, gilt mirrors and those wonderful gilded, wheat tables (a favorite of Coco Chanel) are staples. Barbara has a devoted clientele, and if you like it, you better buy it, because her inventory turns fairly quickly. The shop has a wonderful selection of objets, and you are sure to find an enameled bowl, a piece of opaline or a pair of mother-of-pearl binocu- lars to create interest on any table. 1717 W. 45th St., 816-753-7959
George Terbovich’s shop in Crestwood is the non plus ultra in thoughtful decorating, by which I in no way mean “safe.” George’s taste is flawless but never fancy, and in his shop you can find all you need for a well- defined life. Perhaps some faience,a fine piece of sterling, colorful vintage textiles and rugs, all enhanced by carefully curated art. At the very least, stroll by to see his delightful window displays. 315 E. 55th St., 816-361-2128
Mercato owner’s Mary Lies could easily borrow the shop’s tagline as her personal mantra: “We go to Italy. We find great things. We bring them home.” I can’t imagine a better way to combine a business and a passion. Mercato’s inventory is entirely Italian. Deep patinas, organic shapes and worn painted finishes can add a welcome dimension to any interior—and the short drive to De Soto can help you leave the world behind. 33071 W. 83rd, De Soto, 913-583-1511
MORNING GLORY ANTIQUES
Co-owners Don Fields and Rick Bumgardner, by their own admission, have an “over-the-top” design style. Antiques with a flourish flourish indeed in their Westport shop. Using their favorite quote “Less is more, more is better and excess is best” as a buying philosophy ensures that you can find the truly unique in their shop. 313 Westport Road, 816-984-2055
Local treasure hunter Steve Rogers has turned a passion into a business. His shop is a pleasing mix of industrial, vintage and refined. Lots of white and repurposed objects, once you see it, you’ll understand.
I started haunting Rod Park’s shop long before it moved to its current digs across from the Sprint Center. At the time Kansas City was slightly less hip to the value of mid-century modern, but Retro Inferno is now, as the name suggests, hot, hot, hot. While a lot of iconic pieces are still produced, if you want vintage Eames, Bertoia, Wormley and more, Retro Inferno is a good place to start. 1715 W. 45th St., 816-753-7606
Joanna Votilla made herself at home at 45th and State Line a couple of years ago, but now it seems like she’s always been there. She carries all the classic modern pieces (is that an oxymoron?) but will throw a little Lucite in the mix on occasion. 1715 W. 45th St., 816-753-7606
NICK CARTER & CO.
While you can find Navaho rugs, Arts AND Crafts and wicker here, too, I still tend to put Nick in my “modern” category. Nick consults with national auction houses and knows more about each specific category than I know about the whole world of design. 3410 Main Street, 816-471-7677
“Take me to the mall” can take on a whole new meaning when it’s not your middle- schooler’s demand. The two primary antique malls in Kansas City offer great resources. In fact many independent dealers keep booths at one or the other.
Worn floors patched with old metal signs just enhance the experience of this three- floored mega-emporium. There are antiques here and a lot of vintage and just plain stuff, too. The beauty of the River Market, as one friend said to me, “There may be some junk, but it’s real junk.” You’re as likely to find your childhood lunchbox as a piece from Herman Miller, and I can guarantee you—there’s something for everyone.
115 W. 5th St., 816-221-0220
Mission Road is a little more upscale, and there are a lot of very good dealers to choose from. You can find every style you can imagine—English, French, traditional, modern, furniture, silver, pottery, fabric. It’s all under one roof, with Bloomsbury Bistro on hand for lunch or a snack if you need it. (Shopping does tend to make me hungry.) 4101 W. 83rd St., 913-341-7577