Autumn brings the annual admiration of front porches festooned with pumpkins, gathering for early morning hunter paces, surveying our bounties from local apple orchards, and finding ourselves in country traffic jams behind leaf-peeping Sunday drivers.* This year the season has arrived suddenly and in all her frigid glory, and we find that she is the perfect companion for strolling through small town antique shops, which is a pastime that is as practical for ducking in from the chill as it is popular for getting a jump start on thoughtful holiday gifts.
Lisa Castles is the proprietor of York Cottage Antiques in Aiken, South Carolina, where for over 25 years she has curated decorative home accessories and specialty items chosen for their unique craftsmanship and curious past. She has an affection for silver － she is a leading expert in the South － and complements her collections with antique furniture, upholstered chairs, old world textiles, vintage brass, coffee table books, art, and classic glassware and other entertaining pieces. A walk through the store with Lisa is both an impromptu history lesson and a resolution to the age-old quandary of where to locate the perfect gift for that special someone. And as a particular nod to Aiken’s own history as a winter colony for the equestrian beau monde, Lisa finds it hard to resist valuable treasures that she knows her riding clientele will love.
As two representatives of said “riding clientele,” we did a deep dive into York Cottage Antiques, where Lisa shared several of her favorite pieces (which quickly became our favorites pieces, too). We adore finding new uses for older items, repurposing obsolescent pieces, and personalizing future heirlooms meant to be cherished for generations. Below, we share some of Lisa’s novelties in the hopes that they’ll inspire a new take on personal design and gift giving this holiday season, and with a bit of equestrian flair no less!
For those who are Aiken-bound this winter, we encourage a stop by York Cottage Antiques on the weekend after Thanksgiving (and every Saturday in December) for hosted social mixers in which Seaside Grown Bloody Marys are served with a hint of southern charm, a heavy-handed helping of style, and are garnished with everything but the kitchen sink (try blue cheese-stuffed olives!).**
* We intentionally omitted any pumpkin spice references…yawn.
Sterling Silver Liquor Labels – $75-135
American and English sterling silver liquor labels, range $75-$135. (Pro Tip: engrave with a horse’s or farm’s name and gift w/ a nice bottle)
Vintage Brass Horse Head Knocker – $75
Trio Of Shot Glasses (Sold Separately)
Sterling Trash Can – $165. Tiffany Graduated Shot – $225. Only a Thimblefull – $165.
Stag Horn and Sterling Silver Cocktail Stirrers – $245
Made by J. Hasselbring. Early 20th century. Approximately 12 inches.
Stag Horn & Sterling Wine Opener – $175
Stag horn with sterling silver mounts. Made by J. Hasselbring. Early 20th century. Flat ends – $450. Bulbous ends – $350
Stag Horn & Sterling Bottle Opener – $175
Stag horn with sterling silver mounts. Made by J. Hasselbring. Early 20th Century.
Horse Head Hitching Post – $795
Cast Iron. 19th century.
Gorgam Sterling Silver Nut Dishes – $45 each
Fox Head Doorstop – $695
Made by the Peerage Co. Birmingham England. 1920s.
Hunt Scene Party-Size Cocktail Shaker – $1500
Sterling and etched crystal. Made by Hawkes & Co. Early 20th Century. New York. 13 inches tall.