By Sonia Essaibi
Special to the Reporter
Two antique shops in Lower Mills offer customers
distinct shopping destinations: Streamline Antiques
sells jewelry, vintage clothing, and household
items from the 1930s on; and Dark Horse Antiques is
a traditional, decorative antique furniture shop
with items dating as far back as 1800s through
Robert Ferrini, the owner of Dark Horse
Antiques, opened his shop 15 years ago out of his
interest in collecting old things.
"Everything that was old always interested me,"
It is a small, crowded corner store on
Dorchester Avenue - the kind where there is
something new to find on top, underneath or behind
everything. Ferrini describes his store as an
"eclectic mix of everything," from paintings, to
dining room furniture, to old books and rugs.
"The antique business has changed a little bit
in the last few years," he said. "An influx of
things on eBay has changed the face of the antique
business, the reproduction market has changed the
face of the antique business, and style has also
Ferrini said an "IKEA look," a clean cut style
is popular now, but so is an interest to mix modern
furniture with antiques. "You still see the quality
in what's older," he said.
Glenn Maynard, Dark Horse Antique customer and
friend of Ferrini, said he has come into his store
for 15 years.
"It's an old-fashioned antique store," he said.
"You come in here, it's fun, there are corners in
here to poke around."
One piece he has bought over the years is a $450
brass and glass clock that dates back to late
Fred McFadden, another customer calls himself a
"big browser," but likes to come in to see what new
old stuff Ferrini has in his shop. McFadden, from
Milton, has bought a 1930s baby rocker for his
niece, Asian end tables, and a watercolor painting
dating back to 1920s or 30s.
"There's a good mix," he said "It's always got
The enormous sign on the front of the shop is of
a dark gray horse that goes along with the antique
shop's name. The sign, originally white, was
spotted in a salvage yard by a friend of Ferrini's.
He heard that it once hung in front of an old bar
called Pony Room, where Ups and Downs is now
located in Neponset Circle.
The shop was given the name Dark Horse Antiques
because it reflected the generally held notion that
the shop was not going to last.
"We were going to call it White Horse, then we
were going to call it Black Horse, and then
everybody kept telling me that I was crazy for
opening an antique store. So we named it 'Dark
Horse,' which is 'the least likely to succeed,'"
Ferrini said, "and we're 15 so far."
Ferrini said that he liked the location of the
store, on the corner of Dorchester Avenue and
"I think it's a beautiful square - the
architecture across the street is exceptional,
these buildings are gorgeous. The trees are here,
the river's here. It's just a nice neighborhood,"
he said. "I think it'll only get better."
Ferrini sees his store's proximity to Streamline
Antiques as a plus.
"The more stores, the better, of this type in a
neighborhood because it becomes a destination,"
Ferrini. "We all have different stuff. It's not
like we're all selling Levi's."
Lynda Watson, owner of Streamline Antiques on
Washington Street, two doors up from Dark Horse,
also sees her fellow antique-lover as an advantage.
"It's a nice relationship there because he does
very different stuff from me," she said of her 13
year-old store. "I do more what they call 'smalls'
- glassware and jewelry and some vintage
If someone comes in looking to get something
appraised or wants to sell an antique, they can
usually go to one of the two shops.
Most of her wide range of what she calls "Deco
to Disco" jewelry, glassware, clothing, and
miscellaneous items come from people who approach
her to sell.
Her merchandise ranges in prices from $5 to
$1,200. "I do try to keep things reasonable," she
said, "I have a lot of local customers that just
come in for jewelry and may not have a whole lot of
Over the years, she has dealt with challenges of
changes in styles and the economy. She insists on
being "eclectic," and having a wide variety of
items. Her store is made up of a front room with
lots of jewelry and kitchenware, and a backroom
with men's and women's vintage clothing.
"I'm doing more and more jewelry because it
takes up less room and it seems to be the one
constant through the years," said Watson. She
specializes in Bakelite jewelry from the
1920s-1940s, as well as costume and sterling
She said she keeps an eye out for historical
Dorchester items, and will sometimes get in
"I'm always on the lookout for Walter Baker
stuff because there are a lot of people that are
looking to collect," she said. She recently found
prints of Walter Baker advertisements from a 1928
Ladies Home Journal.
On June 7, from 10 to 11a.m., Ferrini and
Watson will come together for the Friends of the
Lower Mills Branch Library's Library Extravaganza
to appraise items for a donation of $3 that will
help fund various programs the branch runs
throughout the year. Watson has done a number of
informal appraisals, as well as one at a Stoughton
Community Center. Ferrini, who also has not done
many formal appraisals, said "it should be an
interesting day, to see what comes in."
Streamline Antiques also has a website where
customers can order items like jewelry, purses, and
kitchenware online. Both shops are open Wednesday
through Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m. Ferrini can be
reached at 617-298-1031 and Watson can be reached
at 617-298-3326 or at Streamline Antique's website
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