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Antiques dealers accomplish 'evolution' of Chaney House

April 15, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - Longtime Funkstown antiques dealers Greg and Vicki Sullivan can offer their customers more quality wares in Hudson House Galleries' spacious new location, they said.

The Sullivans, who specialize in early American pieces and antiques they find on trips to China, Thailand and the Philippines, ran their business from 100 E. Baltimore St. for 22 years.

The couple purchased the historic Chaney House at 1 S. High St. last May.

Their new location has provided the Sullivans with nearly triple the amount of space they had before to showcase their antiques, decorative arts and antique reproductions, they said.

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The 7,800-square-foot home also boasts an abundance of natural light, high ceilings and better access for customers and deliveries than the shop's previous location across the street, Greg Sullivan said.

"Our clientele at the other shop was very faithful, and they stuck with us when we moved," he said. "We've built our business on selling the best to our customers - and the way we can do that is by having enough (inventory)."

Sullivan took over Hudson House from his mother, Claudine Hudson, in 1967. The Sullivans in 1976 moved the shop from the basement of Hudson's Baltimore Street home to Funkstown's historic Keller House, where they still live. The couple began doing business at 100 E. Baltimore St. about four years later.

Ruth's Antiques operated out of the big white house on the hill across the street. Known as the Chaney House, its rich history includes its use as a hospital during the Civil War's Battle of Funkstown.

Carol Engstrom's parents, Roger and Mildred Beckley, bought the house in the late 1930s. The Beckley's were among the largest importers of European antiques on the East Coast, and were mentors to the Sullivans, they said.

Over the years, the Beckleys added wings, rearranged walls and made various other structural changes to make the space fit their needs. The Sullivans kept some of those modifications while dismantling others to "enhance the house's architectural integrity," Greg Sullivan said.

"It's not a renovation," added his wife. "It's an evolution."

The Sullivans - and a horde of construction workers - have tackled the restoration project room by room. They've removed walls and bathrooms, sanded and refinished wood floors, added insulation, re-bricked and re-mortared chimneys and upgraded plumbing and electricity, among other changes.

"Vicki did all the fabulous colors in the house," her husband said, pointing to the three shades of white in the main showroom and the salmon walls in the library.

Vicki Sullivan even added a touch of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello to Hudson House by choosing the shade of yellow that adorns Monticello's dome room for the antique shop's entry hall. She fell for the cheerful color during a business trip to Jefferson's famous home, she said.

The Sullivans, who plan eventually to take up residence in the upper portion of the house, have turned the sun room that was added to Chaney House in the 1920s into one of several offices for the business.

They plan to restore the home's old summer kitchen to show their primitive pieces - or to use as a "get-away" during the warmer months, Vicki Sullivan said.

The property's cavernous three-story, 15,000-square-foot warehouse - which the Sullivans have leased for the past three or four years - contains space for framing and woodworking in addition to room for thousands of antiques shipped to Funkstown from around the globe.

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