Spotlight: Antiqueria Tribeca

Peter and Marion Feig of Antiqueria by Claudine WilliamsBecause this site focuses on news, the businesses that have been around awhile—and that make this neighborhood special—don’t get the coverage they should. The photographs for the “Spotlight” series are by Claudine Williams, who specializes in business, personal branding, and glamour portraits. She also dabbles in street photography for fun. Originally from Philadelphia, she has made NYC her home for the past seven years with her husband and son.

Marion and Peter Feig chose to specialize in French Art Deco because they clearly love it, but also because it never goes out of fashion. “It’s easy to live with—comfortable, but elegant,” says Marion. “And it mixes well with a lot of styles.” That includes the industrial lofts that defined the neighborhood when their store, Antiqueria Tribeca, opened on Duane Street sixteen years ago, as well as the more traditional apartments that have cropped up since. Moreover, says Peter, French Art Deco is known for its high quality: “Because the French had African colonies, the pieces are made with exotic woods that you can’t get anymore.” For those who really fall for the style, the Feigs also offer design services. Just ask the client who liked the store so much he bought an apartment in the building and had Antiqueria furnish it….

How did you get started in this business?
Marion: Peter worked in the corporate world—he was vice president of international Hilton hotels. We traveled the world, while I followed my passion—I’m an interior designer by trade. We went to all of the antique shops and markets. I bought so much…. After 29 years in the same company, Peter was ready for something new. A friend said, “Why don’t you open a store?” It was a natural thing for us to do.

Antiqueria by Claudine WilliamsWhen did you open this store? Why here?
Marion: We started the business in 1999 and opened the store in 2000. Our friend’s son in the art business drove us around Tribeca. It spoke to us, and these furnishings made sense for these lofts. Also, the neighborhood was a destination. There was the American furniture store across the street, Secondhand Rose wallpaper, six antiques shops along Duane Park. There were restaurants—Le Zinc, Rosemarie’s….

What is Antiqueria known for?
Marion: French Art Deco antiques from the ’30s and ’40s. And mid-century continental furniture, accessories, and lighting.
Peter: We have a 7,000-square-foot warehouse where we refinish, rewire, and reupholster everything ourselves.
Marion: Designers love the warehouse. They always think we’re hiding the best pieces there.

I’ve always loved your logo. Is there a story behind it?
On our very first buying trip to Paris, even before the store opened, I passed a little street fair while getting lost on one of those charming Parisian streets. Among the broken toys and mismatched china I stumbled upon a bag full of old printing blocks. I bought the entire bag without a clue as to what to do with them. The rest is… logo history.

Antiqueria interior by Claudine WilliamsWhat’s the most satisfying part of what you do?
Marion: Finding the pieces, restoring the pieces. And the interaction with customers.
Peter: We become part of their world.
Marion: Most of our early clients became our best friends.

Most popular type of item?
Peter: Dining suites—tables, chairs, a sideboard.

Most expensive item?
Marion: That sideboard over there. It’s by a designer prominent in the 1930s, Maxim Old. Very, very elegant. It’s made of black lacquer and parchment, with semi-precious stones laid in bronze. It’s $34,000.

Parchment?
Marion: You’re thinking of baking paper? No, it’s goat skin.
Peter: What drums are made out of.

Least expensive item?
Peter: $35 candles from Archipelago Botanicals.
Marion: We have tons of accessories. Barware, crystal, Champagne coolers, decorative vases….

Archipelago candles at Antiqueria by Claudine WilliamsYour very favorite item right now?
Marion: Besides my partner?

In my experience, it’s best not to refer to one’s partner as property.
Marion: [Laughs.] We buy every single piece ourselves. If we don’t like it, we don’t buy it.

There must be something that’s your favorite right now.
Marion: The mid-century Italian chairs in the front of the store. Very chic. Timeless. I have two in my house and I wish I had room for two more.

antiqueria-chairs-by-claudine-williamsWhere do you source stuff?
Marion: We go to Europe.

Tribeca has obviously changed a lot. Any changes that have surprised you?
Marion: Our customer base is less than 10 percent local, and I’m surprised that hasn’t grown as the area became more residential. People say they want independent stores, but they don’t support them. It’s not just us—I’ve heard this from others. And I do not know why.

I honestly don’t either. Is it because they’re buying everything online?
Peter: The problem with shopping on the Internet is that people might buy a table, but they don’t end up buying an armchair, too.
Marion: It’s like if a man goes to a store buy a suit, the salesman matches a shirt, or a tie.
Peter: That doesn’t happen with online shopping. It really changes your business.

Antiqueria chairs by Claudine WilliamsTell me a crazy customer story.
Peter: A man comes in, looks around the store, and asks if we have more. I say yes, we have a warehouse, and he asks if I can take him there. On the way, he explains that he’s the architect for a project and the owner loves Art Deco. I show him around the warehouse, and on the way back, he asks if it would be OK if he brought His Royal Highness in this afternoon. The Crown Prince of Morocco was building a 140,000-square-meter palace. Later that day, two men come in and say, “With your permission, the Crown Prince would like to come into your store.”
Marion: He was wearing a leather bomber jacket and jeans. Very handsome!
Peter: We show him what the architect liked, and he says, “No, I’ll take this and this and this….”
Marion: So knowledgeable.
Peter: He leaves, and we’re left wondering how exactly how to proceed. The next day, the phone rings: They want an invoice. So I send one. The phone rings again: They want the designer’s discount! He asks if we take credit cards, and I say yes. A few days later, he comes into the store to pay with the card. I asked how we should get him the furniture. “When it’s ready, call this number,” he said. “They’ll put it on my plane and bring it to me.”
Marion: Months later, we were at a great lighting store in Paris, and everything was sold. We couldn’t believe it—until they told us that the Prince of Morocco had just been there!

Where do you eat/drink/shop around here?
Marion: Terra—they greet us as an old neighbor. Takahachi. Tutto Il Giorno. And we love the Odeon.

What does the future hold?
Marion: You tell me! Do you have a crystal ball?

I think you’d be more likely to have one….
Marion: An Art Deco crystal ball!
Peter: At my age, I’m working on a 20-year plan.
Marion: He’s optimistic! [Laughs.]

antiqueria-interior3-by-claudine-williamsPreviously in this series:
••• Real Pilates
••• Church Street School for Music and Art
••• Kings Pharmacy
••• Church Street Surplus
••• New York Nautical
••• Lance Lappin Salon
••• Joseph Carini Carpets
••• Donzella
••• A Uno
••• Balloon Saloon
••• Fountain Pen Hospital
••• Abhaya
••• Chambers Pottery
••• Square Diner
••• Langdon Florist
••• Tribeca Upholstery & Draperies
••• Double Knot
••• Philip Williams Posters

15 Comments

  1. Marion & Peter are Mr. & Mrs. Art Deco. Each time that I have visited the store I find new things.

    Aside from the wonderful furniture, accessories, and decorating, Marion & Peter know how to put together a look, a room.

    Wonderful store! And wonderful people!

    Minna & Mark Seitelman
    http://www.seitelman.com

    • Lisa and Chris…. your kind words are much appreciated. I also vividly remember the day you walked in, and I am forever grateful that you got lost. It was an honor helping you and Chris creating a beautiful and welcoming home. Thank you for your all your support and friendship.

    • Mark and Minna, thank you so very much for such accolades. It was our great pleasure helping you with your first and then second grand home. We also appreciate your generosity and friendship.

  2. I stumbled upon Antiqueria Tribeca in 2000 as I went in the wrong direction on Duane Street looking for an address. This happy accident led to a 16-year relationship with the Feigs and their wonderful store.

    That day in 2000, I stepped out onto the sidewalk and called my husband. “You have to come down here to see this beautiful sideboard for our new apartment,” I said excitedly. We purchased the sideboard that day, and in the ensuing years a dining table and chairs, an exceptional Art Deco bar, an etagere, coffee table, a few side tables, an armoire, a Biedermeier cabinet, several arm chairs…you get the idea! Marion’s taste is flawless, and now visiting their store is like going to visit old friends. We stop by for coffee!

    Congratulations, Marion and Peter, on many successful years in your business. We hope all of your new neighbors have the good taste and sense to stop in and get to know you!

  3. The Feigs are old friends of ours. So nice to hear of their success with what appears to be a fabulous undertaking.

  4. As an interior designer, I am spoiled by the resources New York has to offer – but Antiqueria Tribeca is hands-down my favorite destination for exceptional Deco and Mid-Century furnishings in Manhattan. This is partly because of the quality and value of their beautifully curated inventory. But the heart and soul of Antiqueria are Marion and Peter. Over the years they have been gracious and welcoming, always making us feel right at home. If you intend to pop in for a quick look, don’t be surprised if you find yourself lounging on a chic Deco chair enjoying a leisurely espresso with these two – they are absolutely charming! A visit to their warehouse just a few minutes drive from the showroom is an interior designer’s wonderland of treasures, though my clients seem to love going the adventure as much as I do!

    • Dearest Bradley, the high priest of designers….in my humble view!!!
      Thank you for all your support all these years. Your words are truly too kind, and we almost feel guilty for being lauded for something that we are truly passionate about and hardly consider work.
      Above all, thank you for your friendship.

  5. We noticed the Antiqueria Tribeca’s ad in the NY Times when the store was newly opened. We had just moved into a prewar apartment and were eager to see the Art Deco pieces. Thanks to Marion’s exquisite design vision and the gorgeous furniture purchased at Antiqueria, we have an amazing apartment! And best of all – we’re one of the early clients who became dear, dear friends.

    • Randy and Jon, one of our very first clients, and now cherished friends. It does seem like a real long, long time ago when you walked in with the little New York Times ad. We had many great experiences since then, and looking forward to many more.
      Last but not least, thank you for the honor of letting my creativity “blossom” when it came to redecorating your home.

  6. Buying furniture from Marion and Peter is one of the best buying experiences a customer can have.
    Their Art Deco furniture is spectacular and beautiful !
    The pieces are just amazing, The quality is pure perfection!
    I bought a dining room table, a side board , an amazing coffee table, a spectacular mirror and 2 Art Deco chairs that had fabric hand picked by Marion, just beautiful.
    One thing is for sure, if you let Marion design your space, you will end up with a beautiful space, that you will love for a lifetime!
    I know I love mine!
    Thank you Marion and Peter

    • Douglas Elliott…. the jeweler to the stars and some lucky mortals!!!!
      Thank you very much for your gracious words and complements. Coming from you, a talented artist in his own right, with impeccable taste and great vision, is indeed an honor.
      Helping you and Marisa design your gorgeous new home was not only a labor of love, but also a challenge. You know exactly what you like and have concise ideas of design. The last thing I wanted to do is disappoint you. Lucky for me it all turned out great.
      Wishing you tons of fun in your new house.

  7. Eight years ago while looking for furniture for my small one-bedroom apartment, I wandered into Antiqueria Tribeca quite by accident. As first I was overwhelmed by all the lovely pieces and thought that I could never afford such elegance. Furthermore, where would I place them. However, after meeting Marion, I was quickly put at ease by her warm, caring manner, and her responses to my questions. After spending some time in the store, I made an appointment with her to come and see my apartment — and the rest is history. My apartment is now beautifully furnished in Art Deco, which goes with any pieces that I had before. Besides, we are still working together on other projects. As a matter of fact, I still pop into their store from time to time for a chat with both Marion and Peter and love to browse and see their tasteful new editions. They are wonderful people, and I thank my lucky stars the day I found them.

  8. Maxine, one of my absolutely favorite people in the world. It is I who thank the lucky stars that you wondered in our store on that cold winter evening. Your optimism, joie the vivre , knowledge in the arts and all that is au currant in New York has immensiy enriched my life. It was a pleasure and honor to help you in designing your lovely home. I love your enthusiasm and genuine pleasure when acquiring something new. Above all, I love and cherish our friendship.

  9. 10+ years ago while wandering around Tribeca, I stumbled upon Antiqueria Tribeca. From the moment I walked inside, I felt like I had been transported to heaven. I didn’t know where to look, there were so many perfectly staged exquisite pieces in such amazing condition all over the store. I’ll never forget the candle they were burning either…it was intoxicating. Marion and Peter could not have been more hospitable to me, a 19-year-old college majoring in economics who had no business being there. They exuded warmth, and all I wanted to do is spend more time in such a magical place with such magical people. I asked if I could intern for them, and soon I was spending a few days a week with the most wonderful, ethical, humble, hilarious, and stylish couples I’d ever met. My time with them was one of the highlights of my life. I hold them in such a special place in my heart. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at that. Peter and Marion, I’m sending my best wishes, and I can’t wait to furnish my home with the stunning pieces from your store one day hopefully sooner than later :)

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