When it comes to antique shopping, I'm game to check out every seller's stuff. But when a dealer has a beautiful booth space and taste I admire, there's a much better chance that I'll be buying from them repeatedly. Their antique mall space or store will be like a magnet for me.
Today I'd like you to meet Annie Wojtowski, whose magnetic booth named "Abandon" is housed within the Livingston Antique Outlet in Howell, Michigan. Her sense of style and flair for display makes her booth stand out from the rest. I think you will be inspired by her story and the eye candy that I enjoyed photographing with my new camera.
Annie in her newly decorated booth, which includes chocolate brown painted walls:
Annie's mother, Marge Moyer, has been an antique dealer for many years, specializing in what Annie calls "Top Drawer" antiques, which includes the finest china, art glass, and elaborately carved walnut and mahogany furniture. Annie has memories of rescuing imperfect pieces from being tossed when she was a child, and began collecting vintage clothing at age 13. Although she appreciates fine antiques, it's the "orphan with a story" that appeals to her most.
Annie studied interior design and fashion in college and began restoring old houses. Her sense of personal style reflects her design aesthetic. She sees herself as a canvas, and expresses her personality through her clothing and accessories. Her house reflects the same design sensibility.
During college, Annie was impressed by French fashion designers, Bohemian style and the Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods.
Annie is drawn to anything "glam", such as these sparkly pumps:
Upon graduation from college, Annie moved to New York and worked in visual merchandising at Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. Although the experiences were undeniably valuable, she missed Michigan and returned home to join forces with her mother, selling from the antique mall in Williamston and later opening a store in Portland called "2 Peas in a Pod".
Annie lived above 2Peas in a Pod, which was a unique store because of her and her mother's taste with wares from additional antique dealers mixed in. Always looking for new experiences, Annie wanted to move on from the confines of retail and began teaching Interior Design at Lansing Community College in 2000, eventually closing the store.
Teaching has been a wonderful experience for Annie, who especially enjoys seeing teenagers excited about what they have created. She continues to learn new things herself, and three years ago completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her current artistic outlet is sculpting and painting using found objects.
Annie finds inspiration in color and nature, and the unexpected combination of a chippy chair with a silk cushion or bird bath used for an indoor end table.
Annie is partial to things that have elements of the outdoors and "bling". A good combination, don't you think?
I asked Annie to list some of her favorite things, and she shared several with me, including Italian Florentine, especially furniture and light fixtures; Venetian mirrors and other ornate mirrors; and unique architectural items such as ornate capitals on which she displays gazing globes or candles.
Other things that define Annie's style include bold, rich colors including chocolate brown, mustard, and rusty red. According to Annie, nothing sets off paintings better than a chocolate background.
French beaded flowers and old silk ribbon make Annie happy. She believes everyone should have a drawer full of vintage trims and ribbons, and I can't argue with her about that, can you?
Victorian textiles and lots of velvet are essential for creating Annie's look at home or in the antique mall.
The best design advice Annie can give to us is that a room/home starts with one beautiful piece that contains the color palette for everything else. In her home, it's an Oriental rug she's owned and decorated around for 20 years.
Annie believes a good home evolves over time, just like wine and women! She's not a fan of "out of the box" decorating. I couldn't agree more!
There are more things that Annie loves, but I'm going to reserve them for a future blog post, in which I plan to invade her home and document more of her fantastic style!
If you are in Michigan, plan to visit "Abandon", Annie's booth within the Livingston Antique Outlet in Howell. You might just run into me, shopping in her booth as well!