Celebrate Magazine, October 2009

Excerpted courtesy of Celebrate! magazine

Providing quality furnishings & design that last a lifetime

Celebrate! magazine October 2009 


Celebrate! magazine October 2009

That beautiful shell you found at the beach. The red scarf you just had to have at the flea market. You're sentimental for keepsakes, and the proprietors of French Metro Antiques understand. 

Owners Renée and Terry Hunt believe that your habitat directly affects all aspects of your life. Which is why they've filled the 7,000-square-foot space with beautiful things: antique French furnishings and accessories. Located on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, the Hunts are direct importers of one-of-a-kind antiques.

At the tender age of 14, Renée fell in love with all things French. She's fluent in French, has studied in France and taught the language for 22 years. She even jokes that speaking French is almost a family requirement as she and Terry have long-participated in French traditions at home, sharing them with their four children.

Renée's intimate knowledge of French history, art and culture allows her to uncover treasures off the beaten track as the couple travels throughout France. Terry's dual degrees in business management and fine arts, as well as his woodworking expertise, are key to their partnership in acquiring authentic, quality pieces for their clients.

While Renée runs the front of the store, Terry spends his days in the back restoring furniture and polishing pieces for home accessorizing. The Hunts' oldest son, Alexander, handles the marketing and online sales (which accounts for a large portion of the store's revenue). Fluent in French, Italian, and Russian, Alexander has traveled extensively and has lived in France, Italy, and Russia. With degrees in French and European studies as well as Piano Performance, Alexander appreciates working with antique pieces that bring together history, art and craftsmanship. His natural gift for interior design also adds a new dimension to the Hunt family enterprise.

With a background in a wide range of styles from classical to contemporary, Renée helps clients choose pieces that will turn an ordinary place into a sanctuary they'll never want to leave. "Antique furniture offers a different alternative to new pieces, and provides craftsmanship and quality that lasts," she says.

The Hunts travel to France three times a year to personally select pieces for their store - a collection of antiques, with most of the merchandise dating from the 1600s to the 1930s. In fact, this family has been traveling to France for the last 25 years and has been importing since 1999. Their established long-term relationships with French friends and business associates contribute to their success in finding the rare and unique furniture pieces.

Because there's no need for a translator or buyer, the Hunts can directly import the best quality items and pass the savings onto their clients. No one piece in the store is alike or will ever be up for purchase again, so appease the Francophile within knowing the piece de résistance you'll take home won't be found anywhere else. Even better news? The prices are more than reasonable. 

With imports like seventeenth-century French oil paintings, ornately carved bergères, Prohibition-era trinkets, art objects and home accessories like antique ink wells, books and wire birdhouses, you're sure to fall in love with them all. French Metro Antiques makes you feel like you're walking through a Parisian market - and it's stocked with all the goodies you might find in one, from vintage scales and glass seltzer bottles to glass-front armoires and extra-large farm tables.

The Hunts go the extra mile and tag each item with a description listing where the item is from, its historical date and price. Renée is especially passionate about each piece in the store. "I love to see how each item will be used differently in our clients' homes," she says. "These pieces travel across the ocean, and I've seen beautiful tables go from a barn in rural France to a home in Northwest Arkansas." "Mixing antiques with new furniture adds beauty and warmth to any room," Renée adds. "And these [antique] pieces will always hold their value. French antiques are quality furnishings and their design continues to stand the test of time."

French Metro is your passport to Paris in Northwest Arkansas. No doubt you'll find the perfect souvenir for your home. We did.