I guess this may mean the stars are over antiques. Over the weekend of Feb. 5-6, Don Presley Auctions will liquidate the remaining inventory of southern California’s renowned Steven-Thomas Antiques and Interiors, which is closing its doors. Founded in 1979 by brothers-in-law Steven Shedd and Thomas Silk, the prestigious Orange County antiques and restoration firm has operated from the same Santa Ana venue since 1979, redesigning and repurposing antiques for functional use in today’s homes.
“Some of the finest oceanfront residences in southern California have benefited from the imaginative design concepts of Steven-Thomas,” said auctioneer Don Presley. “The company is very well known here in Orange County, and they’ve sold $150 million in antique furniture since opening their doors.”
Steven-Thomas also catered to a large celebrity clientele that included the late John Wayne, who resided in Newport Beach. Their custom work is also on view in the Dorothy Chandler House in the stylish Los Angeles neighborhood of Hancock Park, where they were commissioned to install antique kitchen buffets.
The idea behind Steven-Thomas germinated in 1971 while Steven Shedd was living in Italy and playing on a baseball team. “I was going back and forth to Italy, and a friend said, ‘You should get into antiques.’ That was when dealers were just started to ship antiques from Europe to America in containers,” Shedd recalled. He and his wife decided to cast out their nets to see if the idea had any potential. They started traveling all over northern Italy, buying up the type of furniture that could be bought cheaply there and resold easily in the States.
“While there was an abundance of English rolltop desks and gateleg tables at the time, that wasn’t the case with high-end Italian Renaissance Revival furniture,” Shedd said. “We knew we had found an opportunity in the marketplace.”
In 1980, the Shedd and Silk families purchased land on the 55 Freeway five minutes from the John Wayne Airport, and designed and built the Steven-Thomas showroom. It has served as their base of operation ever since but now has been sold to make way for a computer assembly company.
The Feb. 5-6 auction includes palatial Italian and French antique bedroom and dining room suites, armoires, tables, cabinets, mirrors, crystal chandeliers and decorative art objects.