By Judy Garrison
It is impossible not to be charmed when viewing the winningly displayed collection of antiques at this new addition to Andes shops at 49 Main Street (the former home of Chace-Randall Gallery which still operates by appointment on the second floor).
The proprietor, John Graham Tucker, is clearly exercising a very particular sensibility in choosing his antiques, and so I endeavored to discover his concept in opening this shop and how he arrived at it. Tucker explained that he is dedicated to selling interesting antiques with intrinsic charm and character. Some will have a compelling graphic quality, others an artistic edge, such as a sculptural or lyrical quality. These can include an old tool or a humble everyday object.
To start this venture Tucker recently pulled back from working full time for his imprint, Norfleet Press, which he established in 1987 to specialize in architecture, design and photography books. (His last—still being distributed—is titled A Simple Way of Life: Old Farmhouses of New York and New England and highlights authentic older farmhouses that evoke a purity and simplicity, including the 1792 home of the deMauros a few miles up County Route 2 from Andes.) Prior to his work in book publishing, Tucker, with a master’s degree in art history, had a career as editor with Interior Design magazine. Even further back, however, he was influenced by his father whose avocation, furniture design in the spare style somewhat akin to Frank Lloyd Wright’s, filled their house with his own handmade objects and directed the eye of his son both at home and while traveling in Europe toward fine examples of good proportion and beauty.
Tucker, and his wife, Carmen, a physical therapist by profession who spent her last working years as one of the directors of the rehabilitation department at an orthopedic specialty hospital in New York City, bought an 1825 farmhouse in rural Bovina a few years ago. Absorbing the details of the high quality restoration undertaken by the previous owner played a part, Tucker notes, in his drive to tackle the farmhouse book project, and, indirectly, in his new pursuit of acquiring and selling antiques.
The couple were urged by a knowledgeable friend to include Ohio and Pennsylvania as well as New England and New York in their scope of expos, fairs, centers and country auctions when seeking antiques, and so Tucker with Carmen, who has enthusiastically joined him in both the quest for pieces and the running of the business, spent a large part of the winter doing just that. One standout find is a beautiful cupboard, whose provenance, including the name of the maker, is known to them. An intriguing collection of “smalls” in a partitioned wooden display case, also catches my eye as does a double metal washing cupboard with the words “EASY” in compelling graphics.
This lovely couple is clear in stating that their goal is to have fun and to contribute to the vitality and spirit of Andes. They welcome everyone to come in and have a look around. John says, “Regardless of whether any visitor chooses to buy anything, we hope they leave feeling they’ve had a genuinely interesting experience while inside.” The store hours for this season are: Saturday, 10:30 to 6; Sunday, 11-5, holidays, 10-5, and by appointment or chance. Phone: 917-443-0780. Email: email@example.com.~