New Stock Arrives Daily
This week we got in a shipment from our Mango Wood line. The tall icebox cabinet, icebox server, tall barn door cabinet, and barn door media unit are all back in stock. A photo of the two tall cabinets is below.
As we often do late in the summer we’ve brought in a new batch of outdoor metal birds. They are popular throughout the fall and for Christmas gifts. New birds include: cardinals, wall hanging owls with extended wings, regular size pink flamingos[we still have the giant pink flamingos in stock], and woodpeckers.
A few more reproduction arrivals included: nautical bookends, painted milk cans in two sizes, and maple leaf wall décor[very Canadianna].
New antique arrivals include: a fantastic 5 pieces Louis XV parlour set-a photo is attached[we don’t get sets like this very often], reproduction table top Victrola with brass horn, vintage round vitrine, heavily carved walnut parlour table, set of 4 walnut kitchen chairs, hobnail pigeon’s blood adjustable candle hall light, walnut dresser and mirror, large wicker hamper, 6 assorted wicker baskets, child’s rocking chair, 5” Dresden vase, mantle clock-a photo is attached, oak table top printer’s chest with drawers, cheque writer machine, black rotary phone, a batch of 14 assorted cups and saucers[Paragon, Aynsley, Royal Albert, Royal Darwood Expo 67, Hammersley Royal visit memento, occupied Japan, etc.], and more.
We also got in a small shipment of reclaimed wood furniture by way of Vancouver this week. We’ve restocked some pieces from our Irish Coast line, but the exciting new arrival is the Apollo bar. It’s funky and another bran new item, a photo is below. A Reproduction Shell oil sign and a Public Market sign also arrived.
Antique arrivals from this past week include: 2 kneehole desks in excellent condition[1 mahogany, 1 walnut], small English wardrobe, ornate marble top French parlour table, 2 red bamboo chairs, a collection of storm windows in various sizes[4 without glass, 7 with glass], pair of white hobnail bedroom lamps, Victorian side chair, nice hall chair, 2 exceptional clocks[1 wall, 1 mantle], 3 mirrors, modern glass top dinning room table with two marble bases, Empire sofa, unusual hall tree, Dr. Pepper wood crate, magazine stand, 1940’s floor model radio, nine drawer mini chest, child’s swinging doll rocker, 2 excellent printer’s trays, red ceramic top wine table, 1960’s large Corona floor model beer cooler-a photo is attached, vintage suitcase, child’s roll top desk & chair, 2 wooden boxes, old sleigh turned into a coffee table, 2 brass steam whistles, potty chair, memory box, coffee table books, Bennington ware spittoon, wicker picnic basket & waste basket, 1920’s bed pan, assorted tools, oil painting on board, and more.
We’ve been getting asked for coat racks a lot lately so we’ve found a new line of hall trees. There are four different models that just arrived. Two metal and wood combinations, one chrome plated, and a funky four legged one.
Antique arrivals from this past week included: fantastic needlepoint ladies chair-a photo is attached, small walnut bookcase with two drawers, child’s rocker, oak rocking chair, plant stand, a pair of newly upholstered French chairs-a photo is attached, 10 hook wall coat rack, large cranberry with white overlay table lamp, Silverwood diary milk bottle, 70 piece set of Staffordshire-midwinter, tackle box with lures, iron umbrella stand, pair of walnut lamp tables, working treadle sewing machine, oak Redpath’s stool, window mirror, porcelain top shabby sheik table, 5 army stretchers, broad axe, vintage gas cans, ice picks, blowtorch, assorted tools, homemade primitive sleigh, three shelf walnut end table, jam cupboard painted white, set of 6 refractory chairs, mini pine jam cupboard, terrific feathered mahogany gentleman’s dresser with mirror-1880’s, and more.
This past week we also picked up the remains of an estate we bought that had 80 assorted pieces of wicker and 86 wooden boxes and containers and drawers. We will bring it in as we have time to sort through it and clean it up. It has been sitting in a garage for a long time. As of the writing of this update we got in half a dozen wooden boxes and the following pieces of wicker: a trunk, serving tray, three window planters, tall round planter, and a wicker chair with leather seat. More to come!
Last week we got in a large shipment from our hugely popular Nature Form line. Lots of old favorites have been restocked and a bunch of bran new items arrived. Old favorites included: large and small blown glass stump vases, rooster & parrot puppets, Corona boat paddles, canoe bookcase, 2 sizes of Buddhas, skull and pirate treasure boxes in a variety of sizes, hand carved wooden animal figures: hippos, horses, elephants, rhinos, etc., great teak mushroom table, large and extra large teak fruit bowls, frog croaker, motorbike, carved animal head walking sticks, and of course the wooden skulls with spikes. The bran new stuff included: extra large tribal and tiki masks, decorative life preservers and anchors, rustic white two door hall cabinet, superhero puppets, beach sign, a variety of decorative ship’s wheels, a cool one piece carved bowl with handle, and a great new totem pole. Also there was a couple of unusual multilegged bamboo stools that we got just to have a look at, they have already sold, so more are on the way. There are a couple of photos attached of some of the items, more photos can be seen on our Reproductions page.
New antique arrivals from this past week included: excellent carved 1860’s sofa, a terrific 8 piece oak dinning room suite[table with 4 leaves, 6 chairs, sideboard], another drafting table[we had one last week], 26” prancing wooden horse, oak mirror, unusual floor lamp, gunstock chair, 5 different magazine stands[ one with a pullout for drinks], quarter cut oak round split pedestal dinning room table with 6 t back chairs, nice quarter cut oak curio cabinet, rustic oak sideboard, press back high chair, Lloyd’s loom wicker chair & matching rocker, unusual Queen Ann rectangular walnut window planter, candle stand, 2 crocks, 2 halfmoon tables, nice hump trunk, 3 chandeliers, 5 assorted planters, 3 fire screens, a stop sign, a silver plate tea service, small drop front desk, and more.
We have had a couple of shipments of new furniture delayed, so instead we brought in lots and lots of antiques over the last couple of weeks. New antique arrivals include: portable singer sewing machine, 4 chandeliers including a nice bronze and crystal chandelier, 2 oak wall phones, nice crockery butter churn, treadle sewing machine, 5 piece bowl & pitcher set, reproduction oak bowl & pitcher stand with bowl & pitcher, a bunch of silver plate holloware including 6 piece tea set, crocks, bottles, sad irons, spinning wheel, 2 washboards, 3 planters painted red, unusual brown Bakelite wall phone, cement birdbath, Grundig Classic shortwave radio, reproduction tabletop Victrola, large needlepoint picture, 3 oil on canvas paintings, 2 small cast iron planters, Art Deco table mirror, 8′ step ladder, assorted mirrors, a collection of copper pans & pots & kettles-a photo is attached, and lots of assorted smalls.
Antique furniture new arrivals included: a nice drafting table-a photos is below, 6 foot pine leather top desk, oak school desk, pair of mahogany corner chairs, 6 foot Victorian mahogany sideboard, exceptional Victorian needlepoint rocking chair, square oak coffee table, walnut china cabinet, tall & narrow pine kitchen cabinet, redone steamer trunk, and assorted chairs.
We also got in new iron plantstands in black and white. As well as a huge batch of garden gnomes. We now have 16 different garden gnomes in stock, for all your gnomey needs.
If you have been in The Barn over the last couple of weeks you may have noticed that things look a little different than normal. There are a lot more sold pieces than normal and even a few empty spaces. We always have lots of extra inventory to bring in at The Barn, and as items leave we bring in new ones, that’s why The Barn is always packed. But safety measures we have in place for covid19 and the prolonged heatwave have slowed us down a bit, things are taking a little longer than normal. We have had an incredibly busy month of July and we are having a little trouble keeping up with demand. Sales have been much higher than we expected since we reopened. We are not complaining, with so many businesses struggling right now it’s a wonderful problem to have. Be assured we are getting the sold pieces out and bringing new items in as quickly as we can. The Barn will be packed again soon. The good news is that there will be lots of new arrivals in the weeks to come.
Quarantine Series: The Long Kiss Goodnight
This is a follow up to our recent post about the movie business. I wrote about renting and selling to to movie business, but I left something out. I thought I would do a post about what happens when things go wrong. 99% of the time everything operates smoothly with the movie folks, but not always.
These days the movie folks mostly buy rather than rent. Rentals still happen, a show called Nurses rented a few things things this past week. But every year we are getting fewer and fewer rentals and more and more purchases from the movie folks. This change has happened for two main reasons. First, the movie folks mostly come to us for antique pieces and antiques used to be so expensive they couldn’t afford to buy them, they had to rent. They would even work out shooting schedules so that they would only have to pay one week rental instead of two. Second, movies made for theatres used to be the main thing. They often had short shooting schedules and than the production would shut down. Now the main thing is TV series often for streaming services, so productions often go on for years. Renting items for years doesn’t make sense. Rentals are great for us, but they have caused some problems over the years.
A couple of years back we had a magnificent Victorian dinning room table and eight chairs. Murdoch Mysteries wanted to rent just four of the chairs. The whole set wasn’t within their budget. They used to get a budget for a block of episodes and sometimes by the time they got to the last couple of episodes in a block, money got tight. They were such good customers and we knew they could be trusted to take care of the chairs so we agreed. The problem occurred when somebody stole the truck that had the chairs and a few more of our items inside. The police found the truck about a week later but its contents were long gone.
Another one that didn’t work out so well was a Benjamin Moore paint commercial from decades ago. They had rented a bunch of expensive reproduction Canadianna pine pieces that could be easily damaged. The items we rent more than 80% of the time are antique pieces. So a minor scratch from time to time doesn’t make much of a difference. However sometimes they want to rent new pieces. We always warn new customers in advance that they have to return items in the same condition as they receive them. Otherwise they have to buy the pieces or pay for the repairs. The Benjamin Moore folks said they understood and that the pieces were going to be lightly used so it wouldn’t be a problem.
When the pieces came back, they looked like they had been through a war. I particularly remember a large dinning room table that had deep gouges the entire length of the table. What’s more they tried to tell us that this was the same condition in which they had received the pieces.
The funny part of the story is that a few months later I was watching TV one night and saw the Benjamin Moore paint commercial with our furniture in it. Not only did they drag paint cans across the table in the commercial. But they also had dogs run across the table. And a child crash into a sideboard while driving a toy car. And there was paint spilling everywhere. The commercial was about painting in a chaotic house. Basically saying if your painting project gets messed up by the chaos, we can fix it. Lightly used!
The worst situation we ever had was a movie called The Long Kiss Goodnight staring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson. In 1996 when the movie was shot, it was the biggest budget production that had ever come to Canada. They rented an entire cube van full of expensive antiques including an enormous French bedroom suite, which I remember for some reason. This was before the collapse of the antique market when prices were high.
They picked everything up late one day, just as we were closing. The next morning I’m driving into work and I hear on the radio that the historic 127 year old Windermere House in the Muskoka’s had burned to the ground during the filming of a movie called The Long Kiss Goodnight. We knew our furniture was going to the Windermere House. But we thought they didn’t have time to get the furniture up there and unload before the fire. It turns out that was exactly what happened. They unloaded everything just in time for it to burn.
Movie companies are responsible to pay for lost or damaged or destroyed items and they knew that. The problem arose because this was an American production and they informed us that they were going to pay in U.S. dollars at an exchanged rate that was very favorable to their insurance company and not to us. We eventually got paid in Canadian dollars, but it took ten weeks.
What we found out later was that The Windermere House resort had an iron clad insurance contract with the production and they had to pay to have everything rebuilt brick by brick. We were told that it cost the insurance company eight million dollars for the restoration.
Normally we get set decoration buyers for the movies in The Barn nearly every day this time of year, and they always snap up some hard to find items right away. But with the movie business just getting up and running again we have items in stock that we normally wouldn’t. So grab them while you can!
Check out a few photos below of some of this week’s new arrivals.
This past week a shipment of reclaimed wood furniture arrived from Vancouver. The Settler sundried lingerie chest is back in stock, a photo is attached. We also restocked much of our Provence line including the Provence sideboard which had been sold out for some time. Check out our Reproductions page for more photos.
Antique arrivals from the past two weeks included: a nice pair of Louis XVI gilt arm chairs-a photo is attached, pine armoire, two very different oak fireplace mantels[one quarter cut oak, and one Arts & Crafts], a heavily carved rocking chair-a photo is attached, 3piece walnut Peppler bedroom suite, sap buckets, rocking chair painted blue, umbrella stand painted red, crystal chandelier with purple prisms, mahogany corner chair, small French marble top commode, 7 & 1/2 foot high Canadianna flatback, pair of bar height leather arm chairs, industrial sewing machine base, brass floor lamp, pair of gold floor lamps, fancy pair of brass fire dogs, ornate bevelled gilt mirror, a few paintings including a nice ornately framed painting, mahogany sofa table in perfect condition, wicker night stand, and more.
A quick note for those who read last week’s article on the movie business. I wrote that hopefully movie business would resume shortly. Well it has! The set decoration buyers started showing up at The Barn again last week. Fittingly Murdoch Mysteries was the first production to make a purchase since all productions shut down in March. We were told that none of the really big productions were up and running yet, they are still figuring out how to operate in our new normal, but they are working on it. It’s great to see another industry getting back to work.
Quarantine Series: Film & Television
One of the most fun things we do at The Barn is supply film and television productions with furniture, props, household goods, and lots more. We’ve been working with the film industry for so long we don’t even know how it started. We do know it started sometime in the 1970’s. Let’s just call it the movie business because film and television production is a mouthful. Plus it’s not just movies and tv, its also commercials, and content created for dozens of online platforms. Plus they don’t often use film these days.
Like most industries the movie business has changed tremendously over the years. Today, before the recent Covid19 shutdown the movie business was booming in southern Ontario. Its been booming for a long time now. Toronto is always in the top five of North American cities with the most productions every year. Before production shutdown in March there was over 100 productions of various sizes on the go in Southern Ontario. Everyone wants new content for their platforms these days. The movie business employs 30 000 people in Toronto and is worth two billion annually to the economy.
In the 70’s and 80’s the industry was smaller and not as well established. That was great for us because the studios didn’t yet have well stocked prop warehouses. They needed just about everything and we were happy to supply them. Back then it was a big deal for TV shows to get to 100 episodes because that meant they could go into syndication. One day a show we had been working with for years showed up with a fleet of trucks and rented approximately a quarter of our inventory. They told us that they needed three more shows to get to 100 and syndication. They were going to shoot all three in one week before the production ran out of money.
These days production companies have their own permanent prop warehouses. Many long running shows even have their own permanent prop warehouses. But they still show up at The Barn looking for new items and things that are hard to find. Murdoch Mysteries was probably our best customer for many years. But now that they are thirteen seasons in they are showing up less. But they still need new items even as their prop warehouse has grown. A set decoration buyer once told us that he guessed that half of the of their prop warehouse was purchased from The Barn over the years.
We rent and sell to the movie business. It depends on the production and how long they will be needing the items. In the old days the majority of the productions were movies, so rentals were more common. These days TV shows represent the majority of productions, so they mostly buy. Also antique prices have dropped so much over the years that they can now buy most pieces for less than it used to cost to rent them.
The people we deal with are called set decoration buyers. They move from production to production searching for the pieces they need to fill out their sets. Many of them have become friends over the years. The way in usually works is they come in and take a lot of photos. They show the photos to a set decorator or production designer or director. Then they email us all the photos of the pieces they want to buy or rent. Sometimes they just grab what they want right away because they are trusted and don’t need to get approval. If you have ever been in The Barn and seen someone walking around taking an enormous quantity of photos, they probably work in the movie business.
Because we know so many set decoration buyers, and they know that we have a large inventory that is not on display. We often get phone calls asking for specific, hard to find items. One such memorable phone call from last year went something like this: “I need a chair that can be used to torture someone in an asylum circa 1850.”. I thought about it for a couple of seconds and said “Yeah we got that.”. “Great” she said and came in the next day a bought the chair I had in mind. This is a common occurrence. And more often than you would think we get asked for torture devises.
We have supplied more horror movies than I can count. The Saw movie franchise as well as The Friday the Thirteen movie franchise were both terrific customers. A horror movie called The Marsh was particularly memorable because they took all our antique garden tools. We were told they were going to be dropped from the roof of a barn to murder people in the film. They also turned an old carousel horse into a demonic rocking horse. We’ve also supplied a pile of Stephen King movies and TV shows over the years.
We like to be as environmentally friendly as possible at The Barn and the movie business comes in handy there too. We often buy out large estates and have to take everything, even some items we don’t want. We donate what we can and often items that would otherwise have gone to landfill we give to set decoration buyers. We had a piles and piles of old bundled up newspapers that we were going to recycle. Instead we gave them to the hit remake of Stephen King’s It from a few years ago. We’ve given lots of damaged pieces of furniture to post apocalyptic productions over the years, including the TV show 12 Monkeys. Ann of green gables even took the ashes out of our fireplace.
When we do the math, average number of movie productions we supply every year, times the number of years we have been supplying the movies. We come up with a number that is well over a thousand. Before I started writing this I sat down and wrote out the names of some of the more memorable productions we have supplied over the years. I stopped writing when the page was full. Here is a list of a few of the movies that came to mind: The Fly, Chicago[yes it was filmed in Toronto], Cinderella Man, the Resident Evil series, The Virgin Suicides, John Q, Twister, Death to Smoochy[a truly horrible film], Scanners, Existenz, Exotica, the Police Academy series, American Psycho, Canadian Bacon, The F Word, Capote, Blizzard, X-Men, A Map of the World, The Recruit, Red, Shazam, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Owning Mahowny, Pacific Rim, A History of Violence, Chloe, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and The Shape of Water, to name a few.
The Shape of Water is one of my favorites. Not only is it a great movie that won the Oscar for best picture in 2018. It also won for best production design. In his acceptance speech the fellow who accepted the award thanked a bunch of our favorite set decoration buyers. We couldn’t have been happier for them, they are lovely hard working people who are very good at their jobs.
Some of the TV shows we have supplied that came to mind were: Night Heat[ a Canadian Law & Order before there was Law & Order], Degrassi, The Strain, The Handmaid’s Tale, Shitt’s Creek, American Gods, Bitten, What we do in the Shadows, Bomb Girls, Being Erica, Beauty and the Beast, Traders, Nikita, Hannibal, Counterstrike, Lost Girl, Frankie Drake Mysteries, Mary Kills People, Due South, Flashpoint, Shadow Hunters, King of Kensington, Rookie Blue, Ann of Green Gables[ too many different versions to count], Locke & Key, Star Trek: Discovery, The Umbrella Academy, Orphan Black, See, Workin Moms and Little Mosque on the Prairie, to name a few. I started watching Hannibal because they kept renting piles and piles of our table pads and I wanted to see what they were doing with them. That was a mistake, that show was too graphic for me. It turns out they were using stacks of table pads to look like stacks of antique binders.
An old friend of mine who is an actress told me once that when she watches TV she often gets distracted from what she is watching because she sees all her friends on the screen. Well if I spend an evening flipping through the channels I will sometimes notice all of the furniture from The Barn. Not the same as seeing your friends on the screen, but it keeps me amused. I can never make it through a dozen scenes before I spot something that came from The Barn. Of course I know which shows to choose.
Hopefully movie production will resume shortly in southern Ontario. They are allowed to start up again as part of the stage two reopening. But I imagine starting up major productions after so much down time is not easy. There have been a lot of people out of work for too long due to covid19, so we are pulling for them. I’m sure they will find ways to operate safely. After all they are used to finding creative solutions to complicated problems, its a big part of their job.
One of the things that has returned to a regular schedule is our shipments of reclaimed wood furniture from Vancouver. We get shipments twice a month, so orders are arriving quickly again. This past shipment was mostly special orders for customers who are enjoying shopping from home. However we did restock some of the items from our Irish Coast line, including both sizes of media units. Since nearly everyone seems to be spending more time in front of screens these days, why not do it in style!
We also managed to restock six of our smaller garden gnomes that had sold out. A photo is attached. The medium gnomes are still sold out, but we do have the large bobbleheads in stock. We also got in a few sample outdoor pieces: plant stands and a peacock chair. We have sold out of the yellow butterfly benches for the season, so we figured, why not peacocks?
Antique arrivals from the last few weeks included: Louis XV style loveseat in nice condition, two cast iron gates-a photo is below, Buisson flatina, Ne Plus Ultra accordion, metal elephant bench, printer’s tray, cedar chest, trunk with leather straps, pine cradle, ornate oval Victorian parlour table, oak draw leaf pub table, full walnut Chippendale style secretary desk, pair of large fiberglass planters, working 1950’s electric lawnmower, nice brass slipper box, floral design card table, reupholstered Duncan Phyfe sofa, ornate marble top credenza with lots of ormolu-a photo is below, brass floor lamp, 2 fire axes, firebox from a firetruck, shabby sheik bench, new batch of hand saws, 4 miniature oil lamps, assorted odd chairs and a few pairs of chairs, pine hall table, pine lift bench, nice backbar cabinet, small drop leaf end table, and more.
We’ve also been unpacking lots of boxes of smalls. So the curios and china cabinets are filled up. As is the green wardrobe. All you regulars should know about all the goodies hidden in the green wardrobe by now. Stay cool and safe everyone, its hot!
Quarantine Series: Reproductions
In our post from a few weeks back on the history of The Barn, I wrote almost entirely about antiques. I said that I would talk about the other half of our business, reproductions, in a future post. Here is that post.
Reproductions is an inaccurate term we use to describe all the new [non antique] products we carry. Most good antiques used to be incredibly expensive and most people couldn’t afford them. So new copies of antique pieces were made. The antique pieces were reproduced, thus the term “reproductions”. For example twenty years ago large Canadianna corner cabinets were selling for around $8000. Few people could afford that, plus they were extremely hard to come by. So at the time we carried reproduction copies that sold for around $2000. Times have changed. These days no one makes large reproduction Canadianna corner cabinets anymore, that I’m aware of. And now the antique one’s sell for less than what the new ones used to sell for. Calling all our newly made pieces reproductions just became a habit, because for a long time the only newly pieces we carried were reproductions. Things have changed.
Today some of the new products we carry are reproductions. Tiffany style lamps being a good example. Today’s copies are terrific and often look identical to the originals. Some of the new furniture we carry are reproductions as well. But many items aren’t. TV units, or media units these days aren’t reproduction because there weren’t any in the old days. TV’s used to be so big they sat on the floor and they were their own media unit.
The Barn has always carried new and antique. And we have always imported both and bought both locally. We have always been diversified, it’s one of the reasons we have survived over the years. When styles change or part of our supply chain ceases to be viable, we have lots of other options available.
Looking back, in the history of The Barn there are five main reasons why we started carrying more reproductions. First as previously stated there was a time when antiques were too expensive for most people. So we carried the cheaper reproduction options all well. Today the antiques are cheaper than the reproductions.
Second, in the old day’s on one of Frank’s buying trips to New York there wasn’t enough antiques available to buy at the right price to fill up a 40 foot trailer. You can’t bring a trailer back with 10 feet of empty space. If you did everything would move around and get damaged. So Frank bought knockdown reproductions to fill up the space. They soon became so popular that the back wall of The Barn past the staircase was nothing but rows of boxes for many years. Those were all the duplicates of the pieces we had on display. We didn’t have the extra warehouse capacity in those days that we do today. So the extras stayed in the building. If you were a new employee of The Barn in those days your first job was usually to spend your whole day assembling knockdown reproductions. I assembled so many pieces over the years that I’m sure I could still assemble whatnots or tapestry benches or press back chairs or hall trees blindfolded. It became muscle memory after the first 100 pieces or so.
Third, many decades ago one of our auctioneer customers had a son who started making furniture. He asked us if we would try a couple of pieces. It turned out that his son became one of the best furniture maker’s we have ever had as a supplier. The line of reproduction pine pieces his shop produced in Owen Sound Ontario turned out to be the best selling line of reproductions we have ever carried. We took all the product they could turn out for nearly three decades, before free trade changed everything. They just couldn’t complete with the prices of imported product made with cheaper labour in Asia and the shop closed.
The fourth reason we carry new items is because we have a large network of contacts and sometimes we come across deals that are just too good to pass up. Some of you are old enough to remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze, when the dolls were selling for ridiculously high prices and were extremely hard to find. Well, at the height of the craze when they were nearly impossible to find in stores, we carried them because we had a connection out of New York. If we find an end of line or bankruptcy and can buy products in quantity for cents on the dollar we buy it, and pass the saving on to our customers.
The final reason we carry new items is simply because there is lots of great stuff available these days at terrific prices. That’s the flip side of free trade. And we are always looking for the newest thing. A few years ago when we started carrying bobblehead garden gnomes they seamed out of place at The Barn. Now they are one of our best sellers. Our “Nature Form” line is our fastest growing line of new products these days. The reclaimed wood, Irish Coast line of furniture is our best selling line of new furniture and has been for sometime.
Over the years some of the most unusual or memorable new pieces that we have carried that come to mind are: a line 8 foot tall fiberglass fountains[the statue of liberty fountain was the most popular], enormous oversized Wooten’s desks, collections of brass bells[they were very popular in the 1980’s but also very loud and drove us nuts], wicker elephant tables [they were all the rage for a while], even more memorable were the 7 foot tall brass elephants, the full line of Remington bronzes, furniture made from old garbage cans[ not kidding, we have some great pieces made from recycled oil drums at the moment], a line of extremely creepy clown figures that still haunt me, calendar holders[they were extremely popular for a while, everyone wanted a holder for their wall calendars for some reason, then almost overnight no one wanted them and we got stuck with hundreds of them], thousands of chocolate cabinets[they came in three shapes and were very popular for over a decade], endless fancy brass and iron bakers racks[Dallas was a very popular TV show in the 80’s and everyone wanted the baker’s racks like they saw on Dallas], full size suits of armour, and that just the first few that come to mind.
You can see a sample of a few of the current newly made items we carry on our “Reproductions” page. However that is just a taste. There is lots more on display in store. And always more cool new stuff on the way. Lots of our best sellers today we had never even considered carrying a few years ago. So who knows what’s coming next!
Quarantine Series: Outdoor/Garden Items
It’s June and the sun is shinning so I thought we should talk about outdoor items this week. Our start to outdoor/garden season was rudely interrupted by a pandemic, that you may have heard about. We usually start bringing in new outdoor items in early March and don’t stop until it fells like autumn is starting to arrive. However things got a little discombobulated this year due to the covid19 shutdown. Most of our outdoor items have arrived now, though a few never shipped due to the shutdown, and will have to wait until next year. Like most everything else we carry at The Barn, we carry new and antique outdoor items.
We can never get enough antique outdoor items to meet the demand. Whatever we collect throughout the winter we put into storage and when spring arrives we start bringing items in. Some items we paint, others we just clean up. We always manage to collect benches, table and chairs sets, planters, plant stands, and more. We also collect items like wooden ladders, decorative iron pieces, rough wooden items, etc.. Things that weren’t originally intended for outdoors, but often get repurposed these days. However we usually sell out of a lot of our antique outdoor items pretty early in the season. More items show up from time to time during the summer and into the fall but they generally don’t last long. If you pop in on the right day you just might get a great outdoor antique piece.
Some of the antique and vintage outdoor/garden items we have in stock as of the writing of this article include: a 3 piece deck set in need of cushions [chair, platform rocker, and 3 seater settee], pair of large fiberglass planters, iron gates & railing pieces, iron room divider, shutters, 2foot resin planter, pub table, 3 pub table iron bases [if someone wants a project], wooden stepladders, iron & marble tea table, pair of bamboo chairs painted red, large terracotta planter, nail barrel plant stand, 3 sizes of teak plant stands, iron tricycle, cast iron umbrella stand, lobster cage, garden tools, wheel planter, lots of crocks, and buoys. If you really want to get carried away and make an impressive outdoor display we have lots of old barn board, a sleigh, and an antique cutter sleigh.
Newly made outdoor items are a whole different story. Those we are able to keep well stocked from early spring into the fall. We even keep certain outdoor items stocked through Christmas due to their popularity as holiday gifts.
What we stock has changed tremendously over the years, as styles and the market for outdoor furniture has changed. In the 1980’s wicker was enormously popular. There was a period of several years where half of the second floor of the Barn was nothing but wicker. Kamato road was the Broadway of wicker importers. There was more than a dozen major wicker importers on Kamato road. The largest warehouses were the size of aircraft hangers. One company even kept a fleet of golf carts in the warehouse to drive customers around because of the size. Because Kamato road is just by Pearson airport, and wicker was so popular, we had trucks going back and forth several times a week during the height of the wicker crazy. All the wicker importers are now long gone from Kamato road.
In the 1990’s cast aluminum from Mexico was the big seller. After that in the early 2000’s the most popular outdoor lines were made of teak. Then came resin that looked like wicker but lasted longer outside. Those were just the staples, we’ve always carried a variety of other outdoor items. We even used to carry a line of large fiberglass fountains that came in replicas of world monuments.
These day’s there are lots of outdoor furniture stores where you can get the standard outdoor furniture. So instead we have taken a different approach to outdoor in recent years. We’ve gone with the fun and whimsical. And now more then ever we can all use a little whimsy. You can check out the last section on our Reproductions page for photos of a sample of some of the outdoor/garden items we currently have in stock. It should also be said that lots of our outdoor items can also be used indoors. The best example of this is the teak root coffee tables from our Nature Form line. They look great inside and out.
Metal birds are our current best sellers for outside. We currently have in stock: pink flamingos, blue jays, cardinals, owls, cranes, herons, roosters, sandpipers, pelicans, and geese. Many of the birds come in different sizes and poses. Some of the other new outdoor items we currently have in stock include: large bobblehead garden gnomes, smaller humorous garden gnomes, kinetic wind spinners, Cast iron benches, yellow butterfly benches, a cool working rusted fountain, pagoda lanterns, 3 piece bistro sets, cement urns, plant stands, porch gliders, fish & turtle wall planters, iron animals[pigs, elephants, horses], arbours, metal scarecrows, and more. So if your yard is in need of some whimsy, pay us a visit!
It’s already been three and a half weeks since we reopened and things have gone better than we expected. We want to thank our customers for wearing masks and respecting social distancing. However, we would like to ask everyone to please bring a mask or face covering with them when visiting the Barn for everyone’s safety. We due have disposable masks in store if you forget yours. However we have already gone through hundreds of masks and not only is this costly but it is also environmentally unfriendly. Masks are required for everyone visiting the Barn with no exceptions. Many costumers have told us that they don’t have a mask. You can use a scarf or bandana or face shield of any type. We don’t want to have to start charging customers for masks as many stores are doing. So please help us out on this one and come prepared.
We will be sticking with our current schedule for the summer months. We are open our regular hours 10am to 5pm Thursday through Sunday, by chance or appointment Monday and Tuesday, and closed on Wednesdays. New arrivals aren’t as fast and furious as they were before the shutdown due to lack of space in the building from the shutdown. However we have still brought in lots of new items over the last few weeks. As we continue to make space in the Barn we will continue to bring in new items. Our warehouses are packed with antiques and our supplier’s of newly made items are all up and running again as of last week. Below is an update on new arrivals. The Quarantine Series will return next week.
We received the first shipment of a new line of RCMP items. Metal signs and wine barrel décor, a photo is below, great for a man cave. Don’t worry we have lots of signs for a woman cave as well. We also got in a batch of the very popular cast iron book ends, as well as some new cast iron school bells. The kinetic wind spinners which we usually bring in as soon as the ground thaws in the spring have arrived. Eight different models are in stock [boats around a lighthouse, airplane, dual leaf, gyro, painted disks, fan, tractor, maple leaf] our best sellers from last year as well as a couple of new models. Some unusual outdoor iron planters and crab baskets came in as well.
New antique arrivals included: a terrific pair of black marble top tables with lots of decorative ormolu-a photo is below, recently redone Victorian/Empire settee, small marble top console table, 3piece outdoor iron & aluminum set [3 seater settee, arm chair, & platform rocker], small bedroom settee painted gold, inlaid 6 legged parlour table, 1960’s Art Deco chest/wardrobe painted mauve, nice solid oak parlour table on wheels, 43 piece set of Foley china, large cast iron candle holder, set of 4 oak spoon back chairs, early 1800’s dropleaf dinning/games table, and assorted smalls. We also brought in a new batch of barnboard in case you are in need of a project.