Antiques in Real Life By Amanda Bedgood ~ Photos by Robin May

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013

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Merrick Valentino's home is brimming with antiques.

Merrick Valentino is into antiques. It’s more than a hobby. It has become, over the years, a lifestyle and a career for her.

“I have been shopping for antiques since seventh grade. When other girls were buying clothes and shoes, I was looking for antiques,” Valentino says.

It’s a passion that now resides in her home (as well as a warehouse, thanks to her endless additions to the collection) despite a bustling family of three boys.

“I just sent the last one off to college two days ago, and they’ve been raised in this house and with fine antiques all around them and I’ve never had an issue with it,” Valentino says. “I’ve had parties here with 200 kids running around. Even as young kids they used words like ‘settee’ and they’ve learned the terminology.”

RMay_130802_0750Her love of antiques comes from the thrill of the hunt, and she is always hunting — always looking for new pieces, many of which she sells and others to replace pieces people buy right out of her home.

“I have no real sentimental attachment to my antiques,” she says. “For me, it’s the thrill of the hunt and the lifestyle of picking that I enjoy ... my home has been fairly status quo, but I’ve been talked out of several pieces.”

There are some finds that remain steadfast, however, like her massive dining table.

“It can be extended to seat like 30 people,” she says.

It has eight leaves — all but three are mismatched wood.

“The country French — they used whatever wood they have available so the leaves are different types of soft wood and they are not finished,” she says.

But the table — like all of her pieces — is truly antique and truly functional.

“I don’t just look at those pieces,” she says. “I have a settee that’s one of my oldest I own. It’s from the 1700s, and I sit on it every day.”

Proof that antiques really can stand the test of time — and a house full of three boys.

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