Long-time collector and antique dealer Christopher Filley has curated an eclectic mix of period antiques, African art and mid-century furniture and paintings in his corner shop in the 45th and State Line antique district. His eponymous shop is a destination for local tastemakers and travelers in the know. On top of that, he is excellent at holiday decor and has an enviable collection of antique and vintage ornaments.
Why did you want to get into the antiques business?
It was a natural progression, really. I started getting interested in antiques in my early teens when I was still living on the farm. Around that time I bought a pine corner cupboard from my uncle. Everywhere I lived I sought people who would show me the ropes. It just grew from there. I started going to England and buying small containers. It just seemed like a great way to live. Buy beautiful things, keep some and sell some. It seemed better than going to work.
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How did you start collecting vintage and antique ornaments?
I started buying antique ornaments when I lived in Memphis forty years ago. I just liked them. I’ve bought and sold a lot over the years.
I know you have a vintage tree in the shop. Do you put up a vintage tree at home?
Rich (Hoffman) and I haven’t put up a live tree at home for the past few years, but when we do, we use old ornaments. We always have a four-foot feather tree in a stand. That one is really covered— yards and yards of chain and beaded garland, three to four hundred ornaments. They’re all layered all the way to the trunk, but spaced so you can see each ornament.
That sounds amazing. With such a large personal collection, do you still buy antique ornaments?
Oh, I’ll always buy good ones. I don’t see the special ones for sale as much anymore, but I did buy two small bags a couple of months ago. You know, when you find good things, you need to take advantage of it.
Do you still sell ornaments?
Not really. We have the decorated feather tree in the shop and that is for sale. But we don’t sell ornaments off of it. We’re only interested in selling the whole thing. Instant collection! Instant Christmas!