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Discovering the World of Wildschut Antiques

Discovering the World of Wildschut Antiques

Meet Michiel Wildschut and Baukje Stamm, the dynamic duo behind Wildschut Antiques, an Amsterdam-based antique shop and interior studio. With a shared passion for blending antiques and contemporary designs, they've created a unique space where vintage charm meets modern trends.

Article: Discovering the World of Wildschut Antiques

Discovering the World of Wildschut Antiques

How did you start dealing with vintage and antiques?

Michiel: Growing up surrounded by antique furniture in my family home initially didn't captivate me as a child. Wobbly tables and off-limits chairs didn't leave a favorable impression. Yet, this environment profoundly shaped my aesthetic preferences. Family summers in Anduze, France, brought a sense of freedom that influenced my outlook on life. An early fascination with a Citroën Mehari, seen in a movie featuring Louis de Funès, planted the seed for a dream car, which I now proudly own.

Dyslexia led me away from traditional studies, and I learned the trade working with an antiques dealer. Later, I worked at Christie's and eventually opened my store in Amsterdam.

Baukje: From a young age, I've been drawn to what many refer to as 'old stuff.' My love for history initially led me to dream of becoming an archaeologist. Exploring my parents' attic was a treasure hunt, where my knack for discovering unique items emerged.

Working at Sotheby's during my studies exposed me to the world of 'real' antiques. It became apparent to me that many 'old' items are exceptionally crafted and possess more character than contemporary mass-produced goods. I have a deep appreciation for the tactile qualities of pure materials and the charm of eclectic interiors that blend antiques with modern pieces, reflecting individuals' personalities and tastes.

Meeting Michiel encouraged me to pursue my interior and antique collecting dreams, merging our skills—his expertise in trading and technical aspects, and my eye for design.

Any memorable tales behind your collected pieces?

Our collection mirrors our taste—faded grandeur, atmosphere, and practicality. We seek pieces igniting imagination, emphasizing that antiques should be actively used in daily life. Sourced from French dealer markets, items often come with unknown origins. We love trunks with original labels and cherish our collection of vintage and antique Venetian chandeliers that played a role in bringing us together. The search for these unique pieces was a nothing short of an exhilarating adventure!

What's the key consideration when sourcing vintage furniture?

Technical condition is crucial for worthwhile restoration. We ensure items are complete, learning from experiences like buying an armoire without a back panel or a missing door and only realizing it back in Amsterdam. This lesson has taught us the importance of attentiveness to details during the selection process. Prioritizing a pragmatic viewpoint during buying trips is essential. This involves scrutinizing each object with a practical lens, asking the challenging question: Will it genuinely meet our expectations? Another lesson learned: accumulating antiques solely for their allure, without purpose or thoughtful consideration, does not contribute to anyone's happiness.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

We're excited to grow our off and online presence as the interest in unique, character-filled antiques grows. People are moving away from mass-produced items, seeking unique pieces with history and charm.

The designs that inspire you the most are...?

We're drawn to items with a specific atmosphere, like Venetian chandeliers or French antique mirrors. It's the emotion, craftsmanship, materials, and patina that ignite our enthusiasm.

We don't acquire items based on their current trendiness or potential marketability. Our selection is not bound by a particular era or century. Instead, our choices are guided by the emotional connection we feel towards an item or object; mostly this has something to do with how the item is made, which materials are used and the specific color combinations.

Any advice for maintaining vintage and antiques?

"Everything that you maintain well, keeps well." Adopt a practical approach to the care and restoration of an item, applying common sense. It's clear that exposing an antique cabinet to direct sunlight or placing a painting in a bright spot is not advisable. To nurture woodwork, periodic use of antique wax is beneficial. Cleaning mirror glass with the softest steel wool is effective – yes, really! However, refrain from using it on the frames for obvious reasons. Avoid soap with chemicals; we exclusively use genuine olive soap when cleaning our objects with water. Lastly, be mindful of the impact of central heating on humidity levels in your space. Address this concern by placing a bowl of water beneath wooden cabinets or armoires.

What do you enjoy most about being furniture dealers?

We revel in the diversity – from embarking on buying trips and undertaking restorations to visiting people's homes, offering interior advice, coordinating transportation, and engaging with clients in the store. The freedom to pursue our passion for caring for exquisite items from bygone eras is what we cherish most.

Follow Wildschut Antiques @wildschutantique for more captivating stories and a glimpse into their unique world of antiques and design.

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