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Family hits the road to repurpose antiques

Published: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Julie Abernathey sands a painted dresser drawer to give it a slight antique feel before putting it on the sales floor of the Tattered Tiques store in Lake Barrington on Thursday, January 10, 2013.
(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Customer Jane Billings of Palatine checks out a dresser at Tattered Tiques.
(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Tattered Tiques specializes in hand-selected antique, shabby, vintage, farm and industrial objects.
(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Tattered Tiques includes furniture and other vintage household items.

LAKE BARRINGTON – If you’ve seen “American Pickers” on the History Channel, you’ve got the gist of Tattered Tiques.

“We are the female version,” said North Barrington resident Anne Leahy, one of the business’ owners, along with her sister, Julie Abernathey of Cary, and mother, Nancy Mokszycki of Lake Barrington.

“She’s Frank,” Leahy said, smiling and pointing at her sister as the trio stood in their 2,000-square-foot shop and warehouse space on Pepper Road in Lake Barrington. 

Mokszycki said that she and her older daughter, Abernathey, began refinishing and selling used furniture and crafts at area flea markets about 10 years ago. Leahy caught the bug about four years ago, and the three opened their Lake Barrington shop two years ago.

They sell items they have “repurposed,” such as old mirror frames made into decorative chalkboards and antique bottles wrapped in burlap and decorated with vintage keys and costume jewelry.

They also offer items that present canvases of sorts for others who enjoy being crafty – everything from an old barn door to a segment of well-worn picket fence and a pair of wooden, leather-strapped snow skis.

The shop is open 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and occasional Thursdays through Saturdays. On weekends when the shop is not open, the three are traveling the Midwest, and sometimes venturing further, to capture new finds – thus the comparison with "American Pickers," only these pickers typically travel with one or more husbands in tow.

“This is the monster room,” Mokszycki said, peeling back a curtain to reveal a large storage area brimming with what she referred to as future projects. Floor-to-ceiling shelves present everything from old metal watering cans to vintage picnic baskets, plaid Thermos jugs – even a small pile of arrows.

Here, a small Virgin Mary surveys the scene. There, several jars reveal contents of old keys and fancy buttons. Nearby, a precariously stacked tub spills over with vintage porcelain doorknobs.

“Bob and weave,” cautioned Abernathey as a visitor ventured inside.

Mokszycki, Abernathey and Leahy said they have become true bargain hunters to keep their prices reasonable. Customers can spend less than a dollar for items such as old game pieces, or up to about $400 for a refinished dresser.

Kris Vavra of Lake Zurich said she visits often.

“I love that shop,” she said. “I love to repurpose things that have history.”

Vavra added that stopping by store is like catching up with old friends.

“The mom and the daughters … they are just so full of personality and they really make you feel welcome,” she said. “They make you feel like you’re part of their family.”

Customers and potential customers can catch up on the trio’s latest travels and finds on their blog, www.tatteredtiques.blogspot.com, where readers also will find current hours, painting class schedules and more.

* * *

Tattered Tiques:

Location: 22029 N. Pepper Road, Unit 2, Lake Barrington

Specialties: Antique, shabby, vintage, farm, industrial décor; Annie Sloan Chalk Paint; Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint; gifts

Hours: 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday two or three times a month. Call or check the blog to ensure availability. Also open by appointment.

Information: Call 224-633-9750, or visit www.tatteredtiques.com; www.tatteredtiques.blogspot.com

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