It’s no secret that a fine antique — whether it be a marble-topped painted console, a 19th Century Swedish clock with perfect patina, or an English architectural remnant that can be placed on the wall as art — will always be in style, even in today’s modern world. While big-box interiors stores and online purveyors of new furniture and accessories have made a splash in recent years, the demand for the old has remained a constant. But ask any designer how to really make a room sing, and he or she will tell you that it’s all in the mix.

To bring this idea home, we visited the experts at Henhouse Antiques, an English Village staple that has lured homeowners, designers and collectors through its doors for more than 20 years. Just across the road from Continental Bakery, its charming exterior is a prelude to the real magic inside.

Henhouse Antiques is located in English Village at 1900 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223.

Henhouse Antiques is located in English Village at 1900 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223.

The shop is filled with striking pieces that stir the imagination.

The shop is filled with striking pieces that stir the imagination.

It’s a haven of chic antiques — furniture, mirrors and conversation pieces that beckon buyers. Though one can find surprises and must-haves around every corner, the wares are well edited, thanks to the shop’s proprietors who each have a well-trained eye. Barbara Ashford and Judy Hill opened Henhouse Antiques in November of 1997 and have hit the ground running ever since. Today, Ashford’s daughter, Laura Gessert, manages the shop and also goes on the three to four buying trips the trio takes every year.

The fruits of their overseas excursions to their trusted sources in England are the shop’s European antiques with provenances that range from English, French, Swedish and Italian from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. But the ladies at Henhouse know that throwing in some modern touches are key. Displayed alongside their treasures are some newer items, mostly in the form of lamps, pillows, cocktail tables and occasionally abstract art. “Putting the modern with the really old pieces shakes it up,” says co-owner Judy Hill. “They really show each other off.”

A gorgeous collection of ironstone and transferware is complemented by the muted patina of the rustic open-shelved cabinet on which it is displayed.

A gorgeous collection of ironstone and transferware is complemented by the muted patina of the rustic open-shelved cabinet on which it is displayed.

From rustic to refined to one-of-a-kind, Henhouse's curated collection of antique and modern finds is truly impressive.

From rustic to refined to one-of-a-kind, Henhouse’s curated collection of antique and modern finds is truly impressive.

Many renowned local designers frequent Henhouse, but Barbara and Judy also have a plethora of longtime customers who are not in the trade, but are homeowners who keep coming back for more. One such client has been buying from Henhouse since its inception, and she graciously opened her doors to give us a peek at the fabulous mix of old and new that can be found at the shop.

In the house of a longtime Henhouse client, an antique terra cotta French wine jug, which co-owner Judy Hill explains is a rare find, juxtaposes the hard edge of a modern lamp behind a plush seat complete with an on-trend ikat pillow.

In the house of a longtime Henhouse client, an antique terra cotta French wine jug, which Henhouse co-owner Judy Hill explains is a rare find, juxtaposes the hard edge of a modern lamp behind a plush seat complete with an on-trend ikat pillow.

Though boasting a decidedly modern feel, “ghost chairs are timeless,” says Judy. In a client’s kitchen, the set pairs nicely with an antique door that now hangs as art. The clock beyond, another Henhouse find, is from an old train station.

Though boasting a decidedly modern feel, “ghost chairs are timeless,” says Judy. In a client’s kitchen, the set pairs nicely with an antique door that now hangs as art. The clock beyond, another Henhouse find, is from an old train station.

Modern lamps are always available at Henhouse, as it’s one of the ways the shop masters the mix of old and new. Here they bring interest to a client’s vignette with an antique mirror, sewing box and draw table, all from Henhouse. The touch of animal print, which can be used as a neutral, is a good way to add a little flair to any space.

Modern lamps are always available at Henhouse, as it’s one of the ways the shop masters the mix of old and new. Here they bring interest to a client’s vignette with an antique mirror, sewing box and draw table, all from Henhouse. The touch of animal print, which can be used as a neutral, is a good way to add a little flair to any space.

Occasionally Henhouse will have a show featuring a modern artist’s works, and this abstract by Atlanta-based Andrea Costa in a client’s house came from such a show. The clean-lined lamp is another modern element that, together with the art, works beautifully atop a marble-top Irish painted console.

Occasionally Henhouse will have a show featuring a modern artist’s works, and this abstract by Atlanta-based Andrea Costa in a client’s house came from such a show. The clean-lined lamp is another modern element that, together with the art, works beautifully atop a marble-top Irish painted console.

Another treasure from Henhouse, a French buffet dating from 1850, marries nicely with a newer painting from a client’s private collection. A simple gathering of hydrangeas in creamware, also from Henhouse, adds another layer of life to the scene.

Another treasure from Henhouse, a French buffet dating from 1850, marries nicely with a newer painting from a client’s private collection. A simple gathering of hydrangeas in creamware, also from Henhouse, adds another layer of life to the scene.

Antique black-and-white photographs of botanicals in clean, modern frames juxtapose the wonderful patina of a cabinet from a client’s private collection. Henhouse originally had 30 of these works by acclaimed German photographer Karl Blossfeldt, but only one remains for a last lucky buyer.

Antique black-and-white photographs of botanicals in clean, modern frames juxtapose the wonderful patina of a cabinet from a client’s private collection. Henhouse originally had 30 of these works by acclaimed German photographer Karl Blossfeldt, but only one remains for a last lucky buyer.

The owners of Henhouse believe in the idea that buying one antique every year is a good approach for homeowners who find themselves without many older pieces. Doing so will make a house feel layered and lived-in, as opposed to stark and boring. “Even just one antique really warms up a room,” says Barbara’s daughter and Henhouse manager, Laura Gessert.

Back at the shop, a geometric fabric on a pillow is a nice counterpart to a gilded starburst mirror. Having new pillows on offer is one of the ways Henhouse gives their displays an easy facelift, and they’re often changed out seasonally.

Back at the shop, a geometric fabric on a pillow is a nice counterpart to a gilded starburst mirror. Having new pillows on offer is one of the ways Henhouse gives their displays an easy facelift, and they’re often changed out seasonally.

An old English rocking horse is given new life as a decorative accessory. Henhouse has found many of these over the years, and they can often be found in the shop. Boxy shades on the sconces beyond show how the proprietors of Henhouse tend to mix modern lighting with their antiques.

An old English rocking horse is given new life as a decorative accessory. Henhouse has found many of these over the years, and they can often be found in the shop. Boxy shades on the sconces beyond show how the proprietors of Henhouse tend to mix modern lighting with their antiques.

It’s never too early to begin thinking about the holidays, and Henhouse’s modern ornaments and offerings are a fun take on Christmas decorating. Mixing metals is one way to keep things fresh, as shown here at the shop with some white and silver–toned trees beneath a floral-accented double sunburst mirror. Henhouse begins decking its halls with Christmas wares by the end of October.

It’s never too early to begin thinking about the holidays, and Henhouse’s modern ornaments and offerings are a fun take on Christmas decorating. Mixing metals is one way to keep things fresh, as shown here at the shop with some white and silver–toned trees beneath a floral-accented double sunburst mirror. Henhouse begins decking its halls with Christmas wares by the end of October.

So, lend some warmth to your modern interiors with some gorgeous antiques!

Henhouse Antiques is located in English Village at 1900 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (205) 918-0505 or visit henhouseantiques.com.

Thank you to Holland Williams of Holland Williams Photography for these gorgeous images.

This article is sponsored by Henhouse Antiques.

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