Antique dealers are a special breed. They don’t mind rising at the crack of dawn, they find treasure in a pile of trash, and their knowledge of design styles and eras borders on the encyclopedic.
When two of them get together to open a boutique, it’s a very lucky day for the Dallas collector.
Friends since a fateful bocce tournament three years ago, Shad Kvetko and partner Joe Ramirez had been selling and dealing treasures years before teaming their resources for a series of shopping events in Ramirez’s empty storefront.
“When Shad and I met, we discovered we had similar businesses, and we decided to host a pop-up sale in February,” says Oak Cliff native Ramirez. “It was a huge success, so we started talking about opening a store. One thing led to another, and here we are.”
Pulled together in just three weeks, Oak Cliff Vintage is housed in a 500-square-foot space just down the road from Bishop Arts, at 443 W. Davis St. in Oak Cliff. The boutique, which opened July 1, has an effortless blend of midcentury furniture, industrial desks, gorgeous glass, and funky collectibles.
Ramirez specializes in online paintings, sculptures, and antiques, which he has dealt through his Davis Mercantile website for the past several years. Kvetko literally grew up surrounded by antiques in Arizona — his father opened his first shop two years after Kvetko was born in 1972. Finally joining the family business in 2001, Kvetko has stashed a warehouse full of treasures in Austin since the mid-2000s.
“I’d just gone back to Phoenix for my father’s 70th birthday, so I picked up a lot of stuff when I was there, and I have a large amount of back stock,” says Kvetko, who also has a booth in Dolly Python for his weirder treasures. “Oak Cliff Vintage will be mostly 20th-century furniture, art deco, midcentury, and some Hollywood Regency. We’re not glamour dealers — we want all different kinds of budgets to buy something.”
Prices range from $12 to $3,000, and a Danish modern bookcase set can be had for under a grand. Because Kvetko says the trend has gone from a “collector’s market to a decorator’s market,” the dusty, anything-goes antique shop of yore won’t fly here. Instead, Oak Cliff Vintage is carefully curated and delightfully displayed by Kvetko’s wife, Leigh (who also created its logo), in tableaus that allows buyers to imagine how everything could look in their own home.
“My dad’s shop was a wonderful jumble of different eras and things — his philosophy was if you had to display it, it probably wasn’t worth shit,” laughs Kvetko. “That doesn’t work as well in the market anymore, although certain things are so popular they sell themselves.”
Among the Western kitsch, wheel cogs, vintage film posters, and Blenko glassware adorning those midcentury desks and shelving will be Leigh's collection of graphic deadstock fabric, plus cactuses housed in vintage pots from Kvetko’s side project, Oak Cliff Cactus Corral.
This anything-goes mix may feel unusual at first, but Kvetko says it’s a longstanding tradition for the sharp-eyed decorator.
“There’s so many design blogs and magazines that feature that kind of thing, where you’re mixing French chairs with a Saarinen table, but that was big in the '70s. After modernism lost its capital M, people were putting styles together and doing bold interiors. It’s for the more adventurous in taste, and the good thing about decorating with vintage stuff is you’ll have something not a lot of other people have.”
Oak Cliff Vintage is open noon to 7 pm and by appointment, Friday through Sunday.