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Timeworn Treasures

Embracing the Extraordinary, enhancing our homes with unique saved and salvaged finds

When asked about the benefits of having antique items in your home, Gary Sealy simply responded with “They’re unique!

An avid collector and proclaimed junker since he was 16, this lifelong passion began with the purchase of a spinning wheel, in the early 1960's.  After acquiring countless treasures over the years, Gary eventually opened his antique business in 2012, when after amassing such a vast personal collection, his wife suggested he let others enjoy it too - by selling it on, and the rest is history – so to speak!

“Antiques At the Barn”, or “Artunkables”, delights and entices as soon as you pull into the driveway.  A charming, 1945 cherry red cottage, barn, and a plethora of storage and display spaces nestle on the Spring Stuebner property.  Being a bit of a treasure hunter myself, the excitement began at first sight. Windmill blades, cupolas, finials, statues, water fountains, weathervanes, propellors, carousel horses and ornate stained-glass windows grabbed my attention! The treasure trove leads me inside, snake skins and hides are piled high alongside decorative mirrors, corbels, a window from a London pub, larger-than-life-size buddhas and an old safe from 1880. The collection comes from far and wide and long ago.

My adventure continues when I discover a barn, or two, housing a selection of rescued architectural salvage, an assortment of recovered fixtures and fittings which includes antique doors, reclaimed wood and windows. Gary showed me a light fitting he recently made using wood from an old chicken coop, the wood is textured from where the chickens pecked the surface, it’s unique!

antiquesatthebarn.boutiquewindow.com

These fabulous finds can greatly enhance our life spaces, salvaged and saved items add character and warmth, acknowledging the past and making it part of today.  The skills required to create these handmade treasures are fast disappearing. As well as adding interest to a space, they can save money, and help our environment by reusing and repurposing. We can beat the supply chain and have terrific fun along the way.

Houston-based partners Merri Pruitt and Jimmy Littleton began their restoration business in New Orleans in the 1980’s. A fine art printmaker and commercial artist respectively, the team established their decorative painting business, Pruitt-Littleton Decorative Artists in 1985. Many years of business followed in the New Orleans vicinity and New York City, where they completed in-situ decorative, and refurbishment work as well as furniture restoration and gilding.

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, they relocated their business to The Houston Heights, where they now concentrate on projects for residential clients and interior designers. The studio is a terrific hive of activity, with projects in varying stages of completion, all uniquely individual!

 “In 2021, we were honored to be involved with the restoration of The 1874 Guesthouse in Galveston, we painted a checkerboard floor in one of the bedrooms of the beautifully restored mansion,” Merri tells me.

Many projects are inherited sentimental pieces or those that the client has had for a while. Dark wood items are reworked and lovingly restored with creative finishes, including malachite, leopard skin and trompe le’oeil illusionary effects that create remarkable showstopping pieces which work in both traditional and contemporary home design. 

During the pandemic when people were forced to stay at home, and our surroundings became paramount, these old pieces of furniture gained our attention. “Clients would bring their projects and set them on our driveway, we would transform them and return in the same way,” said Merri.

Everything is painted with a brush; numerous layers are required to create the finished result. A design is drawn up and samples are made for the client to approve, an overflowing shelf of hand-painted samples can help with the design process. “Our work is like chemistry, as we have to work with many different paints and solvents to obtain the desired results,” said Jimmy.

These loved items with softened edges all have a story to tell and make our homes a better place to be, they are statement pieces that certainly have their position in our world of today.

Find them at pruitt-littleton.com

Seeking inspiration?

HGTV's numerous shows include Big Texas Fix, Windy City Rehab, Fixer Upper and At Home with The Fords, present outdated, neglected homes from country ranch to city terrace, which are sympathetically transformed using the ingredients of hard work, imagination and determination. Incorporating thoughtful design for today’s lifestyle using salvaged and repurposed elements wherever necessary bring these overlooked properties back to life in a truly beautiful way. 

Further sources and inspiration –

 galleryoneauctions.com - Conroe based fabulous finds

 antiquegalleryhouston.com  - A huge selection with 250+ vendors 

leanneford.com - Books, magazines, TV show

Round Top, Spring Show, March 16th to April 2nd.

When asked about the benefits of having antique items in your home, Gary Sealy simply responded with “They’re unique!

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