Friday, May 2, 2014

Flaire Antiques: Hidden Old World Antique Gem in Jacksonville's Art & Brewery District


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.

"Don't forget my turtle, it's smiling for you!!!" Olivere's voice booms as I wander through the workshop snapping shot after shot with my SLR.

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!
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25 comments:

  1. Interesting store!

    We have a couple like that in Toronto, same style of antiques. Not my favourite place to buy stuff from, but always fun to poke around.

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    1. Yeah I didn't even ask about buying anything, maybe next time. The lamps are pretty amazing. Better for looking than shopping as resellers.

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  2. I could stare at these pictures all day. Its like find Waldo but he's way cooler and everywhere. Super cool place! So I've decided Florida is far more interesting than I thought. You keep showing these glimpses of some really pretty, clever, interesting, thoughtful places.

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    1. Thanks Kari, and this one is literally a couple minutes away from me, loving sharing bits of my neighborhood. More to come! You should see the amazing structure next to this building, but it was too much to squeeze into one post I decided. All up-and-down Florida is a kitsch wonderland galore, excited to snap photos of it.

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  3. Oh I love me an antique store. It just makes you wonder if money were no object what I might come out of there with :)

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    1. Indeed! Maybe we're better off with the limitations ;) To keep things from getting crazy.

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  4. your neighborhood looks really cool and this shop is beautiful! I could spend days in it. It does remind me of some shops over here in Italy, really charming.
    Super happy to have found your blog! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'll be sharing shots of the whole neighborhood soon, lots of murals, great places to eat, breweries, etc :) Thank you for stopping by from Italy, hope you'll be back!

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    1. Indeed it was Melissa, so tempted to add shots of the surrounding area because it's all incredible but I'll wait for the next post :D

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  6. Looks like a HUGE estate sale. How fun!

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  7. Quite fun to walk through.

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  8. Fauna refers to animals. You meant to say flora

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    1. Yes, typo there. It's corrected.

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  9. Hey! Well done! At least in my opinion! Your photos captured some fascinating features of this shop/workshop, etc. I find this type of post interesting and inspiring.

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    1. Same here Rebecca, had to share. Definitely the type of space that inspires an artist-brain :D

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  10. looks like the perfect place to browse for hours! and i have that same turtle! i got it from my husbands grandma and it holds some hen and chicks succulents by my door!

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    1. I had a similar boy-one a while back :)

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  11. What did you buy? I can't imagine that you would go through that place and not buy something! How were their prices? I will have to stop by that place one day,,,,,I saw so many cool things that I wanted!

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    1. Stop by and support 'em if you're ever in the area! Oliviere is a hoot, he's boisterous ;) I didn't ask about any prices at all, I'm forbidden to buy new wares right now my storage is all stuffed to the brim for the moment. Tell 'em I sent you if you check 'em out!

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  12. Hi there, oh what fun it would be to roam around that store. What joy. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Chris!

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  13. Love! Where in Riverside? Is anything for sale? Hours?

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    1. It's all for sale :) The address is provided in the link the website in the post.

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    2. 646 King St, Jacksonville, Florida 32204

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