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Something Old, Something New
By Riki Altman-Yee | Photo: by Fawn DeViney | October 2, 2018
Visiting Louise Cummings McDermott’s new home is like walking through the ages.
In an era when reproductions are a dime a dozen, it is especially refreshing to be surrounded by decor steeped in history, both at work and at home. Just ask Louise Cummings McDermott,the owner of Antiquities Warehouse in Phoenix and a decorator extraordinaire.
McDermott ran a showroom in Chicago’s Apparel Mart for 20 years before moving to Arizona, where she promptly started flipping and staging houses in Paradise Valley—29 at last count. Eventually she bought a warehouse for her supply of furnishings and finds, and soon people began inquiring about purchasing the pieces.
When the housing market started faltering, she turned her focus toward selling those artifacts. “I would go to France and Belgium and bring containers back,” McDermott recalls. In 2012, the business grew to become one of the country’s premier retailers of formerly beloved finds, ranging from antique headlights to arched windows that once brought sunlight into industrial factories oceans away. “They’re all original,” she says, “even the French doors with white chippy paint.”
In 2016, McDermott razed one of her investment homes, then designed and built a perfect three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence. She shopped in her store to look for pieces that would inspire her vision for what was to become a 3,400-square-foot, single-story home just a stone’s throw from Paradise Valley Country Club. McDermott credits one of her employees, Lucas, for magically transforming many of the pieces, including a giant wood butcher block that he connected with other components to create a giant movable kitchen island for food prep.
The heart of the home, McDermott’s kitchen includes many treasures from Antiquities Warehouse, including old Holophane industrial pendant lights and elevator doors that now camouflage a pantry. Arguably the biggest conversation pieces, however, are set in the wall behind the wet bar. “The litho stones on the wall are from the south of France, in Avignon,” McDermott explains. “They’re from the late 1800s. They were used to create labels. If the print is backward, they would use them to print on paper. If you could read it that means they were printing on glass.” Each stone averages about 10 pounds and is 2 or 3 inches thick. To counterbalance their vintage look, she incorporated quartz and metal for the countertops and cabinetry.
Within eyeshot is her dining room, furnished with suede Kreiss chairs McDermott purchased 30 years ago, and a table with glass top and stone base from Mexico. She either entertains friends and family there or opens the glass sliders to invite them outside, where they can find even more curiosities, including four fountains, a koi pond, and a pergola McDermott’s son made by hand from old barn wood. But the mounted stone panel that once hung on a New York City building is one of her favorite treasures. “The house is eclectic, but you can’t say it’s ‘antiquey,’” she asserts.
Back inside is an inviting living room that leans slightly contemporary, thanks in part to a linen-covered sofa, matching 30-year-old leather strap chairs, a fireplace finished with concrete slabs, and a flat-screen television mounted with an adjustable arm for watching indoors or outside. Yet, most often, McDermott watches her favorite shows on a TV in the library with her 5-year-old wheaten terrier, Zoe, by her side. While enjoying views of Camelback Mountain in the background, the two can often be found snuggling on a couch, surrounded by knickknacks from Antiquities Warehouse. “I love those pieces,” McDermott says. She, more than most, appreciates the journey they took to get where they are today.
Decor and lighting found throughout
Arizona Wholesale Supply
Bungalow Furniture & Accessories
Suede dining room chairs
Quality Stone & Tile
Master shower travertine and cut stone