Writer: Alison Spear
Photographer: Buff Strickland
ome to some of the most beautiful houses in America, Palm Beach is necessarily serious about antiques. Its South Dixie Antique Row, which takes up a stretch of the South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, aims to please, with 40 shops, three restaurants, and even a hotel. It was only natural that I take my friend and client Beth Rudin DeWoody, who describes herself as a “compulsive and avid collector,” on a tour of the row. An inveterate shopper, she’ll go anywhere, from “the bottom of the food chain” to upper-crust upscale.
Our day started out at Echo Design, which is owned by Tracy Coffey, the president of the West Palm Beach Antique Row Association. Small and quaint, Echo likes to mix it up, from 1970s mirrored place mats to 19th-century Italian ceramics. (Beth bought the place mats.) The shop next door, Dolce, is as sweet as its name. Proprietor Tony Sirianni has a sophisticated eye for 19th-and mid-20th century pieces. The highlight: a pure crystal obelisk most appropriately employed as a bracelet column. Other curiosities at Dolce: a crystal dirigible, ideal for a hanging fixture in a small powder room, a Don Nice sneaker drawing, and a14-inch-high Gothic church model made of shells. Speaking of shells, Christa’s South Antiques and Seashells is shell madness—chandeliers, mirrors, statuary, and other accessories are all covered in the stuff. Nine-year-old Roman, proprietor Christa Wilm’s son, sold us shell masks for 50 cents to $1.50 each; the adjacent shell workshop and garden are really adorable. Next, J & M Antiques caught Beth’s attention with an oversize Italian metal-frame bed, beautiful in its thinness, and beyond-bizarre white leather Italian futuristic chairs. Arriving at ...Jeffrey-Marie, hulking iron chandeliers with price tags to match. During the next half hour, Beth and I put our shoes to the test, cramming in NP Trent, Brass Scale Antiques, and John Prinster, where Beth bought a pair of fabulous aged red leather armchairs.
...After lunch, Beth and I shopped some more, at one point simultaneously pulling out our credit cards to purchase a pair of chrome and Naugahyde chaises. “Beth, don’t worry—you take them,” I said. “No, don’t worry, you take them,” she said. Ultimately we agreed that she would take them, but if they didn’t look right in her house I would buy them back for no up-charge. There’s nothing like a good deal.
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