These past few weeks I have been suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. My mind went absolutely blank. Didn’t know what to write. Complete silence.
But that’s all over now, thanks to these two inspiring gentlemen.
Meet Rob and Dick.
Rob and Dick are collectors to the bone who have developed a concept that allows them to keep collecting for many more years. Their concept works like this: on certain days of the week, Rob and Dick open the doors to their home for public and everything is for sale! Furniture, lamps, paintings, cooking utensils, you name it… Their home is an Art Gallery slash Antiques Shop. They call it ‘Living in the Shop’ and that is what they actually do! Brilliant!
At least a hundred times I must have walked past this beautiful shop, but until now I never noticed the Art Nouveau details of the facade. The thing is, the shop-window at street level is not designed in Art Nouveau style, and apparently I never looked up!
When Rob and Dick had their facade repainted recently, their painter suggested to paint the relief in the gable in contrasting colours. And what a difference!
Wondering why the rest of the facade was not designed in Art Nouveau style, I went digging at the city archives Regionaal Archief Dordrecht and this is what I discovered: Around the turn of the century, the building was owned by D.J. van Brummen. Van Brummen ran a bookstore in the front room of the building and, according to the blue prints as well as some old address books, a printing-house in the basement and composing room at the belle-étage. I found drawings dated 1899 for the design of the shop-window, and I found blueprints from 1911 for the changes in the upper part of the facade. The contractor for the 1911 changes was R. van Dongen (located at Voorstraat 403, which is just around the corner). I guess it will remain a mystery why Van Brummen didn’t have the whole facade changed at once.
The shop is a brilliant concept, but I’m not so sure if I could do what Rob and Dick are doing. Imagine you just bought that beautiful chair you always fancied, or that painting you fell in love with…. and then someone waltzes into your home and wants to take it away again! On the other hand… it allows them to keep buying beautiful new objects and making their home even more special.
If you are looking for a gift, or love to potter around and find that one item your collection is missing, ‘Living in the Shop’ is where you’ll want to be! Every saturday, and every first sunday of the month, doors are open from 12 to 17 pm.
Say “Hi” to Rob and Dick from me, will you?!?