Kirby Antiques is a picturesque antiques shop set inside a charming 1940’s-style home in the heart of Houston. With a wide collection of furniture and décor ranging from 17th century to mid-century styles, the store has earned a strong reputation as a leading purveyor in European antiques. Kirby Antiques’ owner, Blake Karambis, sat down with us to discuss the most rewarding aspects of being an antiques dealer and why he thinks people have connected with his shop.
What inspired you to become an antique dealer?
While I was in college, I had two friends in the antiques business with whom I would travel in search of items for their stores. I really enjoyed visiting antique shops and learning about different time periods and styles. I always knew I would have an antique store, but I was sidetracked with a different career – for 20 years! But it eventually happened.
Do you have a favorite period or style?
What is the most rewarding aspect of this business?
I love finding well-designed, well-made pieces with an interesting history. I enjoy being the custodian of these pieces, and I’m thrilled when I find their next owners.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Traveling has always been my greatest source of inspiration. I’ve been entertained in some of France’s grandest hotel particuliers, and in the homes of antique dealers, collectors, and friends. I always leave with a new appreciation for antiques! I’m inspired by museums, and enjoy visiting both permanent collections and traveling exhibitions.
How do you source your antiques?
I travel to Europe three to four times a year and personally select each and every piece I sell.
What quality do you look for when collecting antiques?
I try to find well designed, unusual or rare items. My store is always evolving. Each trip brings a new dynamic to the mix.
What do you think draws people to Kirby Antiques?
My shop is different from others in Houston. It’s located in an expanded two story 1940‘s home. It’s the perfect place to showcase how pieces can look in a residential setting. My perspective is a mix of rare, unusual and quirky. They are all presented together for a unique, unstructured look.
Which website, destination, or magazine would you be lost without?
I’ve been an avid reader of Architectural Digest and Elle Décor for years. And I believe internet marketplace platforms have forever changed the design world in the best possible way.
What or who motivates you to find great antique pieces?
Both designers and clients inspire me to continue doing what I’m doing. I have a passion for this business and know it’s my calling. I can’t imagine doing anything else.