Ekster Antiques & Uniques

by | Oct 9, 2022 | Antiques | 37 comments

For over a week, my mom and I planned a day out last Friday.  I had another x-ray and follow-up appointment for my foot (I graduated from the boot) and we were going to hit some antique shops afterward.  I was looking forward to getting out of paint clothes and out of the house and it would be a nice warm-up for Lucketts.  But, the plan was shaken up when I saw an awesome 20-drawer cabinet (that would be a perfect art supply cabinet) posted on Instagram.  The seller was Caroline of Ekster Antiques & Uniques, a dealer I have known and admired for many years.

I loved her style before I knew her.  I sighed over her beautiful booth at Lucketts and her home and styling in magazines and decorating books.  And I had the privilege of being her booth neighbor at many markets and getting to know her better.  She is every bit as lovely as the things she sells.  Caroline is petite, but don’t let that fool you.  She can move furniture with the best of them.  She has a gentle, easy-going, and honest way about her with jeans dirtied from hard work and a soft European accent.  In addition to having flawless taste, she is effortlessly beautiful.  The Lucketts Spring Market is infamous for getting historic rains during the event and while we’re all running around looking like drowned rats, she seems to still look amazing!  If you’ve ever met her, you know just what I’m talking about.

Believe it or not, though, I had never made it out to one of her barn sales in Hamilton, VA.  The timing was just never right.  And I never even bought anything from her booth!  I would always admire her pieces, but I never had the right place for one.  Her furniture is usually large-scale, which is fantastic for newer Northern Virginia/DC/MD homes, which tend to be huge with high ceilings and large rooms to furnish.  But I lived in a 1940s Cape Cod (before I moved to MN) with small rooms and low ceilings.

I thought this might be the year that I bought a piece from her, though.  Our house isn’t big, but I have a few large-scale pieces on my wish list and her tent was going to be one of my first stops.

On Wednesday, Caroline shared on her Ekster Antiques Instagram Stories that she would be bringing this cabinet to sell at Lucketts. I asked about the dimensions and price and the piece haunted me.  It was just so perfect and, to make it even more special, it’s a piece she has owned and used for over 20 years.  It was one of the first antique pieces she bought.  To own a piece that was a part of her story, not just a piece that passed through Ekster Antiques, would be such an honor.  I messaged her on Thursday to let her know I wanted to buy it and, instead of waiting to get it at Lucketts, I decided to drive down and pick it up on Friday.

antique cabinet | ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

My mom and I were going to visit antique stores, so why not go to Ekster Antiques?  It was the day before a barn sale, so I could shop for other pieces as well!  The only hiccup was I didn’t really think through the plan.  I measured my van before I left that morning to confirm the piece would fit inside.  Yes, it would.  I stopped by an antique store in Waynesboro, PA, on my way to my orthopedic appointment in Gettysburg and found a few little treasures.  It was at that stop that I got the idea I should double-check the measurement with the seats folded up.  These seats don’t fold as well as the seats in previous vans that I’ve owned and that might cause an issue.  The measurements confirmed my suspicions.  So, I had to go to my appointment, pick up my mom, drive back to Hagerstown to drop off the van seats, and then drive to the barn sale in Hamilton, VA.  After the pick-up, we would drive back to Gettysburg, stopping at little shops that looked tempting, drop my mom off, and drive back home.  It was going to be a lot of driving on a foot that hasn’t done much driving in the last five months, but I was determined!  It would be worth it to have this piece paid for and in my possession.

My mom and I arrived at Ekster Antiques at about 2:30 and were welcomed by a very proud Rooster who knew he was being photographed.  He put on quite a show in front of the Ekster Antiques sign.  The setting was just as I imagined and I couldn’t wait to meander around the barn.

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

It’s just as I would expect it to be.  Caroline apologized, stating that the barn was such a mess in its pre-dale state.  But her mess is lovely, and well-curated, and it would easily go unnoticed if she didn’t point it out.  I wasn’t the only early bird shopper there and no one else minded.

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

If you need a statement piece, whether it’s a mirror, a light fixture, or a piece of furniture, Ekster Antiques is where you should go.  Her barn (and tent when she shows at Lucketts) is packed full of pieces to pick from that demand attention.  It’s all neutral, timeless, and somehow modern as well.  There are natural elements mixed with crystal chandeliers, European antiques, mixed with mid-century finds, and farmhouse tables.  It’s just a feast for the eyes.

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

I was stopped in my tracks when I saw this piece.  Out of all of the beautiful pieces, this one struck me as so special and perfect for me.  I debated over buying two big pieces just days before Lucketts, but this was just what I’ve been looking for to use in my dining room.  I waffled a bit, knowing purchasing this cabinet would mean another trip (and one in a rented cargo van since it’s too big for my van), but I knew I wouldn’t regret going through that trouble.  So, my mom and I are going back Monday to pick up this beauty.

antique European cabinet | ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

There were so many other things that caught my eye, but those were the two pieces that were perfect for my house and would come home with me.

Before I show you the small piece I bought, here’s a look around the upper and lower level of the barn…

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

It really is a special place and chock full of goodies to buy or to just soak in the inspiration.

In addition to the two big pieces I purchased, I also bought this sweet antique table.  I sold all of our side tables and small dressers, so those are on my list to find.  I loved the shape and patina on this one.

antique side table | ekster antiques | miss mustard seed

Caroline and Jean-Paul helped us load the 20-drawer cabinet into my van.  I was sweating my measurements a bit as they were tipping the piece in, but my measurements were right and it fit.  Snugly.  And my mom and I set out at about 4:30 towards Gettysburg.

The first fateful decision came when we decided to turn right instead of left because there was a long line I would have to cut into and it looked like we’d be sitting there for a while.  DC traffic has a reach that is pretty incredible and even affects sleepy country roads miles out of the city that was never designed for this kind of volume.  The GPS picked a new route, which lead us into more traffic.  We soon found out the traffic was from commuters but from a fall festival happening in the quaint historic town of Waterford.

After a couple of turns to avoid roads that were blocked with caution cones, I rolled down my window, laughing, and asked a group of parking attendants for help.  “How do I get out of here?  This is where my GPS took me and we’re just trying to get to Gettysburg!”  One attendant tried to help me and gave directions to get me going in the right direction.  We headed out confident that we would be heading home.  For the next 45 minutes, we were in GPS purgatory, driving in a triangle away from Waterford and then back to it again.  It was a pretty drive, but you get a little exasperated when you see the same beautiful barn three times when you’re just trying to get home.  “Okay, this isn’t working.  Let’s go to Leesburg.  I know those roads and we can get home from there.”  It was just 10 minutes away, so that seemed like a sensible plan.

It would’ve been if it hadn’t been for an accident and regular commuter traffic on route 15 just outside of Leesburg that held us up for almost an hour.  I mean, we just had to laugh.  What should’ve been a drive that was a little over an hour turned into a three-hour ride to drop my mom off in Gettysburg and then an anxious drive over the mountains in the dark with the drawers creaking against each other in the back to get back home.  But, I made it and it was worth it.

We unloaded the piece on Saturday and put it in the garage until it can go into the studio once the floors are finished.  I can’t wait to fill it with tubes of paint, sketchbooks, papers, palettes, and more.  Of course, I’ll share it once it’s found the perfect spot.

37 Comments

  1. Monica

    Good finds! I love the large cabinet. The wood is beautiful. I really enjoy reading about your shopping adventures.

  2. Marcie

    What a great place and beautiful treasures! What is it about VA? Years ago (long before GPS), we were on our way to Williamsburg in a motorhome with family and friends…the guys were driving and up front while the girls were in back, chatting. We soon noticed a gorgeous stone viaduct and commented on it…a few minutes later, we went under it again and we giggled a bit. Well, several minutes later, you guessed it…here we go again! By then, we were hysterical. We did finally find it and have great memories of that trip…and we giggle every time we talk about it!

  3. Bea

    I used to shop at Ekster when they had a shop in Leesburg. And my friend, Carol, and I loved going to the fall Waterford show. I also shopped in Hamilton when there were a couple of antique shops there. I have a country cupboard in my dining room that I purchased in Hamilton many years ago.Your trip has brought back many good memories!

    • JC

      What beautiful pieces. I especially love the 20 drawer chest! I think we have all had trips like you expressed and you are right it can be pretty comical. I’m glad that the venture was worth your finds! You are already creating memories….from the mouse to this adventure with your Mom. So precious!

  4. CathyR

    You need a Chrysler Town & Country van (or the Dodge Caravan version). I wouldn’t settle for anything else because it’s too hard for seniors to wrestle seats out of a van. Those stow-n-go seats are the bomb! And talk about bombs! That storage piece you got…???

    • Nancy Sullivan

      The four back seats in my very boxy and ugly, but very handy, Nissan mini-van fold down very flat leaving a huge area for antiquing treasures!!! LOL..this is the reason I bought it! Nan

  5. Dolores Pap

    Your new large glass fronted cabinet is gorgeous! It reminds me of a Biedermeier piece..

  6. Robin Bentley

    You made me laugh…gps purgatory. I’m sorry it took so long but I’m so glad you’re back on the east coast.

  7. Marianne Miller

    My husband and I have had a couple of those trips when we have driven from our home in New york state to our daughters in Virginia, a couple of times we have missed our turn and ended up in the DC traffic, not fun! I’m glad to hear you don’t have to wear the boot any more. I love the pieces you choose and can’t wait to see your studio!

  8. Michelle

    The Ekster Antique Barn is a dream! I love every inch of it! Thanks for the tour!

  9. Sharon Rexroad

    Definitely worth a second trip to get that large cabinet! And I love your sweet end table with it’s scalloped front edge. I don’t get the current “thing” on instagram of cutting off scallops to modernize a piece of furniture. To me, the scallop is where the charm of a piece resides!

    • Deb

      Sharon,

      I totally agree with you. It’s like they cut off the personality of the piece of furniture and then it just looks like any other generic piece.

  10. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    Marian, so glad that you could shed your boot! Wow! Those antique pieces you bought at Ekster are so nice. Can hardly wait to see them in your lovely home. It was quite the trip for you but so worth the extra travel time! Have a great week!

  11. Carolyn Dietrich

    So it begins! The delight of seeing you make your new home yours! I love both big cabinets and the table you bought. So excited to see how you set up your studio!

  12. Karen

    That antique store looks like an amazing place!! When I saw the glass doored cabinet you bought I gasped. It’s so beautiful! What a wonderful find!

  13. Irene Kelly

    Your pieces are beautiful they are “just you” ! Cannot wait to see how you place them in your new home and how you decorate them. For many years I drove all over this country alone in the car using only maps yes paper maps and since I was alone in the car I hesitated to stop and ask people for directions. I would make it to my hotel safely in due time. And I remember the first time I drove thru Harper’s Ferry on a crisp fall day it was so beautiful I cried !

  14. Kay

    I love the large pieces that you bought, but the table is simply wonderful! I’m so happy that you bought it because I know you will give it a great home.
    My husband were very happy together and once we were in Florida, and stopped for lunch, he looked at the map and we had gone 50 miles beyond our exit! We had been so busy talking and laughing we hadn’t paid attention. But we laughed about that trip for years!

  15. Donna J Holsey

    Hi Marion,
    Welcome back to the east coast. I love all of the pieces you scored. Lovely! You mentioned Waynesboro PA. My husband and I lived there for four years when he pastored a church there. I’d love to know which antique store you stopped to visit. I am thoroughly enjoying your posts as you rehab your new home.

  16. Sandy

    The cabinet for your studio looks perfect, and the large display cabinet is gorgeous. THEN the small table is amazing!!! Love the shape and the lower shelf. Excited for you!!!!
    Yay for you being in the driver’s seat again.

  17. Diana

    “Ekster” means “magpie” in Dutch, a bird which likes to pick up shiny objects. It seems an appropriate name!

  18. Barbara

    It’s fun reading about your adventures in my neck of the woods! Love all the little spots in MD and VA that are great for antiquing!! You bought some beautiful pieces!!

  19. Sharon Stanley

    I absolutely love Waterford and the Fall Faire. I haven’t been in years but the village is charm itself. I met Caroline there years ago when she had a small shop there just for the Faire. Such a lovely woman with the best style ever. And who doesn’t love Lucketts? I cannot imagine trying to get home from the DC/NOVA area on Waterford Friday at 430. You have my sympathies ?.

  20. Jen C

    Thank you for taking us on your adventure with your Mom. Loved your pieces that you picked out. What a great barn that is full of treasures. Next year my daughter and I will have to plan a trip to Lucketts. GPS purgatory. Very frustrating. Glad you made it home safely and that you are out of the boot. Your new home is going to be beautiful with all of your special touches.

  21. Kay

    Thanks for bringing us along on your journey- it’s a great diversion! Any suggestions on other places to antique if we were to make a weekend of shopping at Ekster and other target rich locales?

    • Marian Parsons

      Of course, Leesburg and Lucketts. Lucketts is actually a small town that has a few antique shops including The Old Lucketts Store. You can also hit On a Whim, The Foundry, and there are some great antique shops in and around Leesburg. I haven’t been to them in over five years, though, so I’m not sure how they have changed. I plan to check out a few of my old favorite spots over the next few months to check them out.

  22. Mary S

    As I scrolled thru the pictures of the barn shop my eyes STOPPED on the cabinet with the glass doors and then next stopped on the lovely little table with the curved front!! YEP..
    I would have taken BOTH of those incredible pieces home with me too. Now, I’ll be looking for exact pieces just like those – especially the tall one with the glass doors. Again, I’m envious of your purchases and of your places to shop. Nothing like that where I live… sadly 🙁

  23. Norma

    Marian, congratulations on shedding your boot! I am very happy for you. I love all the things you picked up on your shopping spree. I can’t wait to see them in your home!!!! Happy shopping!!!

  24. monique Odman

    Such a great choice, I see lots of things to love through your photos.
    Enjoy the no boot feeling.

  25. Terri Spencer

    Just (?) Wonderful!! Truly, a fab place with a curator’s eye. Thank you for “the sight to behold” that is Ekster’s to myself and other’s who would not be able to. Great and useful piece that got you there and lovely DR piece that “grabbed” you. I saw the little table and it made me say, “Hmmm.” Things that make you say, “Hmmm,” in a good way, are the things that are meant for you, too. I guessed that one. Glad to hear you have graduated from your boot! And how lovely and fortunate to have your Mother able to be with you for all of this. There are just no people like our parent’s! I know they are beyond thrilled that you and family-GRANDKIDS- are close enough by to be in each other’s lives more regularly. Now That’s a blessing. 🙂 Thanks again. Terri

  26. Lisa Sraders

    Marian, like someone else said, those pieces are so you! God is so amazing to show us these delightful ways to feather our homes! There is a certain beautiful adrenaline that comes along with finding things like that, correct? And, I love her booth every time I go to Lucketts… She has such an elegant air about her, and her pieces reflect that! I’m really hoping that I see you on Friday! I am actually going by myself this time, I usually take a young lady or ladies with me, but this time, I just wanted to meander on my own!

  27. Becca

    It is so exciting to see your early selections of pieces for your new home. As you are putting it together, we get to watch and see where your mind is going. Fantastically classy piece for your DR! Thanks so much for taking us along!

    • Irene Kelly

      Marian, is that glass door cabinet burled maple ?

  28. Diane Bushby

    I just gave away to charity and old apothacary cabinet..it was huge 35 drawers and at the top it had a glass cabinet….we recently downsized from an 8 bedroom house to a 3 bedroom house and we just couldnt fit it into what will be my office so it had to go much like a lot of the vintage furniture we just gave it away to charity! I was sad to see it go but hopefully it will go to a good home!

  29. Elaine Sirna

    Amazing purchases! I am happy that you all are back on the east coast – you are only an hour or so from me! Yay for me when you start selling things from home again!

  30. Molly

    Oh my gosh, I remember those DC-area 1-hour trips that take 3! At least you were in the company of your mom, and you found some wonderful treasures!

  31. Sue Lynch

    Funny story, in hindsight! Antiquing is not for the faint of heart….there is always work involved…but as you said, so worth it! The stories become part of the history. And no matter what you sell or wish you had bought, there is always more treasure just around the corner.

  32. Fenne

    Oh, I love the name Ekster! So cool they use a Dutch word.

Hello!

Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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