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Homework: Upcycling antiques

The blend of time periods as well as

The blend of time periods as well as aesthetics is part of what makes upcycled pieces unique. Black Swan Antiques in Bridgehampton has a console ($2,400) with a 150-pound base from a 1930s-era Detroit grinding machine, and a solid oak top from the 1850s. Photo Credit: Handout

The Pier Antiques Show will be held this weekend in Manhattan with almost 500 exhibitors gathered to sell and showcase their wares to decorators, collectors, designers and people who love to shop.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 people attend the show each year, browsing booths dedicated to vintage and antique furnishings and decorations, and strolling through Fashion Alley, a special section devoted entirely to vintage clothing. Prices at the show range from $20 for a set of vintage buttons to upward of $30,000 for an original Tiffany lamp. Gary Sohmers, an appraiser from PBS' "Antiques Roadshow," will be on hand to give pop culture appraisals to attendees hoping to find a little cash in their attics, for $5 per item, with the money going to charity.

Trend hunters at the show will also be on the lookout for upcycled items, which represent a new direction in the antique marketplace. "Upcycling means taking something that used to be used one way and using it in another way," says Jeanne Stella of Stella Shows, the company that produces the Pier Show. "For example, taking an industrial cart and making it into a table."

Upcycling isn't brand new, but lately it's been experiencing a surge, as collectors and decorators search for increasingly unusual pieces to purchase. Here are some examples of the upcycling trend from Long Island antiques dealers who will be at the show.


Some upcycled items feature architectural elements repurposed as furniture. For example, this console ($1,700) from Bridehampton's Schorr & Dobinsky (booth ⌘) is made from a period French balcony front. The balcony dates from about 1870 and is originally from a Napolean III-style town house.


The paw-footed bronze base of this marble-topped table ($1,250) from M&M Antiques in Long Beach (booth ሔ) dates from between 1860 and 1875, and was originally the base of a lectern table at a school. It was converted into this 28-inch round table during the 1930s.


Black Swan Antiques in Bridgehampton (booth 㑃) has a console ($2,400) with a 150-pound base from a 1930s-era Detroit grinding machine and a solid oak top from the 1850s.


Kay Mertens of East Meadow (booth ㌐) specializes in textiles from the '50s and '60s, which she sells for about $25 per yard. She upcycled this pair of vintage French accent chairs ($2,400) by reupholstering them with this unexpected 1950s guitar motif fabric, giving the antique seats a fresh new look. Other themes in Mertens' fabric collection include Space Age styles, tropical prints and abstracts.


Harry Knoch, of Harry & Ginny's Antiques in Brookhaven (booth ⍉), gives old window frames new life ($100) by replacing the existing glass with mirrors. The effect, Knoch says, can be like having an extra window, especially if the mirror is placed strategically, so that it reflects an existing view.

WHAT The 26th annual Pier Antiques Show

WHEN |WHERE 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, Pier 94, 12th Avenue at 55th Street in Manhattan

INFO $15; children under 16 are free when accompanied by an adult; on Sunday, students under 21 with a valid college ID can enter for free all day;


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