In Memory of Mike

Corey amaro Interiors


This morning the brocante market did disappoint, it rarely does, but today it exceeded my hefty expectations it was off the charts good. If money grew on trees and a chateau or two were at my disposable they would be full this evening. The colors, textures, variety, period pieces, the wealth of history surrounded the brocante market today. Our car was full.

Maybe today was so good because a shining star looked down wished it so. A man that taught me a great deal about the antique business passed away yesterday. A mentor of a sort without even knowing it. The first time I met Mike was at the design center in San Francisco back in 1994 where he had a French antique business, my cousin took me along as she was looking to furnish her home. When I walked into his massive antique showroom the first thing I noticed was how inexpensive the antiques were, so I told him. I wanted to know how he could sell French antiques at such a low price considering how expensive they were back in France? He loved it. 

Mike introduced me to his son who was also in business with him. They showed me around the showroom leading me to an extraordinary armoire Mike asked me if I had ever seen one like it before. I said I had seen similar armoires, then he asked me if I could find one like it, I boldly said I could. His son was not buying my claim saying that the armoire came from a chateau. Mike calmed his son's apparent annoyance with me then asked me how I could be so sure of myself? I stated that I lived in France, that even though they were antique experts and traveled all over France several weeks out of the year looking for antiques, I lived there.

Mike smiled, "Okay then, the next time we are in France we will look you up, do you want to lead us?" Naively I said I would love to.

Mike came to France, I rented a van and drove to every address he knew and then some. Never in my life had I seen so many antiques, learned so much about antiques, buying, negotiating, exporting... it was as if I had been given a drug that I could not get enough of, the brocante bug bit me into a frenzy that has never left me. I went to the international antique markets with him, he bought so fast that I had to literally run to keep up, all along the way he was coaching me simply for the pleasure of sharing his immense knowledge. He gave me tips about negotiating, about how to export, about buying, what to look for, how to tell if it was an authentic piece, it was a crazy fun wildly informative which stirred my passion for antiques to a new level. I wanted to be a buyer. I kept pinching myself that this genius had given me such an amazing opportunity to learn. Simply because I was naive and claimed I wasn't.

I worked with Mike a few more times, meanwhile, he introduced me to his wife Sydney who was a decorator extraordinary she was a springboard for my passion. I have never forgotten that period of time and the joy it brought me. 



corey amaro French antiques


Thank you, Mike, I will never forget your lessons about the antique business, nor you love for your family.


(Much love to Sydney and Mike's family, especially Reuben his son.)





[Author: French la Vie]

Tags: Travel, France, San Francisco, Sydney, Mike, Reuben, French la Vie


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