By AARON WORMUS
Exclusive to Palms West Monthly
Posted Jan. 8, 2019
A lot has happened in the two years since I last wrote about the activity on South Dixie Highway in the December 2016 issue (“Future of South Dixie Highway corridor looks bright”). It’s time for a few updates, then we’ll walk through Antique Row.
Back then, I wrote about the Norton Museum of Art’s impending $100 million expansion. Over the last two years we have watched the museum transform. The new campus now includes the 59,000-square-foot Kenneth C. Griffin Building, 12,000 square feet of new galleries (a whopping 35 percent increase!), a gallery for student art and two new classrooms, a 210-seat auditorium, a new restaurant, a reflecting pool and more.
The brand new Norton Museum will be unveiled to the public on Feb. 9.
In 2016, The Greene School at 2001 S. Dixie Hwy. was getting ready to open. Since opening, the school has added an impressive new building which contains both a gym with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a media center. The grand opening of the expansion took place this past October.
But the jewel of South Dixie Highway is Antique Row, which sits between Belvedere Road and Southern Boulevard. Many people fly by on their way to and from downtown without stopping to explore the many unique small stores, many of which have thrived in this shopping destination for decades.
It’s not just antiques and fine art, there is truly something for everyone in every price range.
The best way to get to know Antique Row is to take part in one of the events during the season. We walked down the street one evening during “Antique Row Holiday Stroll.” As carolers sang, we visited some of our favorite shops as well as discovered some new ones.
Our first stop was Heath & Company Lighting located at 3707 S. Dixie Hwy., where we browsed through the store that now spans three storefronts.
“Antique Row is a great experience,” Heath & Company owner Jamie Scruggs said. “It’s a destination for people who are looking for finer things without Worth Avenue prices. We sell lighting, lamp shades and do repairs and it’s been that way for most of the 34 years. We are just carrying on the tradition that Howard Heath started.”
Scruggs told me the story of when the store first opened it was the area’s social spot, where Howard Heath and his friends would meet, smoke and play cards. As we’re talking, Alex, the shell artist who designs many of the store’s lighting fixtures and mirrors, walks in and the conversation turns to other things. We sipped hot cocoa while friends and neighbors stopped in and browsed the store. The social tradition obviously lives on.
Renata Metelska is an art dealer who moved her gallery – Renata Metelska Fine Arts – from Hobe Sound to Antique Row two years ago. Her gallery is tucked in a small space at 3633 S. Dixie Hwy. and is packed with works from local to international artists. She works out of her Antique Row store with private collectors and interior designers from throughout the country.
David Abdo and wife Carmen started the interior design store Turquoise Turtle at 3609 S. Dixie Hwy. back in 1996.
“Our main business is interior design, but designers buy for their clients, and when they find something very nice they buy it and put it into their warehouse,” Abdo explained. ”For 22 years you feed this addiction and you need a shop to sell it.”
The meandering store lives up to its name and is full of colorful and eclectic pieces, from beautifully refinished furniture to original artwork and everything in between.
A set of ornate lounge chairs jump out at me. Abdo explains that one of these chairs was found in Miami, one was found in Ormond Beach. He stripped them down, refinished them and reunited them in his store. Just one of the many hidden gems waiting to be found.
Our final stop was the Nearly New Shop thrift store, which moved to 3611 S. Dixie Hwy. from its previous South Dixie location two years ago.
The non-profit thrift is run by Susan Dame and has beautiful furnishings, clothes, books and vinyl records – all donated to benefit Morse Life Senior Care. On its shelves are high-end items for every taste and price point. With daily deliveries of new donations, its a popular destination for bargain hunters and antique collectors alike.
If you want to enjoy Antique Row in a unique setting, grab your tickets now for “Evening on Antique Row” that takes place March 9. This annual event is organized by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County and shuts down Dixie Highway, making for the perfect strolling opportunity. Tickets for the event can be purchased at hspbc.org.
Pictured above: Artist Walter Furlan, Murano Glass Homage to Picasso 25×15, Renata Fine Arts in West Palm Beach