Magazine article Sunset

Treasure Hunting

Magazine article Sunset

Treasure Hunting

Article excerpt

For unique pots, benches, or trellises, try a garden art specialist

the garden is the bonus room of this century. Furnish it with things you love," advises Gail Chapman, who sells garden antiques and accessories from a south Seattle showroom.

Believing that plants and art go hand in hand to make a garden, Chapman is one of a growing number of Western entrepreneurs who are opening shops or warehouses to sell one-of-a-kind garden ornaments. Diane Egizii is another. Because gardens increasingly are places to dine, play, entertain, or just hang out, says this Phoenix garden decorator, they're being furnished and embellished as thoughtfully as indoor rooms. "You should be as comfortable outdoors as indoors," she adds.

For a gardener, browsing through the four stores listed here-a sampling of the many now opening throughout the West-may be the ultimate treasure hunt. Who knows what fun things you'll discover along the way.

SEATTLE

A Garden of Distinction

A head-spinning array of enticing items fills this 10,000-square-foot showroom. Glazed Asian pots huddle next to proven4;al bistro tables and antique French swings. Decorative ironwork from Tunisia and other countries hangs on a wall. Most of the items are displayed in vignettes designed to inspire.

"I search for and sell the things I love," says owner Gail Chapman, who regularly makes buying trips to France and Southeast Asia. "People come here looking for one-of-akind pieces."

WHAT,S HOT. Trellises, anything in iron, and shapely containers of all kinds. 10-5 Mon-Sat. 5819 Sixth Ave. S (one building south of the Seattle Design Center); (206) 763-0517 or www. agardenofdistinction. com.

SAN JOSE

Artefact Design & Salvage

"I could never find the kind of garden art I liked, so I decided to start collecting," says owner David Allen, a high-tech drop-out from Silicon Valley, whose interest in architecture and garden ornaments blossomed into a business.

About two years ago, Allen opened his retail outlet in a 1920s corrugated steel warehouse. To keep it filled, he scours this country and Europe for old, handcrafted pieces he calls "lost arts"-items of Victorian terra-cotta, carved stone, wood, and pressed metal. There are stone benches, wrought-iron fences and gates, wall fountains, pots, pillars, and antique baskets.

"It's fun to discover great stuff in unexpected places," he adds, recalling the time he clung to scaffolding outside the 20th floor of a Manhattan high-rise slated for demolition just to check out decorative terra-cotta. Many of his offerings are pricey, but he sells inexpensive pieces too, like the oil jar, grape urn, and English terra-cotta pot pictured (inset on page 76).

WHAT'S HOT: Turkish village oil jar, birdbaths, urns, and cast-iron benches with crusty finishes.

11-5 Wed-Sat, 12-5 Sun. 245 McEvoy St. (on the east end of Antique Row between W San Carlos St. and Park Ave. …

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