Out of the Attic

By Posted on Apr 16 2021 | By

Home in The Plains antique shop is one of a kind

A typical antique shop sells items the owner has recently purchased. Quick turnaround is the goal. Sell it and replace it with another recent buy. Capitalism in action.

But it’s hard to give away a life of passion and even harder to assure those rare finds from history’s vault will go to good homes, continuing to provide pleasure to others well into the 21st Century and beyond.

There’s a passionate antique collector in The Plains that turns the conventional model on its head. Having amassed hundreds of rare collectibles over forty years, today, she is slowly bringing numerous rare pieces out of storage and making them available to the general public. Her work is your reward.

Lillian Waters, 64, is an antiquarian searching for fellow antiquarians who will move history forward, one rare piece of Americana at a time.

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she is half Irish and half Navajo-Spanish. As a youth, she saw much of the country serving duty as an Air Force brat. At age 16, the family settled in Virginia.

Today she lives in Middleburg. Before that, she had a farm in Fauquier County called Last Resort which housed her first antique shop. Two years ago, she was widowed. Last year she sold the farm.

“I went from 6,000 square feet of space down to about 1,200 square feet,” said Waters, describing her new shop.

Antiques have always been her enthusiasm, but working for Loudown County schools for 18 years helped pay the bills; among her accomplishments was creating the county’s student field trip program. Later she turned to real estate and today is an active realtor for Washington Fine Properties.

The lady, however, has never rested on her laurels. She also owns Middleburg Wagyu, a purveyor of high-end beef originally raised in Japan.  It’s known for its marbled appearance and exceptional tenderness.

She owns both the herd and a large farm in southern West Virginia, where the cattle are raised. The beef is wholesaled to regional restaurants, including Magnolias in Purcellville. The cattle are processed by Gentle Harvest Custom Processing, the only humane beef processor in Virginia.

The shop
As customers enter Home in The Plains, located at 6482 Main Street, they will be greeted by Waters and a host of rare and historical antiques. “Your first reaction in coming into the shop is to likely ask, ‘Is this a museum’? There are no price tags on anything. Is everything for sale?’” Indeed.

The collection showcases Waters’ interest in primitive, homemade style antiques, often dating from pre-Colonial America to the mid-1800s. “I do not go to auctions just buy anything they drag across the stage. I only buy what I like. Often, it’s a one-of-a-kind item.”

Such as? For starters, there is a pre-Civil War broom-making machine invented by an enslaved person. It was found on a plantation near The Plains. The origin of the invention was based on the reality that slaves could not legally marry. They formed bonds and raised families.

One of the traditions in their culture was “to jump the broom.” The ceremony was a sign that the couple had formed a relationship and started housekeeping together. The invention provided a source of brooms for both practical and ceremonial uses.

Two handmade fabric tables date to the mid-1800s and were used in the Morrisonville General Store near Lovettsville. There is an inlaid desk with impressive brass fittings made in Paris, France, that is over 160 years old.

One of the larger pieces is a six-by-six mirror originating from Russia. It came out of a D.C. mansion, possibly a diplomat’s home. A mid-1800s British campaign desk that can be disassembled for travel and used by officers during combat is also for sale.

There is a three-by-one-foot military telescope lens case with brass corners and an oilcloth wrap dating to World War II. The lens itself is on display at the Marine Museum in Quantico. There is the main horse tack trunk used by Colonel Harriman, who owned the original Salamander Farm in Middleburg in the early 1900s. The trunk held boots, bridles, blankets, and more.

Most of the items are rare and expensive. Pieces range from a few hundred dollars apiece to over $10,000. But what’s in play here are serious antiques representing extended searches and travel acquired over four decades.

She owns a farm in southern West Virginia and stores much of her collection in a barn on the property and in a home in Marshall she owns.

“Anybody that knows me knows that I want everyone to succeed and be happy. Everyone. I will give you my last dollar and last pairs of socks,” said Waters. That said, do not look for her gifting her precious antiques, but she will sell them and she will negotiate.

As the shop depletes its current inventory, she will pull additional prized pieces out of storage.

Other items for sale are provided by two good friends and include a collection of beautiful mineral rocks and art from an exceptionally talented artist.

The shop is open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit its Facebook page for photos and more information on its inventory. https://www.facebook.com/homeintheplains/

Published in a March 2021 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES