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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.