After being in Palm Beach for a week shopping and working, I decided to venture south to see what was up in Miami. There is a small unofficial district of galleries and vintage dealers sprinkled about in the North Miami area.
If you exit I-95 at Northeast 125 Street and travel east, you will come to a two block smattering of shops all located on the north side of the street between NE 7th and 9th Avenues. Your landmark is MOCA, North Miami located at 770 NE 125 Street. Don’t blink because you will miss it all together.
Dealers seem to come and go; relocating every couple of years, and some have actually migrated there from other nearby locations looking for more traffic to help support their businesses. On this visit I counted about 8 to 10 dealers. The general focus among them is high-end vintage or used furniture which has been reappropriated to work within a current decorating genre.
I always enjoy scouting the shopping when I am in the area. It’s a bit of a sleeper, but there are some serious dealers, with great merchandise, to visit. It’s not as fancy as
Antique Row in West Palm Beach but it certainly offers a consistent array of mid-century furniture, decorative arts and ephemera.
Not all of it has attribution or provenance, but then you would be surprised at how much does. Certain dealers are able to offer some notable merchandise, while others seem to just showcase a supporting cast of objects and furniture that are affordable stand-ins.
You need to look beyond the sensibility of what you might consider serious antiques, and seek out furnishings that are more whimsical and lighthearted in North Miami. The nod to a nostalgic period of Florida style is just the right breath of fresh air needed to take the stern edge off of a staid interior. It is, after all, only decorating.
That being said, you can find items from a few hundred dollars to five figures, with everything in between. The trend right now is for refurbishment, and high gloss lacquer finishes – quintessential Miami style.
As I walk east on 125th Street, I stop first at a friend, Susan Cutler’s shop Vermillion. She has been located here for as long as I have been shopping on the street. Her inventory consists of both high quality, workable furniture, and great accessories. She has a refined eye, and everything is in impeccable condition. You will always find something great here.
A newer addition to the block since I was last here is Visiona, which has a decent selection of merchandise; it’s a great resource for ceramics, glass and sculptural pieces. I also found a great pair of chairs, see below, that I call Neo-Ming – coining a phrase to identify a mid-century stylization of things Oriental.
One of the larger veteran shops is Stripe. This place is filled with great items. The owner’s eye is well-trained, and the inventory is very ‘style-centered’ rather than ‘name-oriented’. The look is synonymous with that era in Floridian decorating which told a specific story – one of comfortable, casual, yet stylized modernism. The selection is truly eclectic.
Details at 125th Street
Another of the newer shops, Details at 125th Street, I find to be akin to an old-fashioned thrift shop. With a little bit of this and a little bit of that, the feeling I got was one of adventure; sifting through the shelves and tabletops looking for great finds. There is even a rack of vintage clothing for its aficionados.
I have known Joseph Anfuso for a number of years (though at first he didn’t recognize me with my beard and longer hair). We had a great chat, and got reacquainted. I commented on how his namesake shop was so fresh and airy; his merchandise is easily viewed, and from seating to case goods and art and accessories, he makes it easy to check things off your shopping list. What caught my eye in particular is how he has curated a quirky, and not at all to be expected, art collection belonging to a noted sibling design team that he is selling. We both agreed that the more incongruous it appeared the more successful it actually was from a decorating sense.
Gary Rubinstein Antiques
Again, I end with Gary Rubinstein. He seems to be taking over one entire block of storefronts as he continues to expand. His shop actually consists of three adjacent shops. He has configured them to enfilade in an old world European manner. This shop has been anchored here in North Miami for approximately 4 years. The inventory is extensive to say the least, with multiple offerings of suites of dining chairs to desks, credenzas, lighting, pairs of seating and consoles, and some very evocative artwork. All beautiful.
If you take the time, and make the effort to seek out new venues (and do a bit of old-fashioned leg work), you will find some amazing things to offer to your clients – along with garnering some knowledge along the way.
As I suggested in
last week’s shopping story, you will get to see some interesting new items before anyone else, simply because you were there and asked what’s new and coming in.
The proverb still holds true. The early bird catches the worm.
I hope you enjoyed my post and as always, thanks for reading.
Written by Carl Lana