After spending most of my life in the Deep South, I now live in the Old Dominion—“down where the South begins.” Birmingham, my hometown, is a post-bellum city founded in 1871. Colonists showed up in Virginia more than 250 years earlier, so I have no time to waste exploring the Commonwealth. Already a midlife rustic, I find my sand-bucket list a tall order.
My home base is Lynchburg, with plenty of treasure downtown. After a stroll through the Lynchburg Community Market, I always stop by Estates & Consignments Inc. (their warehouse). It’s a mix of kitsch, a forest of furniture, delicate china, art hither thither, a kitchen corner (where I grabbed my diminutive whisk for a quarter), and junk awaiting transformation. If you’re searching for silver, it is mostly plate.
There is the usual rash of McMansion gigantesque furniture, shabby chic overkill, and Pier 1 leftovers; just put on your blinders and keep moving. With great intentions of browsing, I usually walk out with a painting or small decorative piece. (If you have a question, ask for Sandy; she is the information dynamo with a photographic memory for finding anything in the jumble.)
Lynchburg has a thriving arts community, so it’s easy to brush up against talent. A few weeks ago, just as I inspected a painting (oil on parchment), a voice from behind said, “I guess the owner didn’t want it anymore, so it landed here.” I whirled around to meet Seymour Woodnick, 90 years old going on 60. “Yes, I painted that 20 years ago.”
Done deal. I took the painting—Bragassa Toy Store—home.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bragassa Toy Store is now home to the Lynchburg Historical Foundation. At first, I could not recall the location (325 12th Street). However, Mr. Woodnick said, “I painted the building but changed some surrounding scenery—artistic license, prerogative, or what have you.”
Still the painterly fellow, Mr. Woodnick hangs out at The Art Box a few hours each week. (Skip Michaels and head there for quality framing, art supplies, tools, and expert advice; the place oozes inspiration with a can-do attitude—sign up for classes with local pros.)
Here’s a random look-see from last week’s walk-through at Estates & Consignments Furniture Warehouse.
I am on the hunt for a corner cupboard to squeeze into the dining room of my rented doll-size craftsman bungalow. To my surprise, fine reproduction and antique corner cupboards turn up all over Virginia. This piece from Abingdon caught my eye, but it did not suit my bite-size quest.
Now for the seating line-up . . .
Picture this . . . Carousel . . . dizzy spin!
Remember: Go local! Skip the big box doorbusters and celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 30.