After 20 years in the industry and a showroom consisting of 23,000 square feet, the team at Avery & Dash know a thing or two (or 23,000) about antiques. We spoke with President Nick Savard about trends in the space, his favorite shows, and what we’re calling the “antiques resurrection.”
DECASO: Avery & Dash was established in 1999. What has changed the most in the world of antiques in the last 20 years?
Nick Savard: In the last 20 years the antiques world has changed radically. When Avery & Dash first started out in antiques, eBay was essentially the only online platform. The “swap meet” aspect of it wasn’t very appealing to us. Not only did we want to offer quality products ready to be placed in homes, but we also wanted shopping for antiques to be an experience. That being said, technology itself has since transformed, and sophisticated websites such as DECASO give us the opportunity to reach a global buying audience.
Couple that with the cyclical pattern of design trends, and it’s a continuously evolving business. The major change in interior design seems to be an evasion of anything Baroque—or anything possessing the opulence that was once so popular before 2008. In keeping with the economic mood of the time, there was a rise in the popularity of griege shades as a base color for most rooms. This tonal starkness dovetailed with the rise of Mid-Century furniture, so that was predominantly what we sold. Now, we are beginning to see more of an antiques resurrection, but what truly sells are the pieces that are of superlative quality and have designer names. I am also not finding many clients looking for solid brown furniture, which is a shame because the quality is so much higher than what is produced now.
DECASO: What are some current trends in antiques and collecting overall? Any picks for what the next big thing will be?
Nick Savard: I am really excited that people are finally using color and pattern again! I am always amazed to see how much texture can be added to a room with the use of color. I have also been especially excited by the work of Jun Kaneko, as well as Native American ceramic—namely 19thcentury Acoma pottery and Mid 20th century works from San Ildefonso Pueblo.
DECASO: What are some of your favorite antiques shows?
Nick Savard: The new gold standard in the US for antiques shows is TEFAF in New York City. I attend this show with my staff every year so that we are reminded of the supreme quality of antiques that are out there. The pieces exhibited are truly exceptional. That being said, I have also enjoyed the Sight Unseen and Architectural Digest shows. I think that moving forward, the key is being aware of contemporary trends while also experimenting with how antiques can inform a space.
DECASO: As a bit of background, how do you select dealers to work with? Do you look to complement existing offerings at Avery & Dash in a specific way?
Nick Savard: There are two overriding features of the dealers I work with. The first is the quality of the merchandise they have to offer. Without question, all of the pieces that we feature must be ready to leave our doors and be placed in an interior; I am not interested in selling a project. The second attribute is possessing a unique vision. I love working with dealers who bring something new and different to the center. I still get excited by seeing decorative objects that I have not seen before; we are not selling widgets!
DECASO: The showroom is 23,000 square feet—that’s bigger than some museums out there! How do you advise clients to best work their way through the showroom?
Nick Savard: In fact, many of the pieces on our floor are museum quality or have been deaccessioned from museums. A half acre of decorative objects can be overwhelming for some, but we find that most trade clients are excited to have a large collection of this quality to shop under one roof. While 99% of the pieces we offer are unique, my staff is very familiar with the inventory and can put the uninitiated at ease.
DECASO: What is the general clientele like? I would imagine it’s a mix of people from around Connecticut as well as up from New York… how does that change what people are shopping for?
Nick Savard: We count 76 of the AD100 among our trade clients, with 80% of our overall clientele in the trade from both New York and Connecticut. With contractions in the number of established dealers in the market, we are finding trade shoppers coming from farther away, namely Florida and the Midwest.
DECASO: Tell us more about the New Mix Masters series with CTC&G; how did that come about? How do you select designers for inclusion?
Nick Savard: We wanted to encourage young designers to use antiques in their projects, so we asked seasoned designers to design layered spaces using antiques in a more contemporary setting. What’s great about it is that they source their pieces from the various dealer booths at Avery & Dash. It’s pretty amazing to see the vignette come together.
DECASO: Are there any hints on upcoming designers who may be included in the series in the future?
Nick Savard: We rely on DJ Carey, the editor of CTC&G, to lead us to the next brilliant designer in the series!