Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Jul 6, 2022
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Antiques

It’s a Family Affair at These Design District Antique Shops

For five longtime Slocum Street–area antiques dealers, history runs deep—and not just in the wares they sell.
By Sarah Bennett | |Photography by Elizabeth Lavin
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Father-and-son duo, Raymond and Robinson Pittet, owners of Pittet Architecturals. Elizabeth Lavin

There’s something heartwarming about mom-and-pop shops. No matter how large or small they are, they feel more authentic when many generations work together to sell their wares. We reached out to five antique dealers in and around the Dallas Design District to see how they keep it all in the family.

Pittet Architecturals

Owned by: Father-and-son duo, Raymond and Robinson Pittet 

Known for: Though the shop is equipped to outfit your entire home or garden, the company is particularly known for stone architectural elements, including marble and limestone fireplace surrounds, flooring, fountains, and more. 

How they got into the business: Swiss-born Raymond was a master cheesemaker in his home country before getting into the antique carpet trade in Afghanistan. He later moved to the U.S. and, in 1990, opened Pittet Co., a European furniture store and tapestry showroom located on Slocum Street. In 2001, he launched Pittet Architecturals, eventually selling the furniture business to focus on the architectural pieces that they have become known for. “The fireplace is the main focus, even today, of the home,” says Raymond. 

Best part about working together: Robinson—who has worked with his father for five years and has a background in advertising—runs most of the day-to-day operations, but Raymond has no intention to retire any time soon. “There’s a lot that I can learn from Raymond,” he says. Though the pair admit to having a great business relationship, it’s the closeness between them as father and son that enriches the experience for both. “That’s the most rewarding thing,” says Robinson. “Every day, I get to come in and hang out with my dad.”

318 Cole St. 

Country French Interiors

Owned by: Father-and-son team, Bruno and Chris de la Croix-Vaubois

Known for: As the name suggests, this showroom focuses on French country antiques, and Bruno was among the first dealers to bring this look to Dallas.

How they got into the business: A native of Versailles, France, Bruno is no stranger to French antiques. Though he started in real estate, he quickly noticed that “everybody has this beautiful chateau, a beautiful Jaguar in the circular driveway,” but the furnishings inside didn’t level up. It was a problem he knew he could fix. In 1986, he opened his Design District store. 

Best part about working together: Though Bruno still prefers the tangible experience of shopping in person, Chris, who joined the family business in 2014, has helped strengthen the store’s online presence to reach a wider audience. While Bruno has always been proud of his business’ ability to bring a piece of France to the U.S., having the showroom become a generational affair lends new poignance to its mission. Of the intersection of his past and future, Bruno says, “It gives me great honor for my family to carry on that tradition.”

 1428 Slocum St.

Tomlin Antiques

Owned by: Husband-and-wife Gerald and Joanne Tomlin; sons Edward and Christopher Tomlin 

Known for: This shop stocks 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century antiques, mainly French, English, and some continental (including Biedermeier German). They do full appraisals and never sell reproductions. 

How they got into the business: New York–raised Gerald Tomlin attended the Parsons School of Design and studied abroad in Paris before eventually ending up in Dallas, working as an assistant to an interior designer and subsequently opening his own design firm. Following a downturn in the market in the late 1980s, the couple’s late son, Gerald Jr., suggested opening an antiques shop (as Gerald almost exclusively used antiques when furnishing clients’ homes). They opened up a cottage in Highland Park Village, and all three sons began selling furniture with their father. Following Gerald Jr.’s death eight years ago, Joanne officially joined the business and the family decided to move to the Design District. 

Best part about working together: Apart from the closeness that working with her two adult sons provides, Joanne loves to get varying perspectives on potential inventory. “We have different opinions,” she says. “We’ll say, ‘What do you think of this piece?’ and get two or three opinions before we buy. That’s how we decide what we’re going to purchase. It’s always something fun.” 

1415 Slocum St., Ste. 102

Legacy Antiques

Owned by: Father-and-son duo, Jeff and Justin Garrett

Known for: Chandeliers and mirrors. You’ll find more than 300 of each in the store, covering every period from 17th century to midcentury modern. (In May, their new sister concept, Dallas Fine Lighting, will launch inside their recently expanded 20,000-square-foot store, focusing on custom Murano glass fixtures.)

How they got into the business: Jeff’s in-laws were in the antiques business in Tennessee. After marrying,
 Jeff and his wife, Vicki, moved to Texas to open a second outpost of the shop, called Clements Antiques, in Forney. In 1997, Legacy Antiques was born in the Design District. 

Best part about working together: After a year in the mortgage industry, Justin started traveling with his dad on buying trips to learn the ropes; that was nearly 20 years ago. “A lot of people tell us we’re basically just alike—walk alike, talk alike,” Justin says. “We have fun, we have good camaraderie, and I learned the business from my dad, so I operate the same way he did and look for the same things.”

1406 Slocum St.

Le Louvre French Antiques 

Owned by: Mother-and-son team Annick and Patrick McNally

Known for: Large-scale high-quality regional pieces from France, as well as Italy and Spain. In addition to furniture pieces, their inventory includes architectural pieces such as stone wells, fountains, fireplaces, and shutter doors. “The unusual,” Annick adds. 

How they got into the business: “In 1982, we had just moved here and my goal was to go overseas more often; an antiques store would make me go [back] to France several times a year,” recalls Annick, a native of Paris and Monte Carlo, who ran Le Louvre in North Dallas for eight years before relocating to the Design District in the early 1990s. 

Best part about working together: Patrick, who manages the showroom, joined in 2005 after working in the corporate world and helped Annick build the store’s online presence. Annick loves to focus on the design and layout of the showroom after buying trips. “We bounce off each other,” says Patrick. “We have the same eye for quality but different takes.”

1400 Slocum St.

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