Where Do Designers Find It All? Chelsea Antiques

Beautiful vignette: Linen covered chairs, hotel silver, gilt mirror. A simple painters drop cloth as the backdrop ~ good trick!

My mother used to live in the Northern California town of Petaluma, where she was one of the dealers in an antique shop. She moved to Sacramento to be near me and my family about 5 or 6 years ago leaving behind a very close knit community of friends. Sorry Mom!! She had her birthday recently, so I drove her over for a surprise lunch with all of her antique loving compatriots. We had a delicious lunch and much reminiscing, then off to the antique shops to see what had changed since the last time we were here!

Front window of Chelsea Antiques

The Northern California town of Petaluma is known for it's abundance of extraordinarily good antique shops and Chelsea Antiques is one of the best. This is where Mom was a dealer. Chelsea Antiques is a two story collective of many dealers who all have their own unique style. They are all excellent at merchandising and putting together beautiful vignettes. Wouldn't you just love to have five minutes in each of their own homes?! I always wonder what they keep!

Great combination of intriguing pieces: vintage airplane model, English riding boot forms made into a lamp (love that!) a root table, and medical illustrations.

While Mom was visiting with her pals, I took the opportunity to take pictures of all of the amazing talent that goes into making Chelsea Antiques such a success story. It has been in business for about 20 years now, catering to top designers, the "rich and famous"and all of the antique lovers that flock to town. But if you think that has turned the heads over at Chelsea, you would be mistaken. The dealers and staff are welcoming and down to earth, making the shopping experience easy and so much fun.

I have a "thing" for mounted fish, specially when used in an unexpected way. Love the wire basket to the left, the shutters and large candlestick holders.

So...you may be asking yourself about prices. The prices are set by individual dealers and, for the most part, are very do-able for most of us. Antiques are an investment, and more often than not, if you decided to sell an antique, you will be able to sell for what you paid, if not more. And mixing an antique into a room of things from national furniture stores will give it character and make it "yours". And let us not forget that antiques are about the greenest way to furnish your home. So...go on...splurge a little every once in awhile. It will be something you will treasure.

Metal chairs on the wall become "art". The linen chairs were such an interesting contrast.

There was so much inspiration here. Just the way things are displayed made me look more closely at how I might use furniture pieces for my own design work, and my own home. There are those who sell French, English, Industrial, Swedish and Early American here, and the combinations the dealers put together is inspiring.

Still Life painting and wine bottle rack, nicely put together with an interesting slatted sideboard.

So I hope you enjoy this little tour of Chelsea Antiques. If you are ever in the Northern California vicinity, it is well worth a trip to Petaluma. But keep it under your hat, 'kay? I don't want all the Northern California designers after me for blowing their secrets.

This Swedish style settee was so fresh and pretty with it's white linen upholstery.

Early American mixed with Northern European. Very large scale things for that "California" look.

These concrete baluster lamp bases still have moss on them. So great!

Very sweet roll top desk, collection of pewter steins, a lovely mix

Again, it's in the mix: a Madonna, silver trophy, French pottery and beautiful concrete baluster lamp.

Grandfather clock was just marvelous....and already sold.

This dealer had a decidedly French flair: great urn lamp base, framed tapestry, and I loved the horse head plaque.

More French flavor with the Provincial Armoire, market baskets, glazed pottery and cane chair.

Beautiful Gate leg table, and the hug piece against the wall was used at one time in a kitchen no doubt.

There were a number of French smoking chairs in Petaluma on this trip. This pair was gorgeous! The mirror was a really good size for so many applications: above a fireplace, or a sideboard, or on a wall as "art" like it is used here.

Amazing architectural salvaged pieces. An if you look closely, you can see the metal balloon forms sitting on the back table next to the mirror. Lots of French wine bottles, and very well priced!!

Lovely French Bergeres and Armoire!

The gilt jester head almost came home with me, and I also loved the propeller!! Pretty gilt mirrors too. Again...great combination of stuff!!

Nice range of folk and fine to be found at Chelsea.

Chelsea Antiques is open daily from 10-5:30

148 Petaluma Blvd N

Petaluma, CA 94952-2905

(707) 763-7686

No....there is no website for Chelsea's I am sorry to say. But isn't the experience that much better in person? You can call for a list of dealers, and some do have individual websites.

And if you are planning a little antiquing and wine country vacation after seeing this, I don't blame you. Email me...I'll give you all the 411.