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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.