I live in a unique (hidden) spot, walking distance from a strip of bustling bars and gastropubs in one direction and a stone's throw away from indie breweries and an expanding arts district in the other. Beside the sprawling complex covered in artist's murals, a white industrial building stands like a solid sentinel in the revelry, unchanged by time like a white monolith. I assumed this space was unoccupied; abandoned. It's a silent, with no parking and no coming or going traffic I've ever witnessed.
It was recently removed, but there was a decaying "Antiques" sign (see it here) on the exterior that had me dreaming of what the space could be- or was. After hearing this space was actually open I biked over in a minute and knocked on the double doors above an "Antiques" sign painted on the building in bold red. The gregarious French owner Olivier Flaire answered, inviting me to peruse his giant warehouse of antiques, hand-crafted art, and retro collectibles.
Browsing Olivier's shop bought back memories of shops in Europe with all the large imitation Baroque style armoires, classic oil paintings and overall patina I connect with the Old World. It's very dusty, but enchanting.
I walk around Flaire Antiques and I'm back in shops in Naples or Florence filled with antiques and oil paintings of boats in a scenic harbor, the paints scraped on thick with a palette knife to produce a surprisingly photo-realistic art pieces for tourists to remember scenic Italia.
I remember homes, in 1990s Italy anyway, filled with nothing but heirloom furniture. The old walls and windows here really complete the scene. And the chicken. There were a lot of chickens! Painted on the plate, served on the plate, in paintings, running around, crowing at sunrise.
I spy and desire all of the mid century modern wares, retro pieces jump out from the brick-a-brack like neon orange signs in a hazy distance.
The shop is vaguely labyrinthian, large and old world yet industrial at the same time.
Natural light shines through antique windows giving the mix of antiques, modern reproductions and retro wares a dreamy haze.
On the other side of the building is a large studio where Olivier makes original art pieces sold around the world. I love his style.
Even the courtyard where Lazy Dale is parked is full of delicious textured, beautifully juxtaposed with Florida's flora growing wild.
Flaire Antiques has been around since 1991! Look them up (website here) if you're in the Riverside area. We'll have to return for a Part II for more photos of the beautiful shop. Don't neglect to knock on the door of any assumed "abandoned" space- you never know what treasures, or muse, could be lurking within!