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A FAMOUS HOME
If you were a piece of vintage or antique furniture in the obtainable price range, where would you hide? A number of places, as it turns out. Famous takes you on a tour of four unique locations, three of them outside of the normal Fresno thrift circuit and one destined to become Fresno's premier locale for hip, retro home furnishings.
OLIVE AVE ANTIQUES
101 W OLIVE AVE
First visited was Olive Ave Antiques, a small store on the Southwest corner of Olive and Thorne. Owner Max Domingo describes his collection as "eclectic", which in this case is a euphemism for "whatever I happen to get my hands on". Noticeable pieces of furniture included two antique showcases, one of which was deco; a vintage sofa from the 40's or 50's; and a mod wooden drop leaf dinner table. There was a scattered selection of wicker furniture which would have looked attractive once given a home.
Each time we visit the store, Domingo always seems to have a selection of classic outdoor wood and wrought iron benches, and in fact he had just sold one when we arrived. He claims the prices stay below $150 per item, but it's hard to imagine him parting with a few of the nicer pieces for so little.
PICKET FENCE ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES
15 E OLIVE AVE
Next up was Picket Fence Antiques and Collectibles between Thorn and Farris on the North side of Olive. It's called Picket Fence because the store is in a house with a white picket fence. There are more than a few stores named Picket Fence in the world but how many can say that they really have a picket fence out front? If you said not many, you are correct.
Owner Delia Hardin focuses on vintage Americana and her selection of figurines, clothing, art work, umbrellas, doilies, cameras, and more is baffling. The kitchenware might be the most exciting section of Picket Fence found- where else- but in the kitchen. Hardin has on display plates, glasses, silverware, utensils, dish towels, and more -- all of it vintage 30's, 40's, and 50's. There is an antique center island in the middle of the kitchen which acts as a display but is also for sale.
Out in the back yard there is another small building (originally a guest room perhaps), which features some larger pieces of furniture like a vintage yellow Formica table, a deco vanity, tall cabinets, and antique beds. Hardin says the prices of furniture at her store vary from between $75 to $600, although items designed for decor and things like bathroom furnishings or kitchenware are priced in a lower range.
DUG "O" VICS
1310 N BLACKSTONE
Dug "O" Vics is the brick red behemoth antiques store near Olive and Blackstone. It's two stories and a whole lot of rooms. What's confusing about the store is that most of the furniture is not really antique but is in fact reproduced, although there is some antique and vintage furniture mixed throughout. On our first visit, we saw several vintage cocktail bars which made our mouths water. Our most recent visit was a little disappointing in that there weren't any such nifty finds. There were as usual some really gorgeous armoires and cabinets (mostly reproductions), although be prepared to spend over $500 take one of them home.
648 S. BROADWAY
Yoshi Now is the Stepford version of the Garage Sale, the retro-vintage-junk shop. Instead of selling all the good stuff to buyers out of town (or out of the country for that matter), it seems owner Yoshi Toi has decided Fresno is finally ready for the good stuff. Yoshi Now features the crème de la crème of the Garage Sale's offerings: mid-century pieces in good to excellent condition, vintage artwork, clothes, shoes, handbags, home items, the list goes on. The clothes racks stretch endlessly through the downtown warehouse.
We're here to talk about furniture though, and Yoshi Now is no slacker store in that department either. The first thing to see upon entering Yoshi now is a bonanza of vintage lamps, theatre seats, and couches. There's even a personal sauna in one corner. Filling the entrance side of the store are mod chairs, mosaic tables, and a vintage seafoam green Formica table. The impressive selection of interesting decorative wall clocks was our favorite.
No matter where you go to find that perfect piece for your home, it helps to consult eBay to get a general idea on fair prices, and don't be afraid to (very politely) bargain.