(credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
For a change from Ikea, why not furnish a guest room, decorate the porch, personalize the family room, stumble upon a one-of-a kind gift or just have fun browsing for whatever may turn up? Treasures may turn up in the Best Places For Antiquing In The North Bay, plus there are plenty more to find in San Jose’s Antique Row and elsewhere in the South Bay. Vintage fans might wish to pop a reminder into the diary for Goat Hill Fair in May and November. The event is such a success, it’s moved to larger premises at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
1881 W. Carlos St.
San Jose, CA 95128
If you’ve got the time, this spot has the goods. As the largest antiques collective in Silicon Valley, shoppers enjoy a 9,000-square-foot emporium crammed with aisles of collectibles showcased by 50 vendors. Mid-20th century modern items make up a standout section. Rotate the dial on a hard-to-resist restored wooden radio so cool it seems FDR’s voice delivering a fireside chat ought to come booming out of the speakers. Get lost contemplating a stone bird bath for the garden, shabby chic embroidered cushions, French flea market finds and multi-colored bakelite bracelets.
1885 W. San Carlos St.
San Jose, CA 95128
Right next door on Antiques Row is another favorite spot crammed with assorted knick knacks from 30 vendors. Aside from the occasional love seat or old wooden schoolroom desk, this is a great first-stop shop for those not looking for furniture or bulky items. Browse the brooches to add a bit of Queen Elizabeth II panache to a dress or a cadet badge pin on a saucy beret. Deliberate over a Fred Flintstone mug, an old Hardy Boys book or a brass doorknob. Find the perfect individualized gift and have fun choosing it any day of the week.
1893 W. San Carlos St.
San Jose, CA 95128
A pretty hand-painted Herend candy dish makes the perfect wedding gift and a turquoise-studded silver belt buckle will appeal to a best friend’s inner cowboy. That leaves the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman 70s glass tumbler for dad. Find special items to cross off your own shopping list or just stumble across something irresistible at the next treasure trove along San Jose’s Antique Row. Next door, Phoenix Antique Lighting has whatever you can dream up to brighten your day. Just add electricity.
14455 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, CA 95070
Carol has been collecting and selling for 36 years, presiding over what she calls a hodgepodge of just about everything that has that certain something. Browse through an assortment ranging from 25-cent buttons to elegant silver candelabra. Victorian breakfronts and walnut whatnots are bursting with seemingly endless displays including Tiffin glassware, vintage Spode tea cups and saucers, French crystal knife rests, Majolica serving platters and more fancy names from posh dining rooms of the past. It feels like a stall in London’s Portobello Market circa 1980 and is just as much fun, as long as you’re not the one needing to do the dusting and polishing.
100 Addison Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Step inside the big red building where four antique dealers have masses of great stuff spread out over 4,000 square feet in Palo Alto’s only antique store. This is the place to look for a mahogany dining table and chairs, a well-upholstered French-style bergère, a handsome burr walnut ladies’ writing desk, a marble-topped hall table or an ever-so-useful baker’s rack. Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t find a vintage STOP sign or a selection of carved decoy ducks. More good news: plenty of parking is available, it’s five blocks from the Caltrain station and it is open daily except for Tuesdays.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.