Friday, August 7, 2009

Shop Stop: B-4 it was Cool

89 East Houston, NYC, 10012

Remember my posting about the crazy off-the-wall street antique shop meets circus fair, Billy's Antiques and Props? This place, B-4 it was Cool, is on the other side of East Houston. Intrigued by places that have no signage, I crossed to other side to take a peak and see if this was a junk shop, or treasure shop. Interior design is subjective and what one may find fabulous the other may find horrific. I love salvaged pieces, so though most were items I would probably not use for projects, there were many interesting items that I could definitely place in specific interiors that called for the use of "industrial antiques"- mainly lighting.

Walking into the store, I was greeted by an extremely friendly gentlemen who actually offered to give me a back rub...(I had injured my back and had a slight limp, and yeah, it was as weird as it sounds) but I knew he meant nothing by it, and was quickly followed with a "I didn't mean that to sound the way it did. Sorry." And I...being the friendly girl I am, put his nervousness to rest with a smile and giggle, and ignored the comment. It makes me laugh thinking about it, even now!

Doesn't this look like a store front that should be in a small town in the south, not a busy street in Lower Manhattan? With the chipping white painted wall, the antique fan, and faded American flag blowing in the wind?

He showed me around the store and explained that most pieces are industrial items, meaning they weren't necessarily built for beauty, but rather for its actual purpose- providing light, a seat to sit on, a bench to work on, etc. But I have always found "old" and "unimportant" pieces to be so fun. I love to think of their history and who owned it, the life they had, where are they now. I am just sentimental I guess. As a little girl, I remember digging through remnants at Davis Lumber Co. (my families business and over 100 years old) and finding an old ink jar and a fountain pen. I was so excited about it, and actually kept it on my book shelf for many years.......

Most pieces are from the late 19th century to mid 20th century and have a price point ranging anywhere from $200 to $6000. Here are a few of my favorites.

These are flush mount ceiling fixtures with a faceted mirrored dome and exposed light bulbs.

Change the light bulb to a light bulb with an exposed filament and you have a modern industrial antique fixture.

I picture these kitchen lamps as perfect lights over an island in a huge farmhouse style home in the Hamptons, Nantucket, or somewhere in the Carolinas (I haven't been to any of those, but I sure picture it!) Perhaps even with a hint of a nautical theme, or maybe even Americana! That's for you mom!

These iron exterior wall lanterns were a pair and really beautiful and quite large- probably 36". These are perfect for flanking the entry doors of a home of Spanish or Mediterranean architecture.

Obviously, this is not American industrial, but there are a few items sporadically placed throughout the space, that the owner has collected through his antique travels.

As you walk down the tiny stairs into the basement, it feels like you are time-traveling into the workshop of a blacksmith in the early 1900's. You can't see it, but on the left there is a whole antique tool section.

I really love this piece and would have to say it is my favorite at approximately 48" diameter. I am not sure where this would be used, but its iron and wood workmanship is definitely something to admire.

Stop into this little shop on the corner and I know you will find something unique! And if not, raid your grandfather's garage. I bet there are tiny little treasures with great stories to be found.


The Designista

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