Hidden away in the tiny town of Alden, Illinois, is my favorite antique shop, Sedge Meadow Antiques. I have wanted to write a post about my friend Robert Anderson’s building for some time. Finally, he asked me if I would like to come over and photograph his place to create a small time capsule of his project. This project, this work of art, this creation. It took more than a decade to complete. Though Robert says it still isn’t quite finished. Robert will do something as interesting in the future. But, for now, this building is going on the market.
Most of the antique components of the building were brought in and installed after the electrical, utilities, and plumbing were updated to today’s standard. From city and county, Robert found the architectural elements during a 30 year career as an antique dealer.
The exterior hasn’t changed since the 19th century when the building was, I think, the general store and the interior looks like it is original. That is the art. That is the magic of this place. It is like stepping into another age with all the modern components that make it comfortable and convenient.
Robert’s Apartment Above the Shop
A view into one of the baths illustrates the workmanship that went into creating it with its knock-your-socks-off cabinets. I particularly like the piece of tin from a pie safe hangin in the window. No need for a curtain when the light comes in through all the air vents pierced through the tin.
Dining Room and Living Room
A peek inside one of the three or four bedrooms. People raised large families in the upstairs of these buildings.
Visualize how cozy this room looks in the glow of three oil lamps on the coffee table. I hope I’m there some night when the electricity goes out. One of the things that Robert does so well is meld styles from many decades together in a way that makes them seem at home together. It is the way a house would be if families stayed in the same spot for generations.
The apartment wooden floor came from a tobacco barn. I love the worn part from the chair leg at Robert’s desk. Did you notice the laptop? It is covered with an interesting textile.
Beautiful 19th Century decorative curtain rod knobs kept the drapes from slipping off the poles. Shown in the above three photographs, people who admire the craftsmanship and design that went into making something that was functional is what this love affair with antiques is all about.
An antique velveteen elephant is now more folk art than toy.
And everywhere there are original framed pieces of art.
Now to the back of the building, past the tenant’s downstairs apartment…
Robert’s downstairs back tenant is an artist.
Robert’s friend and ground level tenant has created a magical garden outside her back doors. I knew I would like this woman before I met her after viewing the joie de vivre held within her small garden and hearing the birds sing inside her apartment.
Near the barn, a Victorian planter rests.
Robert’s folk art wooden cats climb the barn wall.
A glimpse into Robert’s shop….
The packing crate walls in one of the rooms are original to the building. Probably put up to keep the building warmer; 100+ years later, we admire them for their cheerful, warm color and make-do attitude.
Customers, who let their gaze linger for a moment, notice that each piece was carefully selected with appreciation for its beauty and craftsmanship.
This cupboard boasts of six spice drawers. Perfection!
Patina, Patina, Patina
A handmade iron exterior lantern holder with pulley to raise and lower now hoists a bird-cage.
This European photograph shows how the bracket was probably used. The lanterns in the photo were probably converted from gas to electric. I think the one in Robert’s shop was lowered and lit by the lamplighter each evening. Robert would know if kerosene or some other fuel was used with this lantern.
A fabulous 1920s original pastel drawing.
Perhaps someone who worked for the circus in nearby Wisconsin made this for a lucky child.
Everything is art when viewed with the discerning eye.
Fox and Finch Antiques