A 19th-century model sailboat, a set of 18th-century books, and a delicate crystal perfume bottle line the shelves of Faded Rose Antiques. They’re just a few of the whimsical antiques that Houston dealer Deborah Jensen has acquired over the years.
“We look for classic pieces that you will want to pass down to your children,” says Deborah.
And indeed, the pieces she picks up are timeless and extraordinary. At Faded Rose Antiques you can expect to find one-of-a-kind American, French, and Italian items that will delight designers and antique enthusiasts alike. Deborah sat down with us to talk about how she got in to the antique business, and how to hone your eye for quality antiques.
How did you come to be a dealer?
Something had to go! We were drowning in the antiques we’d acquired! I grew up in middle-class America–my parents home was furnished mostly from Sears. As I girl, I was a voracious reader. I read every history book in the library and was swept into the world of the past. I poured over interior design magazines as a young woman, studying decorative accessories and furniture. When my husband Steve and I married 40 years ago, we both enjoyed antiquing when we traveled. As we furnished our home, we sought out quality antiques. Steve’s business enabled us to travel overseas where our interests were heightened. As we were exposed to the art, architecture, and history of Europe, our interests became ardor. Suddenly, I couldn’t seem to plan a trip without planning an excursion around an antique market. Our business was launched 11 years ago as a result.
What’s the first piece you ever bought?
Is there a piece you’d wish you’d bought that you still think about today?
I found a fabulous pair of 18th-century walnut demi-lunes in northern Italy some years ago. They were spectacular period tables. Fortunately for my husband, the dealer was asking an obscene amount for them, or I would have had them!
How does someone hone their eye?
My advice is to study the really fine pieces that interest you. Also, The New Fine Points of Furniture, Good, Better, Best, Super, Masterpiece by Albert Sack is a classic book that I’ve read and reread. His expert method of learning how to recognize the subtle qualities of fine furniture can be applied to any antique. Study craftsmanship, materials, and design details. Learn the feel of fine ceramics and porcelain in comparison to inferior ones, so that you’ll be able to spot one from a mile away. Visit museums and talk with dealers at antique shows and shops.
What makes antiques special?
Obviously their uniqueness and history. They add interest and warmth to a room that simply cannot be replicated when using new items. Many antiques can be used beautifully in different rooms. A chest, for example, can work in an entry, bedroom, or a living room. The value that an antique retains as an investment has an enormous benefit over a similar new item that is purchased. I can’t list one of the pieces from Sears that my parents bought that is still around today. We love to share the history of antiques and try to learn the ‘back story’ to our items when possible and to share it with the purchaser. It is a tremendous joy to pass along a special piece to a new owner and share in their excitement.
Anything you want to tell us or you think people should know about you or your store?
We personally select each item we buy, traveling to Europe a couple times or more each year. We buy 18th- and 19th-century furniture and decorative objects. We buy what we love! We look for classic pieces that you will want to pass along to your children and grandchildren. We seek out items that will retain their value and investment. We love the people that we have met in this wonderful business. It is a joy to know and share this experience with others that share our passion! And it’s a privilege to be a steward to these lovely objects!