We love Atlanta interior designer Allison Hennessy’s fresh style, so we asked her to take us on a tour of Scott Antique Market in Atlanta, where design professionals and do-it-yourselfers vie for great deals on just about everything, from rugs and vintage fabrics to case goods and porcelain.
All About Scott Antique Market
WHEN: Scott’s is open Thursday to Sunday on the second week of every month. Go on Thursday or Friday if you’re looking for specific pieces before they get picked over. If you’re there just to browse and hope for a deal, you may want to wait until Saturday afternoon or Sunday. Dealers are usually more willing to negotiate because they don’t want to load the unsold merchandise back on the truck. Come prepared with cash, checks, and credit cards because vendors vary on which methods of payment they accept.
WHERE: The market is in two buildings at the Atlanta Expo Centers. The North building is where I primarily shop because it has more antiques, rugs, fabrics, and other decorative items. The South building has more reproduction furniture in painted finishes and new upholstery.
WHY: This place has just about everything you can imagine, and it’s very popular with decorators. In fact, some of the Miami Circle and Bennett Street antiques dealers have opened booths there. It’s convenient because there’s so much under one roof, and you can accomplish a lot in one visit. Many people think Scott’s is only antiques and vintage items, but there are tons of new upholstery pieces brought down from North Carolina and reproduction Oushak rugs, for example. Partial rolls and pieces of beautiful new fabrics from ADAC are also part of the mix.
PREPARATION: Scott’s is so huge; it can be overwhelming. I always come armed with a list of the specific items I’m looking for, along with all the room dimensions that I need, as well as the measurements of doorways. I find that the list keeps me on task and less likely to drift into random booths. That said, I don’t limit myself—I’m always open to surprises!
ARRIVAL: I suggest taking 30 minutes to an hour to scout and get the lay of the land, jotting down booth numbers or snapping a few photos of pieces that intrigue you. Yes, there is the possibility that something may slip away during your orientation, but you’ll probably feel more focused and confident after doing some scouting.
PRICING: The dealers do expect to negotiate, and you would be remiss not to try. However, every shopper has her own comfort level about this. I’m not particularly aggressive, but I always ask, “What’s your best price?” and go from there. (You may not want to be dressed head to toe in designer clothes with a luxury handbag when you visit!) Sometimes, it’s a challenge trying to determine whether a piece is well priced for its age and condition. I often check auction websites on my phone to look for comparisons. However, if my client is excited about something (I text photos while I shop), it’s within the budget, and it’s the right size, I usually move forward as long as the price seems reasonable.
HOLD POLICIES: If you’ve expressed serious interest in a piece, have measured it, and perhaps are waiting for confirmation from another person (in my case, the client), you can ask the dealer to hold the item for under an hour. Each dealer has her own policies, but it can’t hurt to ask. The more often you attend the market,the more you’ll get to know the dealers, and you can develop a rapport that may gain you some additional privileges.
GETTING IT HOME: If you have brought your own transportation, hail one of the many porters running around the show with their dolly trucks. Give them the booth numbers, and arrange for a place to meet. Bring cash, so that you can pay and tip accordingly. If you need to have items shipped, it’s best to get a freight quote before you make your purchase, as it could affect the price you’re willing to pay. Scott’s works with several reputable companies who can give you pricing. The freight companies offer a discount for shipping multiple pieces, so the more you buy, the more you save on shipping, in case you need more motivation to shop!
“While I usually shop for larger pieces when I go to Scott’s, I try to allow some time to look for interesting accessories as well. I love trays—they’re so versatile and great for holding collections or corralling bedside items. Interesting glasses can hold pencils or do double duty as vases. Scott’s has lots of old silver and antique books sold by the foot to fill up a big library if need be. I’m also a fan of antique boxes to put on mantels and elsewhere. And Scott’s selection includes a lot of fabrics like suzanis and pillows, often made with very high-end fabrics left over after a design project. You’re sure to find something—maybe even too much—to brighten any room.” [Don’t miss Hennessy’s tips for decorating with antiques and market finds!]
By Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Debroah Whitlaw Llewellyn | Produced by Ellen S. Padgett
Scott Antique Market is held at the Atlanta Expo Centers, 2nd weekend of every month.