It’s a family affair at these Design District antique shops
There is something comforting about family stores. Whether big or small, they feel more authentic when multiple generations work together to sell their wares. We reached out to five antique dealers in and around the Dallas Design District to see how they keep it all in the family.
Owned by: Father-son duo, Raymond and Robinson Pittet
Famous for: Although the store is equipped to outfit your entire home or garden, the company is particularly known for its architectural stone features, including marble and limestone fireplaces, floors, fountains, and more.
How they got into the business: Swiss-born Raymond was a master cheesemaker in his home country before entering the antique carpet business in Afghanistan. He then moved to the United States and in 1990 opened Pittet Co., a European furniture store and upholstery showroom located on Slocum Street. In 2001 he launched Pittet Architecturals, eventually selling the furniture business to focus on the architectural pieces for which they became known. “The fireplace is the central element, even today, of the house”, explains Raymond.
The best part of working together: Robinson, who has worked with his father for five years and has a background in advertising, runs most day-to-day operations, but Raymond has no plans to retire any time soon. “I have a lot to learn from Raymond,” he says. Although the couple admit to having a great business relationship, it’s the closeness between them as father and son that enriches the experience for both. “It’s the most rewarding thing,” says Robinson. “Every day I can come in and hang out with my dad.”
318 Cole St.
Owned by: Father-son team, Bruno and Chris de la Croix-Vaubois
Famous for: As the name suggests, this showroom focuses on antiques from the French countryside, and Bruno was among the first dealers to bring that look to Dallas.
How they got into the business: Hailing from Versailles, France, Bruno is no stranger to French antiques. Although he started out in real estate, he soon noticed that “everyone has this beautiful castle, a beautiful Jaguar in the circular driveway”, but the furniture inside did not evolve. It was a problem he knew he could solve. In 1986, he opened his Design District store.
The best part of working together: Although Bruno still prefers the tangible experience of shopping in person, Chris, who joined the family business in 2014, has helped build the store’s online presence to reach a wider audience. While Bruno has always been proud of his company’s ability to bring a piece of France to the United States, having the showroom become a generational affair gives new impetus to his mission. About the intersection of his past and his future, Bruno says: “It is a great honor for my family to carry on this tradition. »
1428 Slocum Street
Owned by: husband and wife Gerald and Joanne Tomlin; sons Edward and Christopher Tomlin
Famous for: This shop offers 17th, 18th and 19th century antiques, mainly French, English and Continental (including German Biedermeier). They do full reviews and never sell reproductions.
How they got into the business: Gerald Tomlin, who grew up in New York, attended Parsons School of Design and studied abroad in Paris before ending up in Dallas, where he worked as an assistant to an interior designer and later opened his own design company. Following a market downturn in the late 1980s, the couple’s late son, Gerald Jr., suggested opening an antique store (as Gerald almost exclusively used antiques to furnish customers’ homes ). They opened a cabin in Highland Park Village and the three sons began selling furniture with their father. After Gerald Jr. died eight years ago, Joanne officially joined the business and the family decided to move to the Design District.
The best part of working together: Besides the closeness that comes with working with her two adult sons, Joanne enjoys getting different perspectives on potential inventory. “We have different opinions,” she said. “We’ll say, ‘What do you think of this piece?’ and get two or three opinions before you buy. This is how we decide what we are going to buy. It’s always something fun.
1415 Slocum Street, Ste. 102
Owned by: Father-son duo, Jeff and Justin Garrett
Famous for: Chandeliers and mirrors. You’ll find over 300 of them in the store, covering every period from the 17th century to mid-century modern. (In May, their new sister concept, Dallas Fine Lighting, will launch at their newly expanded 20,000-square-foot store, focused on custom Murano glass fixtures.)
How they got into the business: Jeff’s in-laws worked in the antique trade in Tennessee. After getting married,
Jeff and his wife, Vicki, moved to Texas to open a second shop outpost, called Clements Antiques, in Forney. In 1997, Legacy Antiques was born in the Design District.
The best part of working together: After a year in the mortgage business, Justin started traveling with his dad buying trips to learn the ropes. that was almost 20 years ago. “A lot of people tell us that we basically look alike; we walk the same way, we talk the same way,” Justin says. “We have fun, we have a good camaraderie and I learned the trade from my dad, so I operate the same way he does and look for the same things.”
1406 Slocum Street
The Louvre Antiquaries of Antiquities
Owned by: Mother-son team Annick and Patrick McNally
Famous for: High-quality, high-quality regional pieces from France, but also from Italy and Spain. In addition to furniture, their inventory includes architectural pieces such as stone wells, fountains, fireplaces, and shuttered doors. “The unusual”, adds Annick.
How they got into the business: “In 1982, we had just moved here and my goal was to go abroad more often; an antique store would make me go [back] in France several times a year,” recalls Annick, a native of Paris and Monte-Carlo, who ran Le Louvre in North Dallas for eight years before moving to the Design District in the early 1990s.
The best part of working together: Patrick, who manages the showroom, joined in 2005 after working in the corporate world and helping Annick build the store’s online presence. Annick likes to focus on designing and fitting out the showroom after buying trips. “We bounce off each other,” explains Patrick. “We have the same eye for quality but different takes.”
1400 Slocum Street