Monday, September 20, 2010

The "Ultimate Green" business?

I must admit that I haven't fully jumped on the "green" bandwagon. I love nature, spent tons of time in the woods, did a lot of camping out, love to fish and hunt, love the mountains and the ocean....I think I can accurately say that I love nature and  Mother Earth.  But sometimes, I am a bit skeptical about all of the new wave of "green" living and "green" products that are sweeping the country.  I can't say I'm a fan of the new light bulb and don't care much for Sheryl Crow's crusade for everyone to only use one piece of toilet paper.... for what? to clean your reading glasses? I don't think that was what she was referring to, but I'll leave that to others to determine.
Another case in point, the new "water saver" washing machines.... ugh.  After two years of a smelly washer, long wash cycles, running cleaning solution through it every week, clothes that were not that sparkling, and a lot of complaining from my lovely wife who does the laundry, I sold our top of the line Samsung steam machines for a $1500 loss on Craig's List and said good riddance!  We replaced it with a good old fashioned Maytag, that does a bang-up job! So what if it uses a little more water? Ain't nobody happy if Mama ain't happy!  Only problem is, I can't find a  machine that folds and puts the clothes up!!!  Do they make a "green" machine that will do that?  That could get me on board for "green"!!  So I tried to be green in that area, but it just didn't work out.
To me, a lot of the "green" bandwagon is just a way for folks to "feel good" about their actions; however, the ends may not justify the means.  I don't know if it's true or not, but case in point is every year on Earth Day, when everyone turns their lights off for an hour.  This sacrificial act seems to give millions of earth lovers an incredible high, knowing that that one hour has helped the earth, saved a lot of energy and made all those folks feel so good about their act of kindness.  There's only one problem:  when everyone turns the power back on after that hour, it uses twice as much power as what was saved!!!! 

Or like ethanol.... when to the best I can determine, by the time corn is planted, watered, sprayed with pesticides, fertilized that runs into rivers, harvested, processed and hauled to market, it costs more to make than it will ever save!!! (But it SOUNDS so good!) Plus, I just heard where in Indonesia, they are producing biofuel from Palm trees. Sounds great, right?  Problem is, how many acres of palms will be destroyed to save a few miles per gallon and reduce the carbon footprint?  Sounds like the ends don't justify the means to me, but what do I know?  I better hush before I get political!

But, there is one "green industry" that's been around for about 300 years and is still going strong.  In my opinion, it's the original "re-cycling business" if you will, and the best "green" business in the world!!!  The antique business!!!! saves energy, saves trees, doesn't pollute, recycles old materials, doesn't require chemical finishes, is extremely functional, has intrinsic value, never goes to a landfill, has no carbon footprint, passes from generation to generation, has asthetic beauty, creates jobs and spurs the economy!
Every time someone buys an antique, they are "going green!"   I think I will contact Al Gore and get him to do a documentary on "green antiques".... it could be called, "A Convenient Truth". I don't think it would even have to be doctored to win an Oscar!!! Sorry, getting political again, better shut up.  (Plus, since he invented the internet, I better not pick on him).

Seriously, the antique business really is a "green" business and was "green before "green" was cool; folks just didn't realize it!  If you think about it, how many products are out there that can be "recycled" for 300 years and look and function as good as they did when they were new? Plus, besides fine wine, (and my lovely wife), how many things get better with age? (She tells me all the time she's getting older, I just tell her it's a beautiful "patina!").  Think of some of the things I mentioned earlier.  Utilizing antiques instead of new furniture, helps save the rain forest. It's amazing the amount of timber that is cleared each year in places like Indonesia, the Phillipines and South America for manufacturing furniture! Plus, think about the fuel it takes to haul timber, power to mill it and ship it. The majority of new furniture has lacquer finishes; what happens to the spent chemicals? Where do the lacquer fumes go? It takes tons of cardboard to pack it and millions of gallons of fuel to ship and truck it.  Plus, it's mostly made in Asia now and the quality sucks!  Sorry, but true!

So, the antique business in my opinion is "the ultimate green business." So if you're following this blog, start doing your part to "go green" and save the earth.... buy antiques! I promise you this is a habit you'll feel good about, will help save the planet and you can  know you're also helping your fellow man. (yes, guys like me!)

P.S.  I forgot to mention the other great aspect of "going green" by buying can also pay with "green". That's my favorite part! Gotta love it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Knockin' around on Labor Day

One of our favorite " spur of the moment " things to do on a Saturday or holiday,  is to go to McKinney, Texas and "knock around" for a few hours.  McKinney is about 30 minutes north of Dallas and the town square is a real treat.  McKinney was recently named by Money Magazine as the 5th best place to live in the country! McKinney is one of the oldest towns in Texas and also one of the fastest growing. McKinney's reputation as a great place to live is well deserved. It has most everything one could want in a city to live and raise a family:  Beautiful neighborhoods, historic homes, rolling topography, great golf courses,  lots of trees, excellent shops and, restaurants, great schools, a great business climate, close proximity to a big city and lots of history. McKinney's historic town square is one of  it's best assets and maintains it's late 19th century feel and charm.  Hundreds of folks make the trek to McKinney from all over the Metroplex every weekend to enjoy early Texas architecture, interesting boutiques, antique shops and various eating establishments.

One of my favorite shops is Alternative Furnishings.  The owner Charm, is a personal friend and one of the nicest ladies you will ever meet.  I don't think I've ever left her shop without buying something! (she loves to see me coming!)  Today's find was a fabulous antique arched leaded glass window.  Charm informed me that the window was removed from a Baltimore mansion.  We've been looking for an architectural piece to go in a special place in our cottage, and this window will fit the bill perfectly.  I've seen many leaded glass windows before, but this one has some of the most detailed lead work I've ever run across!  Most of the time, the lead work is basically plain lines of lead; this one has relief carved floral and leaf details that really make it special.  Can't wait to get it hung!

  Here's a tidbit of  history about McKinney: 

The history of McKinney, one of the oldest towns in North Texas, dates back over one hundred and fifty years to 1841, when the first settlers arrived in the region from Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Collin County got its name five years later, when the state’s first legislators, meeting under the Constitution of the State in 1846, created Collin, Denton, Hunt, and Grayson counties out of the territory that had been named Fannin County, an area that encompassed most of Northeast Texas.
The original county seat was established in Buckner in 1846, but just two years later, the seat was moved three miles eastward to a more central location, and was renamed McKinney. Both the county and its seat were named after Collin McKinney. The town was originally incorporated in 1849, and was re-incorporated on May 28, 1859.
In 1948 the U.S. Post Office Department changed the name of the new county seat from Buckner to McKinney.  McKinney’s first postmaster was Joel F. Stewart in 1848, the first merchant was John L. Lovejoy, and the first newspaper in town was the McKinney Messenger, published by James W. Thomas in 1858. McKinney’s first church was organized in 1848 by J.B. Wilmeth, who had also created Collin County’s first church two years earlier. The initial meetings of the First Christian Church of McKinney were held in the Wilmeth blacksmith shop, and were later moved to an upper room of the Wilmeth house. McKinney was also the home of James W. Throckmorton, the 11th governor of Texas, who later served in the United States Congress. Other frequent visitors to the town were Jesse and Frank James and their James Gang, who came to McKinney to visit their cousin "Tuck" Hill, whose historic house still stands just west of downtown.
The railroad came through McKinney in 1872. The first City Hall was built in 1882 on S. Kentucky St., the second built in 1909. The first McKinney fire company was organized in 1878, and electric lights were introduced in 1889.
In 1850, the population of Collin County was 1,950. By the turn of the century, it had topped 50,000, while today (2008) nearly 750,000 people call the county home. Land value has increased proportionally as well: the taxable value per acre in 1849 was a mere 68 cents; by 1872 it was up to $5.75 an acre, and in 1923 that number had jumped to $25-50 an acre.

I've included some photographs from our outing that will give you a feel for some of the neat shops the downtown square has to offer. I highly recommend visiting McKinney for some good shopping, some good sights, some good food and a chance to pick up that special find!   Enjoy the photos.

I hope everyone enjoyed Labor Day as much as we did. 


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The "love-hate" relationship about buying and selling antiques.

I've been in this business for over 30 years and I guess some things never change.  Are antique dealers ever happy?
It's a given that we're happy when business is good, and depressed when it's slow, but today I'm referring to the love/hate aspect that sometimes happens. Business has seen a dramatic uptick in the last week... thank goodness!  August is always traditionally slow and we always can't wait for school to start so folks will start settling back in and doing important things.... like buying antiques for their homes!!!  Plus, in Texas, we can't wait for August to be over because for the most part it means the end of 100 degree, oven baked days!  We usually get teased by a weak cool front (like today, high in low 90's with rain!  Love it!!!)  We only think fall is on the way, because by next week, it will probably be 98 degrees again and steamy. I really don't count on "real autumn" in Dallas until about the end of October! Ugh!

I digress; anyway, back to the "love/hate" relationship.
We received a great new shipment a couple weeks ago and were really happy with lots of the items. A new shipment always means re-arranging the store. It's lots of work, but it lifts our spirits to see and be around new inventory, especially when you're proud of it.  We usually like several items so much that we don't really care if they sell quickly.  Today, we got an internet call from a California client and sold two of our favorite new items, a really nice Louis XVI painted settee and a fabulous Venetian lacquered sofa.
Though we were very happy with the sale, we hated to see two great pieces go out the door after only two weeks on the floor! We hardly got to enjoy them!  Prime example of love/hate.... love to buy, love to sell, but hate to see a good piece go! (Especially because they're so hard to replace!)   However, the more I think about it, the emotional attachment usually dissipates very quickly. My momentary "hate to see it go" is a distant memory when the check arrives and the bills get paid!   So, I guess the "love" in buying and selling prevails in this relationship; which is as it should be!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our First Blog!

Hello and welcome to the Legacy French Antiques Blog! We are very excited to start our new blog and hope you will follow and join in on the conversation! Please visit Our Website for more information. Stay tuned for interesting happenings and events in Dallas-Fort Worth and all the latest antique news, design trends, & exciting places!