Antiques Shopping In Downtown Orange: A Fun Adventure

Posted on Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 | No Comments

I love downtown Orange. Granted, I am biased, I live in the city of Orange. But even before moving here I loved to stroll through the streets around the Orange Circle, or Plaza, here in the center of Orange County in Southern California. It’s one of the few places where I feel like I am actually walking through a real town, a town with history, a town with a sense of community.

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Houses 100+ years old, each one different, each one with character: Prairie Style, Craftsman, Queen Ann, Spanish Colonial, Victorian, Art Deco, Bungalow – you name it!



But the biggest draw of downtown Orange are the antique shops. I could spend hours strolling through the different stores and discover whimsical treasures and chic vintage items. It’s such a different experience from shopping at a mall, or, professionally speaking, at a To-The-Trade Design Center.



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Everything is one-of-a-kind, and there is just SO much to see in downtown Orange! Most shops or vendor spaces are overflowing with stuff! Therefore it resembles more a scavenger hunt, or a discovery tour rather than a shopping trip. Some of the shops  in downtown Orange specialize on something in particular like Woodys that has a nice collection of beautifully restored 1930s-1950s Heywood Wakefield furniture.


Or Summerhill where you find tons of sparkling crystal chandeliers.


And at the Antique Station they have 1950s or even 1920s stoves – functioning as I was told!


What’s really fun is to see how old things have been re-appropriated: Like old silverware turned into a chandelier, an old tub into a swing, old box spring coils into wall art that can hold all kinds of things! I love stuff like that! It sure sparks the imagination! One time I found a couple of old shoe molds at one of the shops here and turned them into bookends for a client. Pretty neat!

Of course, as an interior designer I love mixing styles, placing old dinged-up commercial steel lockers next to elegant silk drapes, a Biedermeier armoire next to Mies Van Der Rohe’s Barcelona chairs. A frou-frou antique crystal chandelier over a sleek Saarinen Tulip Table and Oval Back chairs. This creates interest and tension, but it’s a yin and yang kind of a tension that somehow balances itself. It’s a fine line between eclectic and hodgepodge, and you really have to know what you are doing. There is no rule to it, it’s more a gut feeling plus experience that lets me determine what works and what doesn’t.


But anyways, browsing through the downtown Orange antique shops I sometimes wished I could use them more often for my clients’ design projects. But it’s somewhat of a dilemma, because a) most of them have a no return policy. And if a client does not like an item I purchased for them, unlike with other stores or showrooms, I cannot return it. And b) it can be very time consuming, and there’s no guarantee I find what I am looking for. But I am sure if a project calls for it we can work out an arrangement.

There are also several art galleries that I love around the Orange Plaza. One of them is Copperwood Artware. It features local artists like Lilia Venier, who creates ceramic pieces with interesting textures and beautiful colors. Another one is “The Gallery On Glassell” with art of California and the West. Of course, there are many more art galleries and antique shops in downtown Orange, way too many to name them all…..

In times when so much is mass produced abroad it feels good to support local artisans and manufacturers. Consider that you are buying something that has been created by the mind and the hands of one person, and that is absolutely unique and singular – and not mass produced by machines! That’s well worth the higher price – in my mind.



And if these are not enough reasons yet for a little trip to my beloved downtown Orange, there are plenty of fabulous and fun restaurants, starting at Café Lucca, where we went this morning for breakfast, to The Filling Station (a remodeled old gas station), and, my all time favorite, Gabbi’s, featuring “nueva cucina mexicana”  – exquisite!

Call me for a shopping trip through downtown Orange and for design and decorating services in general: 714.404.9816.

Kind regards,
Sabine, KK Design Koncepts

posted: 13 February 2

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