Eye for quality guides selections at Artifacts — Etc.By: Gloria Young,
Discovering interesting antiques and unique home décor pieces is something Jack Robinson and his wife Cheryl Barquist have enjoyed for a couple of decades.
Now they’ve put some of their special finds into a retail store, Artifacts–etc., in Old Town Auburn’s Gold Rush Plaza.
“A lot of my antiques come from Europe and the old oil mansions like Phillips Petroleum’s in Oklahoma,” Barquist said Monday.
The store’s selection ranges from antique cabinets to padded chairs, glass chandeliers, Argan beauty products and jewelry. Among the pieces on display recently were a solid wood rocking horse from the 1930s and even an old-fashioned metal bread box.
The jewelry is made by a local artist using real gemstones, Barquist said. She also offers made-to-order custom pieces — “for instance something to match a wedding dress.”
The collection reflects Barquist’s background in remodeling and decorating homes for resell. Over the years she’s focused on how to recognize furniture and décor pieces that have value. She relies a great deal on provenance — where the seller got the piece and who had it before. But there are other qualities that make a possible purchase stand out.
“I always look for dovetailed drawers and the finish and patina on the furniture — and if it is hand carved,” she said.
A high boy currently on display has all that — plus hidden compartments, another indication of authenticity.
“They just don’t do that anymore,” she said.
Besides poring over pieces at sales, she’s acquired a lot of her knowledge on antiques through reading.
This history of the pieces is something Robinson enjoys.
“We also just think they are interesting things that people don’t really know about,” he said. “We (buy) a lot of interesting European antiques and it is a chance to go to Europe.”
Something that saddens Barquist and Robinson is the trend of repainting old furniture.
“A lot of antiques are going away,” she said. “They lose value when they are painted.”
When not tending the retail business, the couple has a horse ranch in North Auburn, where Barquist raises Hanoverians.
Barquist describes the couple’s home as an “eclectic mix of new, vintage and true antiques.”
“I’ve bought a lot of things from old historic mansions,” she said. “My dining room table is just like the one in the White House, but on a smaller scale.”
July Klemstein, visiting Auburn from Canby, Ore., took some time to browse in the store recently.
“I used to live here,” she said. “I come to Old Town to visit every year. We always have breakfast at Awful Annie’s. We’ve seen the town change. It’s such a wonderful place and this shop is so lovely.”
Reach Gloria Young at email@example.com.