When Steve Davenport bought his 2,500-square-foot loft, he was thrilled with the amount of open space he would have after renovations – then he moved in a
1,000-piece antique collection.
Now Davenport’s loft is listed with CitiHabitats for $2.35 million and was featured as New York House of the Day — and his collection is also up for grabs for interested antique lovers.
Davenport’s careful arrangement of antiques “evolved” after he moved into the home in 1997. ”It just grew into it,” he says. “[I'd] see a piece and think, that would be great there.”
A restored barber shop chair in the middle of the living room makes for an inviting seat, while a Vaudeville sign hangs near a late 19th-century pool table and vintage games populate a dining table. On shelves mounted to the walls, ice cream cone holders share space with malted milk jars. In the areas set aside for his antiques, signs cover the walls, including one for ”Drugs” and another for “Soda”, which light up over an assortment of
stools and lamps.
Davenport estimates his collection numbers around 1,000 pieces, with root beer mugs the one item featured the most. He specializes in collecting and selling antique commercial pieces from 1880 to 1910.
Davenport used to work at Urban Archeology, a company specializing in the salvage and reproduction of architectural elements like light fixtures. At
home, he used these skills to restore and fix many of his antiques and to renovate the apartment in phases over the years.
“The antiques are like the loft, they had to be renovated too, most of them,” he says. “I bought them rough.”
Since space in the loft is at a premium, Davenport would only add to the collection is something was “pretty spectacular,” he said — or the object would
need to replace something else.
“When you start off collecting something, you start getting the more common stuff. Then you start getting better and better stuff, well, now you’re looking
for something that’s better than I already have,” he said. ”That’s the line, if I already have it I don’t want to get another one unless it’s a great buy. There’s no sense in getting too much of one thing.”
For those interested in antique collecting, Davenport advises being “consistent” and “diligent.”
“You can’t just expect to go to the flea market once in a while and expect to find something,” he says. “But what you like, if you like it and it makes you happy and you can afford it, then buy it.”