A Beginners Guide to Antiquing on the Main Line

Antique dealer Nick Vandekar offers his advice.

Antiques aren’t just for grandma’s living room. People of all ages enjoy antiquing, seeking out the perfect piece for their home. There are plenty of ways to incorporate these unique, and often historic, pieces into home décor. The Main Line has no shortage of one-of-a-kind antique stores which can transform a modern home with a vase from 1730, a dining room table from the Revolutionary War period, or even a simple aged sculpture to mix in with modern art. Never been antiquing before? Don’t worry—Main Line Antique Show Manager and third generation antique dealer, Nick Vandekar, knows how to help a first-timer. 

Vandekar started antiquing in London with his father, grandfather and brother, where they owned an antique store about 30 years ago. After decades in the business, Vandekar knows how quickly the antique business can change with the trends of the times. He believes antiques move in cycles. Currently, the antique trend is to mix contemporary and modern pieces throughout the home, making it simple for anyone to get started antiquing. Don’t be afraid to put an antique ceramic next to a flat screen TV, while mixing a contemporary painting and an 18th-century table beneath, he says.

For those who have never been to an antique store, Vandekar’s best advice is to get to know the dealer. Antiquing is much different from a shopping experience at commercial furniture store because not only do most pieces have a story to tell, but the dealer wants to know the customer and recommend specific items. 

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“Let the dealer know you’re going to be in it for the long haul,” Vandekar says. “They want to develop a relationship with you as much as you do with them.”  Equally important, make a strict budget before entering a store. Getting carried away is very easy, especially when a piece is rare and has a valuable story. Vandekar says one of the best things about antiquing is people can always trade up as they outgrow items, and the value of the piece will be nearly the same upon its return. 

“Don’t be afraid to say ‘I’m going to have this for a few years and then I’m going to get a better one,’” Vandekar says. And don’t be afraid to buy something because you like it, and not just because the piece is rare. 

Ready to get shopping? Here are seven of our favorite antiques stores:

Van Tassel Baumann of Malvern offers early American antique furniture, silk needlework and framing services.

690  Sugartown Road, Malvern, (610) 647-3339.

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The Antique Store of Wayne is an award-winning antique center with a 6,500 square-foot showroom, over 30 dealers and 15 years of expertise in antiquing. 

161 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 687-1900.

Monroe Coldren & Sons Antiques in West Chester is the perfect place for anyone looking for antique architectural elements, such as mantels, doors, lighting and shutters. Hardware ranges from 1720 to 1890.

723 E. Virginia Ave., West Chester, (610) 692-5651.

Eastcote Lane will hand paint, re-finish and re-imagine antique and vintage furniture, but they also have antiques to sell for a first-timer. The store offers hand-blown glass, original paintings, ceramics, candles and more. 

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751 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (484) 580-6421.

Hidden Treasures Antique Mall boasts eight vendors, all with different tastes and collections to offer local antique enthusiasts. 

1176 Middletown Road, Media, (610) 659-0067.

Balée Antiques & Design offers a wide range of antiques from fine art to furniture to jewelry. 

503 W. Lancaster Ave, #1100, Wayne, (610) 687-9300.

Brandywine View Antiques has three floors full of handmade, local, vintage and salvage pieces. 

1244 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-6060.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!