Antique Hunting Secrets

We’re pretty lucky to live just ever so slightly off the beaten path – and ofcourse “off the path” is where you almost always find treasure… The secret to successful antiquing is not only knowing where to look, but developing an eye for those gems hidden beneath layers of dust and dis-repair…

In recent months, Trumeau Stones has partnered with 507 Antiques in Toronto – a huge supplier of antiques that many interior decorators and designers consider sacred! Since finally completing basic renovations on the showroom, it was time to give the place a little character with some artfully placed bric a brac. We headed over to 507.

Antique hunting tip number 1: Keep an open mind and use your imagination…

Its important to remember that an old piece of furniture or art is going to have some noticeable signs of aging. You have to be able to a) learn to appreciate certain flaws in a piece, and b) use your imagination and picture the piece not as it is, but as what it COULD be. Take for example this mantelpiece I spotted:


Now this is a pretty amazing piece as is. In relatively good condition (the wood has been well cared for) and with some lovely detailing in the carving. I was drawn to this piece because of the scallop detail on the over mantel (will certainly inspire a piece in the future!). However, the cherry stain of the wood is perhaps a little dated for the decor in our home. BUT… imagine this is a deep, chocolate stain with a super high gloss… changing it up to a neutral tone finish would go a long way to making this piece fit in a more contemporary home. So – imagine the possibilities in a piece before you turn away from it.


Antique hunting tip #2: Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty n/ dusty! 

Yes, this is a rule that truly separates the dabblers from the serious antique HUNTERS. If you are shopping somewhere where all the antiques are polished and cleaned to a tee, you are probably going to find that the prices are higher and the selection is smaller. Personally, I love to smear away a layer of dust on a thing to reveal its sparkle… Its like I’m literally uncovering the treasure with my own hands (pirate/ Goonies wish fulfillment here…). So – bring some gloves, some hand sanitizer, and get dusty!

Antique hunting tip #3: Develop your fixer upper skills or make friends with someone who is already keen…

Imagining a new finish or treatment on an antique won’t do you much good if you don’t have the skills to make it happen. Now – being a tradesperson I’m pretty much equipped to turn any kind of trash into treasure if I want. Not the case for many people – but there is nothing you can’t learn!


Take this stunning piece… Again – while virtually perfect as is, I could go for an ever slightly more distressed patina and aged look – as though this woman shouldering “time” on her shoulders has been in existence for hundreds of years. Never done it before, but google “DIY patina metal” and boom! You’ve got a hundred different lessons on how to do it. Just make sure you are safe (outdoors! workshop! supervised!), and if you’re unsure – seek out a person who knows what they’re doing.

We’ll be visiting many more antique shops and flea markets in the months to come so stay tuned for more antique-hunting tips!