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A man once walked into Lakeside antique shop Hunter Lange and asked, "Do you have any tools or Civil War relics?"
Owner Kathy Jones couldn't help laughing. "This is about the prissiest shop," she told him. "There are no tools in this shop."
Hammers and relics? Definitely not. Try vintage aprons, wrought-iron gates and gilded mirrors. Hunter Lange has an abundance of old furniture and garden accessories sure to delight shabby-chic aficionados.
"I don't like anything new," Jones says, but heavy, dark antiques aren't her style either. "It's cheerful," she says. "It's breezy and light."
Jones, a cheerful, birdlike person herself, points out a few of her favorite recent finds. An Eastlake dresser, painted white, with the original acorn pulls (Jones does much repainting and repairing of the pieces that come in). A century-old Hungarian cabinet repainted with a primitive rooster and hen. An early 1900s Victorian lamp base with two clinging cherubs and flaking white paint. Wrought-iron garden furniture. And a 1920s birdbath filled with seashells and ivy.
Jones is too fond of this last piece to sell it. "I buy what I like," she says. "I never buy what matches."
Wondering how to achieve a carefree, shabby chic room without looking too, well, shabby? The secret, Jones says, is to pair distressed pieces with new ones. The deliberate contrast between peeling paint and crisp, clean lines ties everything together.