My friend Carol lives in Manhattan and spends weekends in Connecticut, so we don’t see each other often. Since she’s an ace shopper who can spot a treasure at 50 paces, when we do get together, it’s often in Millbrook, a midway-between-us town with some highly browsable antiques stores.
And that’s where we discovered Dream… Fine Things, a shop that Ryland Jordan opened last spring. Jordan is a willowy, cheerful, Juilliard-trained dancer with a wide-ranging résumé that includes a stint as a secretary at the Metropolitan Opera, and another as one of two personal assistants to socialite Leila Hadley Luce, a.k.a. Mrs. Henry Luce III. (“Yes, she needed two, but I’ll gloss over that,” he says.) So his background includes rubbing shoulders with wealthy people who have gorgeous stuff in their homes. When he started replacing the furnishings in his own Kingston home in 2006, he decided to sell the overflow in local antiques stores, and soon began buying to sell in shops on both sides of the river. Now he’s a full-fledged antiques dealer.
A corner of the store offers pottery, dishes, vases, lamps, and chairs
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Jordan still has a booth at the Antiques Mall near his shop on Franklin Street. But at Dream, the mix is “very eclectic,” he says. “English, French and American antiques from 1800, and things just off the boat.” The stock last week ran from a beautiful 19th century French armoire going for thousands of bucks to new glassware for just a few. Three Wedgwood covered vegetable dishes in the rare chrysanthemum pattern are up for grabs for $1500. “They’re in excellent condition, and you never see that pattern, so that’s not outrageous,” Jordan says — particularly, he notes, as Doyle, the posh appraisal and auction house in Manhattan, made him an offer, cementing their desirability.
Apart from Wedgwood pieces, you’ll find other fine porcelain by Royal Doulton and Royal Crown Derby, Chinese ceramic planters, plates from the estate of Mrs. Luce herself, and whimsical, hand-painted, one-of-a-kind pottery from the Droll Studio in Salem.
Artwork (“not outrageously expensive,” as Jordan puts it) includes some advertising posters from the ’70s, silk-screened Op Art prints, and some unusual Japanese anime in dynamic colors.
You’ll also find curiosities like a ceramic, signed horse’s head; quilts; and lamps by Larry McCluskey made out of vintage seltzer bottles, a recycled clarinet, a camera tripod, even a blowtorch.
Jordan is a genial shopkeeper with a big smile and a basket of Hershey’s dark chocolates on the counter to further sweeten your mood. “I like to talk to children that come in, who have never seen a projector or a seltzer bottle — it’s fun to watch them do a double take,” he says.
In recent weeks, Jordan has been selling surplus goodies from his home on Albany Avenue in Kingston. “Just on Saturdays, and it’s mostly chairs right now: Hitchcock, thumb-back Windsors, captain’s chairs… People think it’s a yard sale until they look at the prices,” he adds with a laugh. Still, prices in Kingston reflect the local market, so they’re lower than they would be in Millbrook. “If you want the warehouse-special prices, come to Kingston!”