Everything old is new again at The Antique Market at Distillery Commons – even the structure that is its home. Constructed after the Civil War, the austere brick buildings at the intersection of Lexington Road and Payne Street originally housed a series of distilleries that brought fame to the Irish Hill neighborhood through brands such as “Kentucky Dew” and “Red Velvet.”
Nestled among the offices that have moved into the revived and renamed Distillery Commons in recent years, The Antique Market is, as owner Bob Matson describes it, “an upscale antique mall.” He opened it seven years ago, after being downsized from his previous job in marketing and advertising.
Approximately 30 dealers take full advantage of the store’s 10,000 square feet to show off the furniture, artwork and accessories they have brought from all across America, Europe and beyond.
Each room display shows off its dealer’s interests and inventory, from a faux log cabin to an Asian-accented game room. Vintage silver mint julep cups, jewelry and salt-and-pepper shakers are popular stocking-suffers this year, Matson noted, and larger gift items range from Toleware serving trays to original artwork and folk art carvings.
The Antique Market has more than its share of impressive items that are destined for a new lease on life. One dealer recently brought from the Deep South an elegant Empire-style chest with a marble top; its first owner lived during the 1780s. A model of a Chinese emperor’s hat and sword, carved out of bone during the 1940s, awaits the owner who has an appropriately dramatic setting to show it off.
Matson is especially proud of a massive rolltop desk that was made for a physician in a village in Transylvania (now part of Romania) between 1740 and 1780. The cabinetmaker interwove tiny sections of dark and light walnut wood, and used a burned-wood technique to sear details into the front of the desk. He also inscribed the doctor’s name, not only to identify its owner but also to ensure that it was not delivered to the wrong person. The 21st-century price tag: $22,000.
“It’s the thrill of the chase – the chance to find magnificent pieces such as that desk – that drives our dealers,” Matson said. “A couple of them come in almost every day with something new, so our merchandise rotates regularly. With as many dealers as we have, there’s always something new coming through the door.”
The Antique Market at Distillery Commons is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays. For information, visit ,www.antiquesatdistillery.com or call (502) 583-5510.
photos by MARY ALAN WOODWARD | contributing photographer
Category: Business Profile