Affordable reproductions

December 29, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service ctB

Collectors of antiques often evolve into dealers of antiques. Once their homes are filled with stuff, they need to sell it in order to collect some more.

This happened to Charles Pollock, a Los Angeles designer, nearly 30 years ago. But his career as an antiques dealer took a different twist.

"I began to find antiques priced out of sight for most consumers, so I decided to reproduce them," Mr. Pollock said.

Mr. Pollock still prowls antique shops and warehouses wherever he may be, searching for unusual pieces. "He can zero in on a warehouse full of antiques and spy the unusual," said Richard Kirkham, president of Kirk-Brummel, which recently introduced Mr. Pollock's furniture to South Florida.

Mr. Pollock found some interesting things in Miami on a recent visit. One was a "Carolean" (a term that refers to the reign of Charles II of Spain who lived in the late 17th Century) cowl wing chair Mr. Pollock bought for $450. His reproduction of the chair retails for $3,750.

And the original chair? It remains on the floor of Charles Pollock Reproductions in Los Angeles, wearing a price tag of $5,000. "We certainly recouped our investment," said Jack Durrant, Mr. Pollock's associate.

Mr. Pollock said he doesn't "do collections." Rather, he reproduces individual pieces that "strike my fancy." His line now includes 60 pieces -- chairs, tables, ottomans, sofas, consoles, settees, benches and desks.

A line for both home and executive office, it ranges from an ornate gilded William Kent bench and an intricately sculpted Louis XVI console to the sophisticated simplicity of a Swedish Gustavian armchair. The styles are diverse and include imaginative interpretations of many periods and styles.

And the seating pieces are comfortable, for this is furniture to be used, not just admired. The cowl wing chair is especially cozy, with its wide back and rounded arms.

Some of the upholstered pieces are done in tapestry rich enough to look at home in a castle. Mr. Pollock also favors soft chenille by Myung Jin Inc., a Sausalito, Calif., weaver who creates great plaids and solids. The firm also produces soft throws to match the upholstery.

Any of the pieces can be ordered in Raintree fabrics, which Kirk-Brummel represents. All of Mr. Pollock's furniture is crafted in California by European, South American and Asian artisans.

Mr. Pollock said he tries to reproduce a piece in its original wood if possible.

"But we change the wood when we feel the original wood didn't do the piece justice or because the wood is no longer available," he said. "The 1820s Russian table, for example was made of Cuban mahogany. The closest we could get to it was Brazilian mahogany."

Even people who can afford an occasional antique are buying reproductions today, said Mr. Pollock.

"Antiques have priced themselves off the market for a lot of people," he said. "Despite the economic situation, I don't see prices of antiques coming down. But people are looking for things with character and quality, so reproductions have become popular.

For information on Charles Pollock Reproductions, call the jTC Kirk-Brummel showroom at (305) 920-1700 in Dania, Fla., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time weekdays, or contact Charles Pollock Reproductions, 8478 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069; (213) 653-5794 from noon to 8 p.m. weekdays Eastern time.

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