By LARRY LEMASTERS
NORTHVILLE, Mich. — Anyone visiting Detroit should plan a trip to Northville. Located on the western fringe of the Detroit Metro area, Northville is famous for its rolling hills and stately Victorian-era architecture.
A quick walk through its historic downtown area highlights Northville’s old-fashioned street lamps, park benches, specialty shops and historic landmarks. While there, plan to spend a few hours in the Knightsbridge Antique Mall.
Founded in August 1995 by Bruce and Linda McKenzie, Knightsbridge Antique Mall will be celebrating 14 years in the same location this summer. Bruce McKenzie, a native of Detroit, built all of the showcases with the help of Orrin Newton, a close friend.
The McKenzies still own and manage the mall; Linda handles the business and Bruce utilizes his 15-year background in antiques to propel Knightsbridge into the future.
Some people believe that Knightsbridge Antique Mall is not only Michigan’s best mall but, according to Country Home magazine, “the Best Antique Mall in the Country.” Other honors received by Knightsbridge include “Best in Michigan” by the Detroit News and Free Press (several times) and “Best in Midwest” by Midwest Living magazine.
Bruce McKenzie’s general knowledge of antiques is amazing, and those who love Michigan pottery may want to pick his brain about Pewabic Pottery. He also has special knowledge in French Luster Pottery; as collectors know, pre-1930 luster-glazed art pottery from France is highly sought after.
Other types of pottery represented in Knightsbridge include Rookwood, McCoy, Weller, Royal Doulton and Roseville.
But pottery is not all that is found here. McKenzie likes to say, “at Knightsbridge, there is something for everyone, whether it’s a $2 kitchen utensil or a $10,000 Victorian secretary.” With 230 dealers in 26,000 square feet of space, it is easy to believe he is right.
Furniture offerings range from 18th century and Victorian pieces to Art Deco and Mid-Modern designed pieces. One outstanding piece of furniture Knightsbridge offers is a Federal chest for $1,500.
McKenzie is quick to point out the great value an antique piece of furniture represents. “You can buy an 1820s Empire six-drawer chest for $500 that is ready to go right in your home. This is probably less than you would pay for a poor-quality new chest.
“Even in a poor economy, the better quality antiques hold their value. Always buy things you like; always buy the best you can afford, and try not to buy damaged items.”
If one is looking for fine art or decorator pieces, Knightsbridge is a must-visit location. One gilded-framed oil portrait appears ready to hang in any dining room or grand entry hall. Another booth seems overflowing with yardlong prints. Several stained glass windows adorn booths and a pair of Italian Barbini lamps awaits a serious collector or decorator.
Knightsbridge also offers humorous items such as a colorful pinball machine and showcases of different collectible dolls. Dolls, or toys in general, are other antique items that seem to always hold their value.
One dealer gets shipments from Europe, a lot of smalls, paintings and furniture; however, everything in the mall is pre-1965 – the McKenzies insist on this. They also insist on quality merchandise.
And don’t worry about the size of an item. McKenzie is always willing to help arrange delivery for customers, whether the delivery is local or out-of-state.
Knightsbridge Antique Mall is open seven days a week, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. most days and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Wednesdays, closing only on major holidays. With 14 full- and part-time employees, there is always a smiling face waiting to help. Call 248-344-7200 with any questions.