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Diary of a Mad Renovator: Heartbreak at Harborside

Written by Jaqui Lividini

By Jaqui Lividini

This week we went to Harborside, Maine, to an amazing store for antique fixtures called Architectural Antiquities. The owner is John Jacobs, who’s been in the business forever and has the most beautiful antique sinks, doors, arches, windows, mantles, portholes, light fixtures…the list goes on! He travels all over New England to find these unique pieces. The store is literally in the-middle-of-nowhere-Maine and is incredibly hard to find, which bodes well for me. I find when home decorating, antiquing becomes less like antiquing and more like a marathon to get what you want before someone else does!


John Jacobs, owner of Architectural Antiquities

John houses his treasures in a great big barn overlooking Penobscot Bay. It’s a by-appointment shopping experience–so you must plan ahead and give yourself an entire morning or afternoon to browse.  John (my John) and I have been  clients for several years; we first met Mr. Jacobs when we first bought our house in Litchfield County.  We had heard about the legendary Architectural Antiquities (AA) and were curious about it. That first trip was a bit intimidating for us, and we left empty handed–that was the last time that happened.  For our next few house projects we became frequent and devoted clients.

On this trip, we were shopping specifically for our Branford Cottage. Our first find was a soaking tub. This wasn’t just any bathtub but rather a 6-foot one from the early 1900’s (same vintage as our house and extremely hard to find). Of course John (my John) got right in to test out the leg room. It passed with flying colors. It was a great find in perfect condition with the porcelain still in tact.

We were also looking for portholes and AA has an amazing and authentic selection.  We decided at some point we wanted to bring the view into the upstairs hallway and a porthole into Calliope’s room is the perfect solution.

I left the most important item on my list for last, the gorgeous glass-paned carriage doors for my new garage.  They are the perfect size and in fact we designed the entire exterior of the raised house around these doors–I needed two sets and the Web site said they had three. However, the Web site had not been updated—they had one only set left.  UGH! I’m crushed—yet another renovator’s Plan B to the rescue.  Should I have carriage doors made that are exact replicas of the antique ones I love so much? Or should I find new doors all together?

Home decorating heartbreak…it’s a real thing.

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