Old World Meets New World For Derreck Martin, the 27-yearold owner of 507 Antiques and East Room, decorating with antiques is a
talizing craftsmanship. Sitting in his eclectic Yorkville home on a humid summer day, Martin looks back on his antique upbringing and shares some insight on how to bring a little bit of the old world into your space. –by Amanda Lew Kee Decorating with antiques brings life to both the objects and the rooms themselves. Is there any feeling that you wish to create when doing so? I try to create a dialogue between the pieces of furniture that is reflective of my personal taste – a mix of different styles and eras.
fashion. We don’t use any chemicals or sprays, which a lot of restorers do, that actually kills the wood by suffocation. We use natural waxes and shellacs with techniques that were used over 100 years ago that can still be used today
What is your most prized antique? A Rolex Explorer from the 1950’s. It was a gift from my father.
Photography by Darrell Diljohn
Evaluation starts with educating the eye. A good rule of thumb is to look at the construction, patina and materials. Aside from mid-century furniture, flipping a piece by turning it on its side or pulling out a drawer to view the underside will help when you’re evaluating it. What is the best way to incorporate antiques into your existing living space?
With the trend of producing goods offshore, what have we lost that lives in antiques?
When you are looking at a space, functionality and scale come first. I would suggest to start with larger pieces, like a table or sofa, that take over the space and split the room into different areas. Once you have those areas marked off, you can start incorporating smaller objects like dining chairs, carpets or artwork.
Craftsmanship is being lost. People can’t manufacture and build furniture like they used to. The 50s was the beginning of mass-produced, machine-made furniture. This brought the product out of the hands of the craftsman and into the hands of the designer. That’s why people pay big bucks for mid-century pieces. They’re not buying for the actual maker, they’re buying for the idea and design. If you look at furniture from 100 to 200 years ago, you will find construction methods that we can’t even begin to reproduce. The same goes for restoration. Proper restoration is something that isn’t often practised, nor
There are never too many repairs if you go to a reputable restorer. At 507, we have an incredible restoration department where everything we do is done in a period
When you are looking at a space, functionality and scale comes first Antiques not only connect the present world to the past, but also an artisan to the buyer via a dealer. Are there any particular paths of provenance that an antique has had that are memorable to you?
Any on-the-spot evaluation notes to keep in mind?
How many repairs are too many repairs?
passed down. These are methods that are time-intensive and take a lot of skill and knowledge.
A couple years ago, The New York Times moved their building to midtown Manhattan, where they sold all the contents at a second-tier auction house that we used to go to. It was a sleepy Sunday; everyone in the city was probably in the Hamptons or out of the city, and the boardroom table, which had been in the building for around 80 years, came up for auction. It is incredible to think of all the decisions that were made by the many influential people who had sat around that table. We brought it back to 507 in Toronto and The New York Times published an article about this Canadian dealer that had bought a piece of American history. Everyone was up in arms, and that was when we received a call from the Smithsonian, where the table now lives. Read more from Derreck's interview online at BayStBull.com