Looking for a great antiques town? Portsmouth, New Hampshire is an artist’s rendering of the perfect New England village. Maybe a bit too slicked-up and rendered, but I am being picky. It is truly beautiful, especially the 18th century rowhouses on winding lanes that mimic the path of many a drunken sailor heading home from the waterfront pubs.
We spent a few hours there recently, bracing ourselves in the frigid winds, walking the cobbly streets and darting into some of the terribly overpriced boutiques. The antique stores were much more to our liking. In one, a very unnerving chap with a white ponytail (bound with leather like a horse’s tail (it’s a look) turned his heavy-lidded eyes upon us. This owner, arrayed in black, was vaguely, uh, Salem-inspired.
“That’s a portrait of so-and-so, the niece of Charles I,” he said silkily.
Had ye a spare 30k to fork over, it could be yours.
The store had amazing things: a painted federal eagle from Newport (20k), an astounding ship replica, conquistador’s helmets, pre-contact (before Columbus) urns, vases, figures.
“You have wonderful things,” I said, pausing over some Napoleonic epaulets.
“Why have anything mundane?” he said. “What would the point of that be?”
So we dashed out, before our souls could be stolen.
Moral of this story:Does your house contain interesting, unique things? They don’t need to be expensive. But if you want a memorable space that will intrigue yourself as well as others, choose the interesting always over the mundane and just serviceable.