April 04, 2016

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Our spring shipment from France is here!

Four hundred new arrivals just in, and we are pumped!  Our buying trip this January was an absolutely fabulous one!  We are closed this week while we unpack all our new (old) goodies.  Come see our latest arrivals from France this Saturday, April 9th along with the two thousand tulips in bloom in front of our shop.  Also, save the date to attend our Open House Thursday, April 21, 5-8 pm to toast our new shipment with wine, cheese, and French pastries.  
March 28, 2016

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New Shipment from France Arriving Soon!

It's spring!  And spring at French Metro means a new shipment of beautiful antique furnishings, artwork, lighting and accessories from France!  Terry and I covered five thousand kilometers this January hitting all of our favorite haunts in Normandy, Ile de France, Brittany, and the Pays de la Loire to bring back what we love for our shop in Fayetteville.  Stay posted for the date we will uncover our latest treasures in the shop and for an upcoming wine and cheese event to toast the arrival of spring and of our latest arrivals from France!

An Evening with the Author, Talya Boerner

 

French Metro Antiques presents an Evening with the Author!  Please join us on February 18th from 5-7 pm, for an evening with Talya Boerner.  Talya, who resides in the Washington-Willow Historic District of Fayetteville, is proud to announce the release of her latest book, "The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee."  Celebrate with us and partake of libations and fine hors d'oeuvres prepared by Chef Elliot Hunt. 

 Excerpt:  The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee

"Last summer, Momma decided my little sister and I should learn to play the piano…Since I never planned to be in the Miss America pageant and wouldn’t need such a talent, I saw no point. What I really wanted to do was learn to speak French. I wanted to be that girl who, when invited to the White House for an important state dinner, would be the only person in the room who could speak with the French prime minister in his native language. I would help solve international problems while sipping champagne and wearing a black ball gown like Audrey Hepburn. President Nixon would be impressed to learn I started out as a farm girl from Arkansas. Last fall, I bought an old French lesson book at the library’s used book sale. Momma thought it was a silly waste. Besides English, Momma said the only practical language to learn was Spanish, because of our Mexican cotton choppers. Since I used my own money, she really didn’t have a say." ~The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee

January 04, 2016

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antique buying trip ›   new shipment ›  


We are headed back to France...

FOLLOW OUR BLOG - "It's the next best thing to being right there with us"
We are heading back to France on Saturday, January 9th for a three week buying trip that will take us from Paris to the provinces. Be sure to follow our blog as we uncover treasures along the way. You'll get an exclusive sneak peak at the one-of-a-kind pieces we find as well as a glimpse of the French countryside, interiors of French homes, and a behind-the-scenes look at our shopping excursions.

CUSTOM SHOPPING - "It's like having your own personal shopper in France"

French Metro Antiques is pleased to offer a complimentary custom shopping service. Let us find the perfect piece for you, whether it's fine artwork, architectural salvage, or one-of-a-kind furnishings and accessories. We'll take your detailed wish list with us to France and email you photos of pieces that will meet your needs. As professional antique buyers fluent in French, we negotiate the best possible price for you after examining each piece with a discerning eye for quality, beauty, and value. We’ve spent years developing relationships and off-the-beaten-path sources all throughout France, allowing us to consistently uncover the rare and unique. Not only is this service complimentary, but all custom purchases qualify for a 10% discount.


Send us your wish list >

November 02, 2015

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Restoration Musings

In practicing the art of restoration, I approach each piece with respect and love of craft.  Understanding the original function and form is key to this process. I often mutter to myself that the hand must not be seen.



 

The first stage is cleaning. I carefully go over the entire piece and clean all the nooks and crannies. By walking my fingers across the varied surfaces, I am able to find the life that the piece has lived. Time is seen in the burn marks, ink spills, and markings from Mother Nature. In viewing the buildup of gunk, a technical term, I can see if the piece has lived part of its life in a kitchen or next to a fireplace. I can tell where the piece was in a room, and where the window was in relation to the furniture. My job is not to erase it all. It is to soften it and let the character that has taken form over time speak to its next owner. In applying wax to the surface, I protect the finish. The finish, usually shellac, is there to protect the wood. I protect the markings of time and place, so that the next generation can pass on a shared piece of history of which they are now a part.

October 13, 2015

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gilt wood ›   giltwood ›   mirrors ›  


The Golden Touch

I have always sympathized with the Pirates in so many childhood tales, because I too seem to be drawn to all things shiny.  As a child I watched my mother, a self-taught furniture doctor, take sadly destroyed giltwood frames and bring them back to their golden glory.  I took this knowledge gathered through observation for granted over the years, but after pursuing an MFA in painting, I found myself managing a decorative painting and restoration studio in Washington DC, and suddenly all of the knowledge passed to me as a child of a furniture doctor and painter was very useful.  In the last decade I have spent time gilding and restoring everything imaginable, from the ceiling of the Plaza Hotel in New York to the frames at French Metro. 

The first step to recognizing gold leaf is simple.  Items which have been gilt will have visible lines where the gold has been laid across the plastered surface. Normally a red iron oxide underbody has been applied and is visible through these lines.  Gold leaf is essentially a foil, so you can imagine that if you wrapped foil around a curved surface it would create little lines, but with gold leaf this is a much finer network of creases.  

If something has been gilt in 22karat gold, the individual leaves will have been laid all in a row, with the size of each leaf left clearly visible with the faint red tone of the underbody coming through each divide.  Recognizing real gold leaf is fairly simple.  Usually it has not been antiqued, and the shine and hue of the gold is much lighter as a result.  This is because real gold is immune to the oxidation and rusting that will attack lesser metals.  When something is finished in imitation leaf it must be varnished or sealed to keep the air from eventually turning it black.  The size of the leaf is also a good indication.  Real gold leaf is much smaller, usually coming in 2.5” squares, whereas imitation leaves come in 3” to 5” squares.

Real gold leaf is what adorns the exterior decorative elements of most of our nation’s monuments.  This is again due to its resistance to the elements.  Most of the frames that have made their way to French Metro have a long a storied history, and because of Renee’s wonderful eye for quality I can truly say they are all finished in gold leaf, not all 22 karat, no, but  they are all the real shiny stuff instead of paint, so this pirate has found her treasure. 

September 26, 2015

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Art History Comes Home

Art history classes in college often consisted of the drudgery of route memorization. Movements and styles were observed and filed away with some small mental notes on preference.  It was not until I began to travel and see paintings in museums and houses around the world that the history of so many remembered works came alive.

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September 18, 2015

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A Copper Curiosity

After sixteen years of searching all over France for the rare and unique, I still run across something I've never seen before.  A beautifully hand crafted copper piece engraved with the year 1743...the date alone was enough to catch my attention!

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Shipment from France Arriving This Week!

Hurray! It is finally here! I usually count seven weeks after the day I return home from a buying trip in France till I see that forty foot container back up to our loading dock at French Metro Antiques. And then it's like Christmas, opening up all of those boxes filled with treasures we found all over France over a four week period. May and June shopping in France means four hundred new pieces arriving in August. We will be closed Wednesday, August 19th for five days of intense labor of unpacking, cleaning, waxing, and redecorating. We will re-open our doors on Monday, August 24th. Can't wait to get re-acquainted with our latest acquisitions arriving this week!
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Growing up with French Metro Antiques

It has been nearly a year since I was in Fayetteville doing odd jobs for my parents at their shop, yet I never feel disconnected from the hubbub at French Metro Antiques.  Only two months ago, my parents came to visit me here in France where I’ve spent the past year studying at the Université du Maine in Le Mans.

Soon after their arrival, I found myself tagging along once again on one of their buying trips.  I was greeted by the familiar experience of having to share what little space there was in the rental car with various treasures of copper, bronze, and a variety of woods.  Despite the frequent car loads we dropped off at the shippers, within a matter of hours there always seemed to be a new hoard of goods to share the seats with.  One might think it must have been annoying, but for me, I enjoyed their company, the stories they told, and the lives they’ve lived.

Each piece of art, for that is what they were—gave me new insight into my favorite subject of study:  French history.  The change in motifs from the time of the French kings to the dawn of the Enlightenment and the formation of the French Republic showed a change in attitude among the French people.  The adopted patriotism following the Revolution was evidenced in the revolutionary hat on a brass drum cover from 1793 or in the rooster head pommel on a Napoleonic sapper’s saber that we found in Lyon.

Every day spent with my parents, I inspected the items we found either at some small brocante (flea market) in a village nobody has heard of, or at a grand déballage (fair) where we’d spend hours, eyes peeled, on the lookout for rare objets d’art, such as a skillfully made marquetry chest.

As a Hunt, I am cursed with a keen appreciation for craftsmanship and forgotten beauty.  Try as I might to be restrained (after all, I am just a poor college student), I find myself yearning to expand the collections that I myself have assembled.  This trip in particular, I added to my collection a spadroon with the imperial eagle of Napoleon Bonaparte and dated August 1812, just two months into the emperor’s invasion of Russia.  Though it is impossible to know for sure, I couldn’t’ help but imagine that it had been used during the Battle of Borodino on September 7th.

French Metro Antiques has allowed me to expand upon my knowledge of French history and feed my passion for the past.  I’ll be back in Fayetteville soon, just in time to help receive the fall shipment.  I will once again be greeted by the objects we found on our trip through France, and with each new item unpacked, a memory of our errant search for art will rush back to me along with the nostalgia of travelling in France with my parents.

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